The existence of a race of sentient alien robots might be not just possible, but inevitable. In fact, we might be living in a "postbiological universe" right now, in which intelligent extraterrestrials somewhere have exchanged organic brains for artificial ones.
The driving factor is a pragmatic desire to improve mental capacity. Alien beings may have already reached a point in their evolution where, having exhausted the potential of their biological brains, they have taken the next logical step and opted for robotic brains equipped with artificial intelligence.
This brain swap may not be as far off for humans as one might think. In only a few decades, the computer revolution here on Earth has produced supercomputers capable of performing more than a quadrillion calculations per second. (According to research by Hans Moravec, an artificial-intelligence expert at Carnegie Mellon University, that rate trumps the human brain's estimated top speed of 100 trillion calculations per second.) Some scientists speculate that in a few decades, an event called the technological singularity will occur, and machines armed with computer brains will become sentient and surpass human intelligence. Civilizations equipped with technology light-years ahead of our own could have already experienced the singularity thousands, or even millions, of years ago.
This article originally appeared in the September 2008 issue of Popular Science magazine.
Could robot aliens possibly <i>not</i> exist?
i dont that there may be aliens who traded the biological brain out for mechnanical ones but what kind of set somthing off in our head that we may do this in a couple deacades of centuries as well. look it, i dont care that you may have more knowledge with a new brain, but what happens to our ability to reason? our wisdom and our morals? what happens to those? our brain is an amazing thing, to trade it out for some mechanical thing, sets me off a bit. if this ever happens in my life time, maybe when im like 50 or 60 (im 12 now), i would never trade out this beautiful thing above my eyes.
here's my question if the worlds strongest super computer can do a quadrillion processes compared to our 100 trillion processes. now let's look at the size of everything here to put into perspective just what is needed to go beyond the human brain. the worlds biggest super computer probably takes up the space of what i am going to guess is about 21/2 to 3 whole classrooms... thats not counting the ventilation systems and everything else that is what i'm guessing is the bare minimum of what it takes to run a computer exponentially multiplied... now let's look at an average human, he clocks in at around 100 trillion processes per second and has a nervous system to rival most networking servers. the human body we'll say is around 5-7 cubic feet, the 2 classrooms that were previously mentioned could hold 24 children and 3 teachers. on parent teacher night that sky rockets to around 48+/- parents 24 students 3 teachers, and still enough room to move your elbows. right now according to this article there is a total of 7500 trillion processes happening all at the same time. thats 7 and a half quadrillion... in half the amount of space that it took to create this marvelous super computer that can out smart an average human we have stuffed over 7 times as much power in a space half as big.
we still have them beat there...
the human body: 1000-2000 (c/C)alories in a single day
probable guess on super computer grid usage: 100-200 kilowatts per hour plus an added waste heat of a few Calories...
point is compared to the human brain the super computer is about as efficient as a hummer... and about as loud as one too...
I don't think this is as "out there" as some people might think. When your getting older and your body is failing you, you might make a digital copy of yourself. You could be stored in a secure facility that is powered by renewable energy in a realitively safe area. Then you would be able to interact with the world and your loved ones using a remote robot body that you control over a wireless network like a puppet. It could extend your life by a factor of 10 or more.
It massively simplifies space exploration. No life support or other concerns. Just power and electronics shielding. Digital pioneers could do most of the work of opening up somewhere like Mars and younger people with bodies could come along after basic infrastructures have already been developed. Human intelligence with machine durability. As long as renewable power is developed and some form of paid work is done (replacement parts.) I don't see a conflict over resources with the biologic portion of the population. Imagine doctors, scientists, and engineers with 300+ years of experience to consult!!
Well, so far they have not figured out how to make machines that are self aware or have human traits like intuition or complex reasoning.
So until that happens, I don't see anyone downloading their brain.
The computer may be able to make more calculations than a human being, but there is a lot more to being human than simple calculations.
Add to that the fact that no one has even figured out how knowledge and information are mapped and stored in the brain (except on the most basic level), and it will be a long while before we can even begin to transfer that data to another medium.
well seeing how statistically there should be millions of intelligent species throughout the universe, just because we havent seen transformers fallin out of the sky doesnt mean there not out there. their technology could be thousands of years ahead of ours and honestly were not that far from it either. ever hear of artilects? artificial intellect? those are the supercomputers that are supposedly going to make humans look like dumb apes. eta 2030 so who knows maybe it could be within our lifetime
Out of the large amount of races that probably exist, I would figure at least a single one has come far enough to have mechanical bodies, and even minds. What makes something a "robot," anyway? Where do we draw the line? I suppose I would count the brain as the most important thing in our body, making the heart come second. We have artificial hearts already (though are quite limited in their life span *at the moment*), and most of us have seen a mechanical arm or leg (Olympics, anyone?). A mechanical brain has to be possible, somehow. The "mind" (consciousness) is the hard part to transfer over, I would assume.
