Google’s director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, isn’t so pragmatic. In fact, when you read what he said in a new interview with Playboy, you get the impression that humanity, to him, is a sad, low-level species.
“We have limited capacity in our brain,” he said. “It’s at least a million times slower than computational electronics.”
In essence, then, computers are sneering at our incompetence.
Ergo, Kurzweil declared, we need nanobots shoved inside our heads to turn us into, well, what? The sorts of humans Ray Kurzweil would rather hang out with? Or perhaps, as he once intimated, gods?
It gets worse:
“We’re merging with these nonbiological technologies,” he mused. “We’re already on that path. I mean, this little Android phone I’m carrying on my belt is not yet inside my physical body, but that’s an arbitrary distinction. It is part of who I am.”
To say this is futurism run amok would be an understatement. What nonsense! Smartphones, tablets, and personal computers are the latest iteration of something humans have had for millennia: tools. They are highly advanced tools, but tools nonetheless. Tools are not organisms. They are not alive. They’re not capable of feeling any emotion. They do not have a symbiotic relationship with humanity; they are creations of humanity. They run on instructions conceived and supplied by humans. People in the future may choose to unnecessarily implant microchips into themselves out of a desire to become better, faster, or stronger, but if we get to that point, we’ll be in a pretty sad state as a species.
Kurzweil is wrong when he says his smartphone is “part of who I am”. That Android phone is actually just hardware and software that he’ll be replacing in the span of a few months with newer hardware and newer software. He’s an engineer, after all, and presumably, his daily driver changes often since he’s the head of engineering for the Monster of Mountain View.
Kurzweil’s vision of the future is dark and disturbing, and ought to be rejected. Just because humanity is capable of doing something doesn’t mean it should.