Horizon: The Rise of the machines eh?

When I was younger the summers were longer, grass was greener, beer was cheaper etc etc. And the BBC science program 'Horizon' was worth watching. Against my better judgement I watched it again tonight, mainly because the subject was Artificial Intelligence or how modern computer science, brain research and general stuff means that in precisely 22 years we will be downloading our consciousness into hyper intelligent machines to make a Human Vsn. 2.0 which will then wage a war with the remaining klutzes on the planet in which billions will be killed.

 What complete and utter rubbish.

Apparently, one of the reasons that this all makes perfect sense is that around 20 years ago a nutcase sent a bunch of bombs to people in America to stop it happening. Yeah, right.

I kind of lost it when the narrator mis-quoted Moore's Law. Then we had a bloke who had managed, by plugging wires into the brain of monkey, to capture and replicate the moment of the monkey arm. Apparently this was a big advance. Along the lines of "Hey, we've made a tape recorder. Now we understand music". Do we heck.

Then we were whisked to another laboratory, where another man with bad hair and a big vat of liquid helium told us how he could make computers which can do this and that at the same time. I used to have one of those but I scrapped it for a machine which actually worked.

Before they could explain what this meant we were sent off to see a bloke who is taking lots of pills and walking on a treadmill so that he can survive the next 22 years, whereupon he can download his consciousness into the machines we will be making by then. He was doing this with such smug assurance that I ended up hoping that he would get knocked down by a bus in 2028 on the way to get his brain recorded.

Then there was the chap who was taking rat's brains to bits so that he could put them into a pile of Sun computers. And the scientist using the Basic Stamp (in the shops for fifty quid folks) to remote control a rat.

 By now my own consciousness was making a valiant attempt to crawl out of my ears and reach the TV remote.

There was nothing here that made me more scared of the future, and quite a lot which made me scared of the present. If these are the kind of people we are giving money and resources to I can see trouble ahead.

I'm sure that I've missed the point (definitely Human Vsn. 1.0 me), and that all these professors and well funded genius types are going to succeed in making something with a higher level of consciousness. I for one will welcome the day. I'll give it a camera and put it in charge of making better science programs. Then again, I reckon the monkey could have probably done that.