My grandma was born in the 1910s. I can't imagine how 2008 must look and feel to her. If we can come that far in less than 100 years, what will I, and we, be seeing 20 years from now? 2090? We have sound facts that prove we as a species/race, planet, solar system, and even galaxy are relative newcomers. From how we have advanced, even a slow species in poor circumstances could easily be ahead of us if only 100 years ahead. Now add a race that has a nice, decently sized planet with many resources and a motivated and naturally more intelligent race than our own with neighbor alien races to trade ideas with, and who have been around 1000 years/100,000/one million+ years ahead of us. Robotic bodies and minds should be no problem. They, if not robots, could not remember the last being of their race who didn't have a flesh (or what have you) body.
The only philosophically hard problem for me would be the soul. I'll assume the soul, if it exists, resides in the "mind." So transferring the "soul" may prove difficult, if at all possible. But that's an entirely different topic of discussion.
Who is that guy callin a "meathead". Why do we always think that a higher intelligence would find us unimportant or uninteresting. Even if our machines became a billion years advanced, i think with utmost certainty that we would still be relevant to them. I see people who range from five year of age to ninety five, who are completely absorbed with long-extinct dinosaurs.
Now could alien robots exist? Sure, but i get the vibe this always comes back to the justification of why we don't see the proof of major happenings goin on out there in the cosmos.
Personally i feel that most mainstream scientists as well as the public focus on what is right in front of them. Some of us consider that the reason its so quiet out there is because there maybe far more efficient modes of existence, points of reality where manufacturing and data acquisition may be instantaneous, existence beyond what we can observe at present.
The best part, none of this has to do with alien robots.
If this kind of thinking appeals to you check out
Justina Robson's - Natural History
Robert Charles Wilson - Bios
The concerns of transferring consciousness from organic to non-organic systems is really redundant. As the wise Buckaroo Banzai once said, "no matter where you go, there you are".
I know this article is about robots, but I think it's much more likely that any alien race that might be out there would exist is some way we would not be able to comprehend. Or these aliens could be so totally different we may not even realize they are intelligent/sentient. ( ex: many of the alien species from scifi shows, or any really out-there scifi novel )
On the note of us some day getting "upgrades" of some sort, it is already happening now, and as time passes it will go from needed upgrades (prosthesis, artificial hearts/eyes, etc.) to aesthetic. (super senses, physical enhancements/replacements, retinal HUD, etc.) Who knows where the future will take us, like "truth" said about his grannie, go back a century or so, and you never could have predicated where we are today. So obviously some of the things we imagine, dream, predict or hope for will happen, but the truly memorable things that after they happen are noted as important points in history or technological leaps; we will never see coming.
My personal prediction is that the next huge thing tech-whys will be an "aesthetic" enhancement of some type. just
My personal prediction is that the next huge thing tech-whys will be an "aesthetic" enhancement of some type. Just a guess, but it's easy to see something like that in the near future.
Got cut off or something....
Steven Dick said, "How likely is it that such a robotic race exists? ... greater than 50/50."
That is simply his random guess based on nothing but hype and dreams. There is no evidence of any life in the universe besides Earth, let alone any form of intelligent life. If you examine the unique qualities of Earth which allows our life to exist, the odds of such a location existing elsewhere are staggeringly low.
Scientists admit the chance of life actually spontaneously occuring on Earth is low; we really are not sure where or how our life began.
And even if life should exist elsewhere, why do we think it would be more advanced than ours?
I agree we have seen and will continue to see incredible advances in technology. 100 years from now life will definitely look different. Yet life will still be similar today, since our human foibles have been with us for thousands of years, and no amount of technology will eliminate that aspect of ourselves.
Robot aliens? Great idea for sci-fi books; lousy science.
my response to the "converting to machine form would be to ineffiecient, space and money consuming"
over the last 50 years we went from punch cards to quadrillion-per-second speeds! only 50 years! What will happen to calculation speeds in another 50 years?
