The Age Of Spiritual Machines Essay Research

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The Age Of Spiritual Machines Essay, Research Paper In the Age of Spiritual Machines Ray Kurzweil Once, the Earth was ensconced by an ocean of nothing, a vast wasteland of “molecular soup.” It was the union of these molecules, however that soon filled that sea with what we now refer to as life. Deep within the single-celled organisms which began to populate the planet was a very basic program which soon learned to replicate itself. It then began creating more cells, and more still. In time, the program developed to adjust the full being to its surroundings, making small steps from generation to generation. It wasn t until several billion years later, when beings which functioned on the code were able to figure it out. Around the same time, these beings began to create

technology which was superior to their own code. These beings were intelligent and emotional, and from that grew the aspiration to function at higher levels. Soon their machines grew intelligent and emotional. All of a sudden — relative to the preceding aeon — the code had been rendered obsolete by the species. This examination will explore the arguments contained in Ray Kurzweil s book, The Age of Spiritual Machines. Artificial Intelligence is an emerging topic of debate; with every day it appears closer to reality. Today, machines aid us in many ways, from assisting the handicapped, to presenting films, to writing this paper. But as much as computers assist us, they are completely dependent on us for guidance, i.e. programming. On the flip side, computers are no longer just

helping us, but now are giving us answers to questions we have sought for centuries. I will discuss the emerging and established fields of programming and advances, and how in the future it might relate to us as spiritual and ethical human beings. Most importantly, I will hope to answer the question, “when artificial intelligence comes, will we continue to teach and serve computers or will computers teach and serve us?” Kurzweil, who, according to examples presented in his book, has an excellent track record when it comes to predicting the course of technology, proposes that the first two decades of the 21st century will bear witness to more technological achievements than in the whole of the 20th Century. Computers will continue on the path that became clear in the 90 s.

Eventually, they will become fused into every facet of human life. Every student will sit at a computer rather than a static desk; tangible media will become obsolete, for movies, music, software, and even television will be purchasable and downloaded over the internet; doctors will be able to perform microsurgery from the other side of the globe; even virtual reality will serve a purpose. It seems that the idyllic future showcased in the more optimistic science fiction films will in fact come to pass. The underpinnings of human society will still be there: our desires for entertainment, love, and acquisition will remain, but as the century progresses, they will appear to become optional. And while the vast majority of social human existence benefits from the commonplace of

computers, behind the scenes, a technological movement begun in this century will propose to change the purpose of computers from devices that aid us in daily life to devices that are our life. Since the inception of automated computers, a universal goal of developers has been the realization of a machine that would absorb a vast amount of information, then ask why? . Personal computers today are abundant enough for us to see that they amass information, but only to tell us how right or wrong it is (zeroes and ones). Currently, there are three forms of advanced computing used to do this: Recursive Formula, Neural Nets, and Evolutionary Algorithms s. The first, Recursive Formula, the formula by which IBM s Deep Blue — the computer that defeated human champion Garry Kasparov at