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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Machines Will Have AI by 2029

One researcher has predicted that machines will have human-level intelligence by 2029.

Ray Kurzweil, an American Inventor, suggests that the dark future of Cyberpunk is upon us. By 2029, not only will computers and machines have achieved human-level intelligence, they will be routinely implanted into humans to improve our skills sets, intelligence, and more, as well as "automatically go into full emergent virtual reality environments through the nervous system."

In the Cyberpunk tabletop role-playing game, fully-supported by The Weirding, based on sci-fi literature and films, this type of technology is commonplace. Nanotechnology and virtual reality simulation is a routine, and integral, part of everyday life. This is not a plug; I bring this up because I am intimately familiar with the concepts as put-forth in the literature and games of the Cyberpunk genre, so I have some small insight into this topic.

Within the genre, most characters are neurally-enhanced by cybernetics, which allow them to "login" (called "jacking-in") to everyday appliances in order to symbiotically enhance their use. For example, soldiers jack-in to their weapons, making them "smart guns," which improve their accuracy. In this example, the soldier's aim is improved tremendously because his nervous system is cybernetically boosted; instead of having to concentrate on aiming, he simply points his weapon in the general direction of what he is trying to hit and the machines within his body send a signal to his hand to pull the trigger when the target is in the weapon's sights.

Also featured in the game are "chipsets," which basically grant the characters skills without them having to study. If a character wants to "learn" martial arts, he simply buys a martial arts chip, which implants the knowledge into his brain and body. While this was developed straight from the Neuromancer novel and series (on which The Matrix movie was based), advancements in computers have since changed the idea somewhat.

In the game, written in the 1980s, these chipsets function as independent floppy-disks on which this information is stored; when the chip is removed, the character loses the abilities associated with the chip. The Matrix movie suggested a method far more likely to come to bear: one where the information is downloaded into/onto the brain. Both require cybernetic implants connected directly to the central nervous system.

Kurzweil was one of 18 "geniuses" chosen by the US National Academy of Engineering to outline the technological challenges facing humanity in the 21st-Century.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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