Monday, April 15, 2013

Robots!!!




Yep, the first post is about robots, and for a huge reason. I've viewed many articles and streamed many videos with information regarding to robots of today, and of the future. Of the many are those that make notice of the decreasing mental capacity of humans who have fully immersed their lives with some device or another. An easy example, which most people can relate to, is losing the ability to recall phone numbers thanks to the contact feature on cell phones. Another, less popular example, is the loss of understanding one's position due to the use of navigational systems. I could note other negative effects of robots such as the loss of countless jobs due to the production of robot employed factories, but I would like to keep the subject focused on the consequences developed, or those that may be developed, in the brain through mankind's ever more intimate relationship with technology, and ultimately, robots.

 I would first like to point out that I LOVE ROBOTS! What self respecting nerd doesn't? And I do not intend to focus solely on their negative impressions. Rather, I am going to try and pose some possible outcomes, as well as determine if our reasoning, does infact, have a future. 

The focus of this blog is to either subject a particular or general variable such as views, practices, developments, laws, ideas, and so on to reason, or promote the practice of reason and logic. It seems prudent then, that the first post clarify whether or not the use of reason will continue to be a necessary function for humans in the future. For those of you who dislike suspense, I think the answer is yes, we will continue to use reason. Not that I cannot dream up situations where we do not, but I would not have started a blog about reason had I felt it would become obsolete. 

Back on point. Tools wrought by technology have accelerated and advanced many human functions. Need to lift something heavy? Use a lever or a pulley. Need to communicate with a friend at a distance? Use smoke signals, or a flare, or just use a handheld device to convert your voice into radio waves which travel soundlessly, at nearly the speed of light,  to another device which deciphers the radio waves back into your voice for the recipient to hear. Need to do advanced calculations? Have too few fingers? Use an abacus or a calculator. Tools are amazing. They help us free up thoughts, energy, and time. With our freed up thoughts, energy, and time, we think of ways to advance tools we already have, or develop new tools to make other tasks easier. And so, as technology advances, so do humans. 

The not so important side effect is that we become dependant on tools, and without them become crippled in many respects. As we develop, our focus on some thing or things enhance, but other actions become so ignored the parts of the body responsible for those actions shrink, wither, or decay. This becomes scary, and extremely important, when the body part that is not being used is the brain. But alas, we have them. I already mentioned the damage cell phones have done to our memory. But even further, the access to sites such as google, has diminished, on some level, the need to obtain and store knowledge. We now have supercomputers capable of answering any question presented in any form as well as calculate which questions need to be asked. We have reached an age where we have all knowing, super computing robots. And even if the information acquired required human intervention, which it does in some respects (i.e. They access information on the web, which is ultimately uploaded or coded in from humans), they will only be at the mercy of our discovery and input until we create dependable vessels for mobility. This is excluding some potential "self" forming, which may determine some way to hack into the infrastructure (much like in the movie Eagle Eye). Ones mobility is acquired, discovery and input will no longer solely require human intervention. But this is only one possibility, and likely to happen only in sci-fi specials.  

Regardless of all this, we will continue on, advancing, like we always do. And robots, such as that, may be an inevitability, despite my claims. What is most plausible is that we find ourselves in a position to decide whether we intend a somewhat homologous master servant relationship, or something like a complete human machine integration. 

I would definitely vote the latter, and it doesn't seem a long shot either. Developers are coming up with more and more ways for us just receive information on command. Soon there with be computers worn like glasses which may very well remove the handheld phone altogether. Eventually, humans will evolve to have a mentality that would forgo the taboo of inserting a device into the body or brain (this does not imply that some people today do not, just that on a whole, people won't mind). This would most likely allow brain-to-brain communication as well as being fully synced up with the web. 

The reason I dislike the former is because I have seen too many robot apocalypse movies with outcomes that usually seem all too plausible. Plus, I feel the point of technology is the advancement of humans, and the production of android esk entities is in a way separating technology from human. Ultimately ending our advancement as they take on the lead as the most advance entities. 

Regardless of what happens, for humans to continue existing, reason will definitely be required. Lets refer to the use of the intuitive understanding of basic physics. If, for instance, a large object is falling from a building directly at Bob (Our new hypothetical friend). Bob notices the object, and to avoid it, must have the desire to avoid it as well as the means to understand how to avoid it. He cannot simply take out his phone and look up on google, "why and how to avoid falling objects". Also, if he did not understand "why he should avoid the object" to begin with, then he would not have the capacity to look it up in the first place. SO, either Bob can use reason to understand the situation and move in the correct way to achieve safety or, dun dun dunn, Bob will die. (Yes die. I like Bob too, but I call the shots, and if he's stupid enough to just stand there, he dies.)

What I'm trying to do is, show that despite our dependency on tools, we will require reason for as long as we value the things that humans value, "reason" among them. Our insatiable desire for understanding and exploration seems a great enough deterrent to any promotion of an existence without reason. Maybe one day, however, we will have such a great understanding of the human brain that we could develop tools that would then take place as the brain. Allowing the ability to learn anything instantly, calculate instantly and perfectly, perform perfect recall, yet maintaining the mysterious (in this day and age), parts that allow our humanity. This still would not remove the use, value, or need of reason. A purposeful life is necessary, and values, "reason" among them as I previously mention, give us that purpose. Reason given added importance due to its necessity in the function of determining value. If we are brilliant enough to confidently and accurately tinker with the brain, I doubt we would lack the capacity to ensure that we maintain our ability to reason less we damn ourselves to such a value ridden depression. No, I rather think we would go to great lengths to salvage such a priceless ability. 

So, there you have it. My first post. It was a bit lengthy, but despite that, I hope it was enjoyable to read. 

Until next time.

-Josh



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