“Man-Computer Symbiosis” Nugget

“The hope is that, in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and that the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information-handling machines we know today.”

Honestly, this entire nugget is frightening to me. I imagine everyone as cyborgs, man and machine as one. That image is not how I would like to picture my great grandchildren. It is frightening because of the complex essence of humanity. On one hand, humanity is to be able to freely think and create and socialize and experience and live. On the other hand, all these characteristics of humanity are the reason we have the advanced machines that are growing to become stronger and faster than humans themselves.
“…the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought…” Well that is just lovely, but what if we lose the human brain itself? The human brain is equivalent to the universe. It is vast, confusing, and absolutely incredible. It is the one organ the same organ has been trying to figure out for centuries (get it, humans have brains…which they use to study brains…). Fusing a machine to it might make it more efficient, but what about the beauty of the brain? What about the creativity and the light that emerges from the depths of the temporal lobes, beneath the hippocampus, and through the limbic system? Man and machine together might be the muscle of the operation, might as well be considered the brains of the operation as well, but where is the life of the operation? Where does the humanity remain in such a concoction? Will our cyborg “bodies” be inserting happy chips into our motherboards underneath our cervical spine? Are we really willing to give up what makes humans human in order to become better, more efficient hosts for powerful computers?

In my very first nugget, I introduced the computer and the calculator as powerful mechanical aids. In this case, I believe we should carry on creating and improving on these devices as much as we can, use all the brain power we can to carry on an empire of technology that surpasses anything else we have seen or done to this day. What I am trying to get at is that while we, as humans, do all this, we should never try to make man and machine one. Just like the separation of church and state, which may not have worked out that well in some places but for all intensive purposes, should be looked at as a good example to keep a fine line between man and machine.

EDIT: Drew brings up the fact that man-computer symbiosis is happening now with the invention of Google Glass. I think this technology is incredible. However I still stand by my ideals to keep man and machine two separate entities. In the video, Jackson doesn’t seem too comfortable with the visuals in his line of vision. He keeps looking up towards the right in order to pay attention to the visual aid. This is a huge distraction, and the screen also seems to be blocking the view of the street in that area of vision. The danger behind this form of man-machine is evident. By all means mechanical aids should be used, but separate from the person.
Jamie also defends my view on the essence of humanity. Technology is fascinating in its advancement thanks to humans, yet technology can never be human. Like Jamie says, ” it still doesn’t have the know-how to intuit that when I’m texting someone angrily that I am in fact not talking about ducks or ducking,” artificial intelligence is just that – artificial. There is nothing else behind it, no emotion, no feeling, which may cost humanity in the long run.
Kahn mentions a computer’s ability to become smarter through human interaction. Engulfing information and storing it for future reference and use, using it to trip up those it may interact with. This is a different type of symbiosis to me, I feel as though it is machines in disguise rather than fusion with man. Although it may not be the complete man-machine symbiosis the author predicted in the future, I believe this is another important aspect of the rapidly growing field of artificial intelligence that displays the morbidity of computers surpassing humans one day.

3 thoughts on ““Man-Computer Symbiosis” Nugget”

  1. I believe our thoughts and views on man-computer symbiosis completely differ. I think that it would be a great idea if man and computer could become one. The amount of work that we could achieve with the help of computers will definitely help advance every aspect of human living. But I do see why you think that it could cause destruction as well, because the thought of humans with computer power can be quite frightening!

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