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jellyfish3232's avatar

Do you think that electronics will become intelligent enough to cause trouble for humans, or is that just science fiction?

Asked by jellyfish3232 (1849points) February 19th, 2011

I mean, they’re getting “smarter” all the time. I’m sure that you’ve all heard about Watson winning Jeopardy, and thats a prime example. With the technology of our future, do you think that we will succeed in making a computer so advanced that it can think for itself, and maybe plot against humans?

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12 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I think that we don’t understand enough about the spark that creates life. Is the thought the deed?

It is possible, but unlikely.

ilana's avatar

Only if we humans program the machines to cause trouble or intentionally harm us. I seriously doubt technology can grow a mind of its own and suddenly have the ability to make its own decisions.

Electronics and machines can only do what we “tell” them to. How ever we place their circuit boards and microchips is in our control. In other words; they are only as intelligent as we can create them.

On the other hand, if we incorporated living tissue into these electronic “parts”, maybe in a far distant future, there could be human/robotic hybrids, which may then evolve on their own into very intricate bodies of flesh and metal, like a molding into one complete organic compound…with a molecular structure so incredibly strong it has the ability to…!!! Okay may be getting slightly off topic.

perspicacious's avatar

They already cause trouble for humans.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

When humans misuse or abuse technology, electronic or otherwise, bad things can happen to humans and even human society.

Bluefreedom's avatar

If the plot of the movie Terminator is any indicator of what might occur someday, then yes, we could have a nasty problem. After all, SkyNet became self-aware at some point and screwed up the whole planet for everyone else. What a drag.

flutherother's avatar

Computers are just machines that process strings of numbers. They do this very well but only because they are told to. They are completely without motivation or desire. Imagining they might threaten us is an example of projection whereby we ascribe our feelings to someone, or in this something, else.

blueiiznh's avatar

It can only be attributable to human error.
The already cause trouble. As programs and hardware become more complex, they cause troubles all the time.
It is the very reason why I work in that industry. It always evolves to more complex. It never ceases to create issues. I will never cease to be challenged by it.

jellyfish3232's avatar

That’s not exactly what I meant, but I can see what you’re getting at.

jellyfish3232's avatar

The human brain is a giant network of neurons and other… Things. If we can create a computer so big, and advanced, that it can simulate the neurons in the human brain, could it actually simulate thought? This would, of course, be the only way that malicious “thoughts” could be formed by a machine.

Zaku's avatar

I don’t think they will accidentally become like a human and start acting out of babylike violent paranoid self-interest, as is the typical sci-fi plot. However we are already building machines with electronics that are screwing with ourselves in annoying and somewhat unpredicted ways, and creating semi-dependency in tasks we used to handle for ourselves.

For instance, GPS devices in cars instead of knowing how to read a map and navigate ourselves.

Or, cars which refuse to turn off their headlights, ever (though that’s simple electronics and moronic design).

Or cars which want to handle road conditions and/or parking for you, or to adjust your seat based on the key you are using (which automatically flattens something you’ve left under the seat).

Or airplanes which can’t stay in the air unless a computer is adjusting the shape of their wings.

There are already armed remote-controlled military vehicles for land, sea and air. Those will probably get more and more automated and computerized, and will no doubt accidentally kill humans. (Surely they already have, if you count drones and cruise missiles. A cruise missile almost fits the model – just instead of being obsessed with its own survival or world domination, it’s obsessed with contour hugging and reaching it’s programmed coordinates.)

jerv's avatar

The way I see it, technology has been outsmarting us in many ways since long before there were computers. I feel that technological advancement is outpacing most people’s willingness (and possibly even ability) to keep up. Even the highly tech-savvy people like myself can only keep up in a few narrow areas, thus leaving us with blind spots. In that, it is a bit like medicine; specialization is required. It could be argued that they are already causing problems for us humans if for no reason other than our reliance on things we do not understand.

As for computers actually thinking for themselves, I don’t see us having that technology for quite a while, and I would wager that the first true AIs would probably not even be recognized as they would be a totally different type of intelligence from our natural stupidity. Somehow, I don’t see them plotting against us either, though their idea of what is right/wrong and what needs to be done may be different enough to make it seem that way.

@Zaku There are reasons that I love my ‘85 Toyota with it’s lack of electronics. Yeah, it has a rudimentary computer adjusting the mixture on the feedback carburetor, but it would still run without it, and that car never tries to outsmart me the way some cars do. Yeah, I killed a battery once by leaving the headlights on, but at least I have control over the headlights.
Traction Control has it’s uses, but the last car I had that had it often had it turned off via the dashboard switch since sometimes you need wheelspin. In fact, had I turned it off in the first car I had, I might’ve been able to pull the front end around and stayed on the road instead of landing the car rubber side up in a ditch.
I use my GPS often, but mostly as a way to keep tabs on traffic as opposed to actually following it’s suggested route. Trust me, anything/anyone that recommends I-5 between 130th and 80th is fucking stoooopid!

Zaku's avatar

@jerv Yep. I prefer my ‘87 car for the same reason. I had a couple of close scrapes where the tires lost traction and I had to go by feel, and I don’t expect it would have helped to have had a computer trying to second-guess what was going on.

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