14.0443 railroading robotics & implications of IT

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: 10/29/00

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 443.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
             Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2000 06:38:36 +0100
             From: Randall Pierce <rpierce@jsucc.jsu.edu>
             Subject: terminology
    The terms "fantasy" and "science fiction" have been used in connection
    with the "Robot's Creed". I have mentioned that getting a robot to
    interrelate to a human involves certain risks. And asked if we should
    consider safeguards. Nanotechnology makes it theoretically possible to
    so chart the neural systems of the human brain that an electronic analog
    could be constructed. Is this fantasy or science fiction? Or is it a
    logical extrapolation of current developments? There is a saying in
    History of Science: "When it is time to railroad, you railroad." In
    other words, when technological development in a field reaches a certain
    point which makes it possible to advance the scope of that field, it is
    done. Hypertext technology was in its infancy not many years ago. Before
    that it was a concept to be studied. At one time it was probably
    considered "fantasy" and science-fiction". As we develop new information
    technologies, what will be the implications? A self-programming text
    analyzer with the ability to make what I call "cognitive connections" is
    one description of an information scientist. Or it could be used to
    describe some future neural analog device?. How much information can
    human scientists creatively  use before they need the assistance of
    constructs specifically designed to analyze information. Cutting-edge
    computers would be too slow and require too much direction. A real
    "thinking machine" may be needed. And if it interreacts with scientists,
    in what manner? Randall?

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