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WK4 assignment - Essay Example

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Intricately written by Bill Joy, co-founder and chief scientist of Sun Microsystems, the article titled “Why the future does not need us” is a well fabricated piece that gauges the pros and cons of technologies such as robotics, genetics and nanotechnology, which are the primary reasons of concern. …
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Download file to see previous pages... The article explores all of the above mentioned technologies in great detail wherein the author takes care to cover all the possible dangers that these high-end technologies may be attached to. The style of writing is argumentative wherein at first it seems that the writer is dead against the rise of scientific advancement beyond what it is today because of his foresight that , the very technology that humans invent may be the primary reasons for human extinction in the coming centuries; however, as one diligently reads through the entire work, it becomes relatively clear that the article also embraces a certain extent of muted optimism, wherein the writer balances out his arguments with greater trust and hope based on ethical principles. This article is not merely based on the personal thoughts and arguments of the writer alone, the entire context takes into account ideas, words and thoughts of other well known scientists and researchers related to scientific fields and presents a few excerpts from books written by eminent authors on similar context. The article is a well thought out piece where each and every argument that has been neatly presented holds great value. Bill Joy has reasons to fear the power that man is now creating and his strong pessimism against the developing technologies is not without base. He first discusses about the robotic technology. In his article he presents an excerpt (the New Luddite Challenge) from a book written by Theodore Kaczynski which surfaces the fact that humans will create machines to make their tasks easier and to completely enable them to work independently sans human supervision, the robots will be enabled with the power to think and make decisions. The idea being that you should be able to give the robot a goal, a mission, and the robot should be able to take actions based on the mission and whatever information becomes available (Gupta, 2010), and the results of these actions are believed to be better than those of humans. Joy fears that humans would ultimately become so dependent on these machines that the very existence of human form will become questionable without the life support of robots. The case may reach such an extreme that exterminating the machines would just mean suicide for the human race. Reading Han Morovec’s book Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind, Joy’s pessimism is enhanced because this book too believes in the fact that the human race would fade as a repercussion to vigorous competition among robotic industries. In fact even Darwin’s principle of survival holds true here. In the eyes of Bill Joy, the advancement in the field of genetic engineering is another major reason for his pessimistic attitude. The immense power that a genetic engineer beholds in manipulating microorganisms and using them to alter the DNA makeup of anything that catches his fancy may fall in the wrong hands. Good things in the wrong hands can never be good, because the power maybe exploited to only cause harm and his fears are not completely untrue because emerging bio-terror is a major concern today. “It will soon be possible to synthesize the genome for smallpox; preventing access to samples will then no longer be a protection” (Caplan & Magnus, 2002) and once again a bio-terror maybe initiated and the case maybe the same with all other diseases. His third and last pessimistic view is about nanotechnology, the science of manipulating atoms, the basic constituent of life which when used in a controlled manner could solve all major problems ailing humans ranging from curing diseases to low cost of technologies. But, obviously something this powerful can be used as a destructive weapon too. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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