Technology is getting smarter. Robots are replacing man. This is no sci-fi, the writings are splattered all over the wall. The “brains” are increasingly tilting towards immortal machines while mortal humans are growing more stupid. At this rate of development, no wonder Prof Stephen Hawkins envisioned a pessimistic prediction that soon humans may become extinct. Is it possible? Considering the fact that humans are now walking like zombies staring at little screens and not thinking while the machines behind the technologies are doing all the work, it is no understatement that the mortals are growing lazy and stupid. The days of “2001 – A Space Odyssey” is at hand. The distant hum of “Daisy Daisy…..” is growing louder by the day. Are we hearing it or still pursuing our merry making in squander land?
In the movie “2001 – A Space Odyssey”, the computer Hal said that “My instructor was Mr Langley….”. What a foreboding statement it made. Langley is CIA headquarters. After the revelation by Snowden of the massive and pervasive surveillance by the US government, it is no coincidence that Hal has correctly pointed its finger at Langley as its mastermind. It still is today.
What is in store for mankind in the pursuit for technology? Man seems determined for self destruction in his quest for machines to assume control of our lives. Even simple tasks are left to machines. We have no wish to remember when is out next appointment or when to do shopping, but relegated these “less challenging” routine tasks to computers and robots. The alibi is that we are too busy with work to be bothered with such mundane stuff. Of course, this foolish alibi is highly debatable. Is it not that we are just too lazy to put the brains to work? How many people with modern day smartphones care to remember the telephone numbers of people dear to them? There is no need to since the devices are smart enough to do the “hard” memory work. And to ensure that the information will not be lost, they will be synchronised (backed-up) in the cloud where Langley and its cronies have full access to your personal data. That’s truly smart!
Not only are man getting lazy by making machines smarter, we have gone beyond the bounds of decency and morality. It’s a road towards extreme hedonism. The main motivation is to seek pleasure without taking responsibility. for instance, science is attempting to create the artificial uterus so that women can have all the pleasures, but without the burden of nurturing the foetus in her womb and undergoing painful childbirth. Having robots that can can be crafted to look like anyone for sex is becoming a reality. That would be the ultimate panacea for sexually transmitted diseases. Atheists certainly will applaud these technological advances. There is seemingly nothing sinister about such scientific pursuits.
Beyond making devices and robots smarter, a whole city may also embrace technologies striving towards “intelligent cities”. Singapore has announced initiatives to make the city “smart” – a world’s first, an accolade always cherished by the tiny nation. How smart exactly is still vague. At this stage, the announcement is more for the purpose of claiming the coveted “first” prize rather than in substance. According to CNET, “Singapore has already laid the groundwork for the Smart Nation plan — fiber Internet is available to most households in the country, with super-fast 1Gbps service (similar to that offered by Google Fiber) costing as little as S$50 ($40, £25, AU$42) per month.” There is nothing very smart about this. Hopefully, Singapore’s effort will not lead to a smart nation with stupid people. The title of being the first may not be that flattering.
Better be wise than smart.
Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;