AI researcher says nanotech won

from the intelligence-issues dept.
United Press International science correspondent Kelly Hearn recently interviewed artificial intelligence researcher Eric Chown ("Thinking robots coming, but decades away", 14 July 2001). Chown is a professor of computer science at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. When asked if nanotechnology will help engineers build machines that better mimic the brain's activity, Chown said: "No, I don't think so. Nanotechnology will provide amazing breakthroughs in the medical domain in terms of robotic surgery and such. But in terms of building human-like robots, I don't think it will contribute greatly. I really think that the big breakthroughs will come in terms of better understanding of how the brain works."
On the question of whether the future will bring a merging of flesh and machines, Chown said, "merging man and machine is more a short-term issue than the potential long-term issue of machines actually replacing people. In terms of ethical questions, in the short run, I don't see a big ethical problem. If somebody can't see and an optical implant can help them, that's a good thing. But it doesn't take a great leap to see how it could get out of control. We aren't doing enough in society to consider the ethics of the technologies we're developing."

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