The world is moving fast and technology has its foot on the accelerator. A machine can beat the best human at chess or go. Artificial Intelligence isn’t the future it’s the present.
So people are beginning to grapple with the question of What to Think About Machines That Think because although a computer does not think in the way a human thinks, robots can and are solving problems that we once thought only humans were capable of doing.
Although of course it’s highly likely that Everything You Know About Artificial Intelligence is Wrong.
And if you’re worried about the robot apocalypse, well it’s a bit late for that.
However autonomous artificial intelligence is not the only way that technology is pushing the question of ‘what does it mean to be human?’ Cyborg (bodies that are a combination of organic and synthetic) are already here. James Harbisson cannot see colour but has become the colour cyborg. An example of how bodies will increasingly merge with technology and create something different.
After all how different is that from wearing contact lenses that permanently correct your eyesight, prosthetic limbs that improve upon the body, heart pacemakers that can be monitored from your phone, hearing implants and so on.
Most of us will accept such improvements because we recognise the benefits but is there a line that should not be crossed? When and where is the line where implanted technology fundamentally shifts our understanding of what it means to be human?
A recent study by Pew research shows that there are concerns and the religious are the most concerned of all.
More religious Americans are also more likely to see these potential enhancements as “meddling with nature” and crossing a line that should not be crossed. By contrast, majorities of those low in religious commitment say each of these potential enhancements is in keeping with other ways humans have tried to better themselves over the centuries.
For most people these questions are irrelevant and the horizon constantly seems to be twenty years away. Yet technology & the bodies lead to ethical dilemmas. The ability to change your gender or abort a child are ethical as well as medical. Is the ability to have a programmable implant that shapes how you think or access information going to change how we think, feel, and believe?
At what point do we stop being made in the image of God and start being made in the image of Google?