Also this issue about "robots" im sure once humans begin going into machine form and AIs developed that you couldnt tell apart from the human machines would come new racial divide against robot AIs since theyre "not human" and would be fueled by most world religions after they give up trying to prevent this revolution. Absolutely unfounded for the reason of there likely being no difference in "brain structure" of human-machine and AI. Prejedice, as with race would also work with were you born human, or machine. Im sure "race" in original terms would be lost in the new classification. Three of them, Android (human-machine), Robot, and meathead... racism reborn
Well this might happen if we assume that humanity will not blow themselves up with their nukes :)
It would seem more likely to me that evolution would favour a quantum being over a robot. Quantum computers show promise of faster calculations, quantum physics show the possibilities of faster then light travel, teleportation and quite likely things we as a species have not begun to conceive of . Asteroids are everywhere, rogue planets, supernovas, and more all affect evolution and destroy planets and stars. A super intelligent species looking for a way out of sudden death would favour a non-physical form . In my opinion, looking to put your mind in a robot shows you can't see further then your own bias. Perhaps we already have a way to transfer our mind into a new body, re-incarnation might be fantasy to many people, but there are scores of children who knew specific details about people that died long before they were born, buddhist and many other religions believe in reincarnation as well. Muscle memory may be a theory at this point to many, but there is growing evidence that the entire body has memory, and perception. The other bias of the author is that constant drive for more brain, perhaps super intelligent species don't constantly try and acquire more memory, more power, more resources . It would seem contradictory that an evolved species would be greedy or unsatiated. When my meat bag wears out, i plan on getting another one. I believe in a soul, and the mind is given too much credence as the center of consciousness. (imo)
First they'd have to show that abiogenesis is possible.
Then they'd have to show that the singularity is possible.
So far both concepts are wild science fiction. With no evidence or working models put foward.
Answer the the question in the title of this article....
Don't hold you're breath.
I think Artificial Intelligence will embrace biology not abandon it. We will all have pet computers that you have to feed and water. It will do your daily errands for you and entertain you. Star Trek Borg only small, soft and cuddly a biological and technological hybrid. Computers that grow and learn.
For space exploration however the Artificial Intelligence will rely less on biology and more on technology due to the limitations of biology when it comes to extremes like g-force and radiation.
Considering from the Sumerian history, primate humans were created with several attempt for the purpose of serving the gods and they said humans were also created in the image of the Gods, that would make us modern day humans a (biological created robot, since we are both self aware, created for a purpose other than our own desires and were created from an alien source).
Besides, there is no real rule that says a robot can not be biological, but must always be electro mechanical.
And now you know...
Anoter question would be - could a nonorganic - more "robot" like species actually evolve - given the endless possibilities in the universe.
A right combination of events and materials that caused a synthetic/inorganic neural network to come to existance.
Or AI/arificial systems left behind by extinct species that still keeps evolving.
The Mars rovers ARE alien rovers...
I can't wait. When robot sentience becomes possible or sentient robot aliens visit this planet, the robots will think exactly like me. The rest of you are in for a rude awakening.
Prometheus Viral Clip # 2 (Happy Birthday David)
Let us assume for a moment that the synthetic lifeform exists in the universe - free from biological constraints.
It will still be a life like system. It will feed and compete for energy and materials, either to improve itself (grow) or copy itself as a protection against the randomness of the universe (procreate).
Thus, it will be driven by pragmatism and through selection to favor maximized growth and reproduction through consumption of resources and destruction of potential competition. The universe is cruel like that.
So, if there are robotic super-species out there, for our own sake, it is best to hope that either our system is poor in energy and material resources they desire or that we simply have sufficient security through obscurity in the expanse of space and time.
Moreover, synthetic life would be more than capable of exponential growth, near absolute control over variability (dissent and change), and thus would tend toward a queen and drone society of exponential resource optimization. A unviersal "grey goo" on a solar scale.
This is NOT an optimistic hope for our future development. This is much more a warming that the intergalactic superhighway is going through our planet and the dolphins have already left.
We humans were created by the Gods to serve the Gods.
Humans a product of some one else imagination.
Human were create for a purpose other than our own desires.
Humans are self aware.
Humans have a written history stating we are created to serve the Gods.
If it walks like a duck, flies like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must me a ________?
Surprise, we are a biological robots, unnatural to
this Earth by creation, introduce from an alien source
for their purpse, therefor we are alien by source too!
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If robots created by humans do exist then why should not exist alien robots? Given that there are most likely other non-human civilizations there is probably not too much to ponder...