WILL ROBOTS INHERIT THE EARTH?
Marvin L. Minsky, Ph.D.
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy and
wealthy and wise. --- Ben Franklin
Everyone wants wisdom and wealth. Nevertheless, our health
often gives out before we achieve them. To lengthen our lives,
and improve our minds, in the future we will need to change
our bodies and brains. To that end, we first must consider
how normal Darwinian evolution brought us to where we are.
Then we must imagine ways in which future replacements for
worn body parts might solve most problems of failing health.
We must then invent strategies to augment our brains and
gain greater wisdom. Eventually we will entirely replace our
brains using nanotechnology. Once delivered from the limi-
tations of biology, we will be able to decide the length of our
lives with the option of immortality and choose among
other, unimagined capabilities as well. In such a future, attain-
ing wealth will not be a problem; the trouble will be in con-
trolling it. Obviously, such changes are difficult to envision.
Many still argue that these advances are impossible, particu-
larly in the domain of artificial intelligence. But the sciences
needed to enact this transition are already in the making, and
it is time to consider what this new world will be like.