Friday, May 18, 2007

Save the world, marry a robot

Technology is a powerful tool. The fall of paper, an item of the early twentieth century, followed by the subsequent rise of computers has led to better health care, greater education, more efficient data management and has made life a lot easier as a whole. However, it is this very useful tool - one that has boasted (and will continue to boast, for a while) the greatest contribution to the progress of the homo sapiens - that can lead to the demise of Mankind one bright sunny morning.

No, not because it facilitates the practice of cyber pedophilia; not because it generates nuclear weapons in the deserts of India, Pakistan or the United States. In fact, the evil impacts of technology on society have nothing to do with it. Evil can be damned through strong moderation, but it will pop up again, one way or the other, and get moderated yet again.

That leaves only the supposedly good effects of technology to carry the blame of sweeping the human race off the world. As portrayed by the movie "Idiocracy", natural selection will take its course in eliminating the intelligent over a span of five centuries or so, and we will go back to a time when the sword used to be stronger than the pen. However, natural selection is not "all natural". It is how the members of a particular species respond to a threat of extinction that matters. Unfortunately, it seems like the artillery in stock to fight such a gradual phenomenon is currently being highly misused.

Today, we live in a world where physique and visual aesthetics are given utmost importance. Research and brain cells are devoted to organ enhancements, silicone implants and hair care. While these are by no means useless investments, it seems that the most vital organ of the human body, i.e. the brain, is going neglected. Add to that universal remote controls, retractable sofas, butt scratching machines, and we are left with a world full of dumb people watching television all day with huge garbage disposal problems, no crop growth owing to the application of commercial drinks on the fields in place of water, and doctors, built by a smart guy some five centuries ago, that chug out some random crap after listening to patients' symptoms, just like in "Idiocracy".

The fact that smart and ambitious people prefer career over family life does not help either. Most smart couples look to build a foundation before engaging in uncapped copulation, whereas unprotected sex and lack of family planning is the everyday norm in relatively dumber households. Under these circumstances, intelligence being a heritable trait, the number of dumb people in the world is probably rapidly exceeding that of the more talented, and at this rate, the gap will simply grow further and further.

And therein lies the purpose of this post - to make the first step in saving Mankind (for the humor impaired, I do have a good couple of inches of a grin on my face as I write this). To all the smart people out there - REPRODUCE! Have kids. Don't worry about your career - you have a bigger mission to lose hair on. Have as many kids as you can feed! To the dumb ones - please use protection. Don't have kids. The world doesn't want you. If you think you're dumb, please do your potential kids, potential grandkids, their potential grandkids and my grandkids a favor. ;)

All good things have an element of evil attached to them, but (and as I have already mentioned), sometimes it can be the positives that cause greater harm. It is all about perception, i.e. how the individual, or society as a whole measures positiveness. Sometimes, what we think as beneficial to ourselves may just be hurting us.

Speaking of perceptions and evil, the individual's understanding of evil, too, might be quite skewed. How do we measure evil? In the days of slavery in America, African Americans were looked at as inferior human beings by Caucasians, and perhaps many from both races were driven to believe it solely due to their upbringing. Today, one would like to think that we know better. However, do we really?

I was watching "Blade Runner" today, a science fiction based in 2019 where humans have created robots that are not only a replication of themselves in terms of emotions, physique and everything else human, but are also intellectually superior in some cases. How would we deal with such a situation if it were to arise today? Would we look down upon them because we created them, or more bluntly, because they are just robots? Would we overlook the fact that they are as close to humans (probably even more human than human) as possible, that they too feel the emotions that we feel, that they too have the same physical abilities that we do, that they too have a brain, a pumping heart and a stream of blood navigating their entire body?

For example, it took us a long time to break the shackles of racism and accept slaves for what they are - humans. Interracial affairs and marriages are still not widely accepted in many communities. Then can we accept these robots for what they are (essentially, 99% human) right from the day that the very first one of them evolves? Will someone who dates a robot be looked down upon as a loser in this case?

Since humans today do build machinery for satisfying their own needs, computers and robots are in fact playing similar roles to that of the 19th century slave. So to summarize, when we reach a stage of scientific development that enables us to create near humans, will it be viewed as performing evil if we use them for heavy work because they are, after all, robots? Or has God created us in a way that such a level of intellectuality is unreachable?

So save the world and marry a robot. Not necessarily in that order, and the two requests are not necessarily interdependent either. The first can be achieved merely by applying good reasoning and family planning, and the next will probably save humans a couple of hundred years of civil war and numerous civil rights acts, because in the end, both humans and robots will roam this planet in harmony anyways.