Okay, so this is the Man-Computer Symbiosis nugget and as a person who loves science fiction, this got me really excited. The quote I picked was this:
“It may be appropriate to acknowledge at this point that we are using the term “computer” to cover a wide class of calculating, data-processing, and information-storage-and-retrieval machines. The capabilities of machines in this class are increasing almost daily. It is therefore hazardous to make general statements about capabilities of this class. Perhaps it is equally hazardous to make general statements about the capabilities of men. Nevertheless certain genotypic differences in capability between men and computers do stand out and they have a bearing on the nature of possible man-computer symbiosis and the potential value of achieving it.”
This made me so incredibly excited because there are so many options! By defining computers in such a broad way, the choices are limitless! If you want symbiosis, what about the android from fallout 3?
His name is Harkness, and he is a perfect symbiosis of man and machine. On the outside, he looks like a typical, cisgender, heterosexual white male. However, on the inside, he is pure machine. He was created by the Commonwealth, a community up in post-apocalyptic Boston that creates androids to make their lives easier. Harkness here escaped the Commonwealth and made it down to the Capital Wasteland. If none of you are following me, that’s okay, I’m definitely nerding out right now and I don’t expect anyone to follow.
Or, what about Bender and Fry from futurama? In season 10, episode 11, Bender and Fry are outside on the hull of the Planet Express ship trying to fix the engine. Bender’s gyroscope gets busted, and he stuffs Fry in his compartment so he can fix it.
The result of that is yet another symbiosis of man and machine, albeit an unconventional one. There could come a day when we have robotic exoskeletons. Who knows for sure?
And speaking of robotic exoskeletons, let’s talk about Halo. There’s a show called Red vs. Blue on Youtube and Netflix which is about soldiers who get into all types of crazy shenanigans. One of the plot lines was *SPOILER ALERT* that there was a group of soldiers called Freelancers, and they have amazing, high-tech armor. However, they can’t use certain parts of their armor with an A.I., or artificial intelligence. Here’s the majority of the AI from the show.
These little people right here could help their soldiers turn invisible, drop shields, hack databases, retrieve intelligence, analyze combat situations and give percentage rates of success and injury in less than 10 seconds. This perfect symbiosis could revolutionize military combat. Imagine going on to the battlefield, rifle in hand, and having a voice in your ear tell you everything that’s going on before your enemy can even fire a bullet. It’s incredible.
The options for symbiosis are unbelievably expansive and infinite. The direction we’re heading now, we could easily see more closely aligned computer-human interaction within the next decade. Our entire lives are becoming files on electronic databases. Who’s to say that we won’t become electronic ourselves?
While reading this article, I couldn’t help but think of a few classmates’ blog posts that were related to this in some way. Like GabbingGabby’s post about how it feels when she thinks. She said that computers aren’t capable of emotion, and that’s it a solely human trait. She also said she couldn’t imagine programming computers with emotions without it ending in “a crazy action movie with robots taking over the world.” I think that she’s right, for now. But eventually, science make come up with a way to make robots akin to humans in terms of emotions. After all, emotions are just a series of chemical processes in the brain. Given enough time, we could replicate it just like we’ve replicated numerous neural pathways in the brain already. If we lived in a world like I, Robot, I can’t say I’d be mad honestly.
However, there’s also security, like jaffreywang brought up in his associative trails post. How would symbiosis affect electronic security? Would be more secure, due to having more encryption keys and such, or would we be less secure since everyone is operating on the same wavelength more or less? It makes me think of the game WatchDogs, in which the entire city of Chicago uses one operating system, ctOS. Because everyone is on that system, if a person hacks one thing, he hacks it all. This is displayed in game, like this trailer here with beautiful graphics. How would internet security and privacy be affected by a man-computer symbiosis? These are the questions that keep me up at night.
I also thought of hruiz’s nugget on augmenting human intellect, and that got me going. If we reached symbiosis, what would that do to our intelligence? Would we become so intelligent that we lost touch with our emotions, like the Observers in Fringe?
Or, would we retain our emotions along with our heightened intelligence? Would we be more analytical than a super computer, or the lines of code used in space shuttle launch, or would we still be bested by computers since we wouldn’t technically be computers ourselves, but something mixed with a computer?
This nugget is going to keep me up for days just thinking all of the different possibilities there could be when reach a true symbiosis of man and machine.