Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Machines doing more - not an option!
Last evening I had the pleasure to attend an evening lecture by an old friend and fellow futurist, Peter Cochrane, organised by the ITP. I share many of Peter's views about the future, but enjoy his style of delivery, and so was happy to attend yet another of his lectures. This time, Peter talked about the future of machines outnumbering and out-performing humans.
So we know that we can program machines to develop their own evolving behaviours. And we know that there are already more microprocessors on the planet than people. And we know that there will be a time when these machines will do even more of the things humans currently do, better, faster and more accurately than humans. Clearly robots, already extremely able, will be a subset of such machines. And in the same way that Japan already embraces robots in applications which the rest of the world only thinks about, the rest of the world will need robots increasingly to do these tasks and hence will become more comfortable with the idea.
Technology isn't an option in today's world. If computer technology was turned off, countries like the UK would be in a disaster situation within weeks, with insufficient food and other resources to sustain the population. Technology in the future will be even more essential. Those who lag behind will have to catch up or simply struggle to survive.