As I was about to post this blog, I received an email from one of my classmates announcing their newest post entitled Sci-fi is Here in a Living Robot. Could Robot Soldiers Be Next?. As this is a “hot new topic”, I decided that my best course of action would be share this blog which offers another layer to this issue.
With the recent slew of articles on new scientific-technological breakthroughs, I could not help but consider that these findings have a common thread linking them together. As an example, last week’s blog Avante Guard Mind Control—Miracle or Unethical Infiltration of Personal Privacy? focuses on the break-through technology of human-to-human brain interface, which demonstrates how one’s mind can control the motor skills of another. Of course, we can not overlook my blog on 3D Bioprinting which examines the technology of recreating organs using healthy human donor cells. So, what’s linking these technologies together, you might ask? I found the answer while reading an article about the creation of an artificial “man” entitled ‘Bionic man’ walks, breathes with artificial organs, limbs by Barbara Ortutay. The Smithsonian Institute approached Richard Walker, the managing director of Shadow Robot Co. located in London, England, to assemble functioning body parts from mechanical/organic organs, a circulation system, to cochlear and retina implants. These parts were procured from 17 various manufacturers from around the world. Hence, creating the six-foot tall artificial bionic man. Alas, this version of the bionic “man” does not have the capacity to assimilate any thought processes. Therefore, the lack of artificial intelligence changes the dynamics of this mechanically operated humanoid being.
Imagine the possibilities of a true “bionic being” whose mechanics exist through artificial intelligence. Is the Hollywood fantasy of Star Wars C-3PO droid about to become a reality? Is this possible? And more importantly, does the technology exist?
The answer to these questions and what today’s technology is capable of is an unequivocal “Yes”! It has come to fruition through combined technological effort of Google and NASA. Together, these two organizations have created a quantum computer, which is by far, the most advanced form of artificial intelligence available to date. This innovative form of artificial intelligence has the capacity to survey unknown platforms and assimilate its findings. Its creators can only project the types of questions it can answer. However, the one question that everyone is wondering about is: “Are we alone”?
On Sunday, October 20, 2013, 9 p.m. the Smithsonian Channel will be airing a documentary on the creation of an artificial “man”. The documentary entitled “The Incredible Bionic Man,” chronicles “engineers’ attempt to assemble a functioning body using artificial parts” (Ortutay, 2013).
So, let’s imagine that we can connect our bodies to the “cyber-realm” (which is a theoretical concept). This “cyber-realm” would consist of a triggering of neurological impulses that interact within the nervous system, in a similar manner in which electrical currents are configured through an electrical grid. Now, let’s suppose we have the ability to create a bionic super-soldier, made entirely of bionic and organic parts. This super-soldier, would have the power of a fighter plane, the stealth of a mouse, and a cyber-brain, composed of the type of quantum processing intelligence, as mentioned above. Suppose this super-soldier has the capacity to neutralize key threatening points and people that pose a threat, as well as the ability to act in covert operations that can be executed discreetly, with minimal backlash or consequence. Even if the creations of super-soldiers was to become a known reality, it would be difficult to prove their actions since evidence can be easily destroyed. However, what preventative course of action would deter the infiltration of a hacker getting control of this super-soldier? The consequences would be devastating. I shudder at the thought of this type of cyber-espionage and the power it would provide individuals or organizations. With this technology, a need to develop a “fail-safe” switch, to a) maintain orderly behavior and b) to self-destruct in case of spyware infiltration is essential if not, then perhaps the technology should be abandoned all together.
The current generation of prosthetics involves the use of computers and software to operate prosthetic body parts. The creation of advanced prosthetics opens the possibilities of cyber-threats to the human body where a person’s body-parts are directly susceptible to hacking. The most important question is what are the ethical implications? And how can we secure the privacy and more importantly, the well-being of individuals? All in all, a free-thinking weapon is a terrifying concept and in the wrong hands could cause potential devastation.
What are your thoughts?