The emergence of robot life and the future of humanity – gotech daily

§ February 8th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on The emergence of robot life and the future of humanity – gotech daily

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Looks like science fiction. Scientists have what has been described as the first living robots in the laboratory, and they did this by testing different combinations using an evolutionary algorithm, which can be called electronic evolution.

Before readers begin to imagine androids made from meat, I must point out that these xenobots are less than a millimeter wide and the closest to the extremities are two stumps that they use to swim through fluids for weeks without extra food to require. They are composed of embryonic stem cells from the African claw frog, scientifically known as Xenopus laevis, which inspired the name of the small bots.

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The scientists used heart cells that act as miniature pistons and skin cells that hold the package together. The level of sophistication involved in this bio-engineering achievement suggests that, although the technological glory of the past is in large monuments and mega-projects, the greatest achievements of the 21st century are found on microscopic, nano, and quantum scales.

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Developed by researchers from Tufts University, the University of Vermont and the Harvard Wyss Institute, these impressive miniature biological machines (or should they refer to them as creatures?), Which can repair themselves or heal when damaged, they potentially have multiple useful applications . .

These include cleansing the microplastics that pollute our oceans and other toxic materials, as well as vectors to administer medicine to our bodies, perform surgical procedures and other medical applications. In contrast to conventional robots and machines that can pollute the environment for a long time after their useful life has expired, xenobots have the added advantage that they are fully biodegradable, which become harmless after dying.

Moreover, such biological machines are in principle more versatile and robust than their lifeless counterparts. If living systems could be designed and deployed ab initio continuously and quickly to fulfill new functions, their innate ability to resist entropy would make them far exceed the lifetime of our strongest yet static technologies. the researchers say.

Although I dont classify myself as xenobotrophobic, I find the potential consequences of biobots and their potential future negative applications quite alarming, despite the exciting possibilities they offer.

Neither the researchers in their scientific paper with an overview of the results or news reporting of the xenobots seems to have considered the harmful and destructive potential of this technology. However, this exists and must be carefully considered to prevent dangerous hazards.

The wrong hands can transform biobots from healing machines to biological weapons. Instead of administering curative drugs to the body, they can be used to maim or kill. They can be used as the ideal hit killers, who commit the perfect murder.

Given the pace of technological progress, the day cannot be far away when biobots that can send toxins or deadly viruses to the body, attack vulnerabilities in an individual with customized DNA, simulate a terminal illness or even perform deadly microsurgery before a self-destructing mechanism causes them to dissolve in the bloodstream, making these invisible killers untraceable. They can also be designed and used to attack entire populations, either as acts of biological warfare or bioterrorism.

Even if we manage to control the potential for intentional damage and abuse, there is also the potential for accidental damage. Researchers, for example, point to the future possibility of equipping biobots with reproductive systems to ensure that they can be produced or re-produced on a scale. How can we be sure, however, that they stick to their programming script and produce only the required number of offspring that will have the required useful life?

Do we understand evolution enough to ensure that these new life forms that we will create will not eliminate the limitations that we have designed for them and will change in unexpected and potentially risky ways?

In addition to practical applications and incorrect applications, there are ethical dimensions at a long distance, not to mention the socio-economic and cultural implications for humanity.

By blurring the lines between the lifeless and the vivid, how will we define life in the future? Everything from organic tissue, no matter how simple and synthetic, is still considered life forms, or do we need new categories?

What about the relative value of life / machines? It is a simple xenobot that is superior to a highly advanced synthetic robot, such as Asimo and other expert robots, because one is alive, and the other probably is not.

If intelligence and sensitivity are considered to be one of the characteristics of humanity, will we have to start granting intelligent machines the same rights, because artificial intelligence continues to reach and even surpass its human form?

One of the most controversial technological issues today is data privacy rights. But can we reach a point in the future where the data itself needs and has rights? For example, if one day it is assumed that robots and computers have become truly intelligent and sensitive, then their data systems will probably need protection against malicious removal, which would amount to murder or involuntary adaptation, which would violate their freedom of choice.

Then there are the existential questions that this technological progress poses. Although technology has made the work of countless millions of professions superfluous, it has generally acted as a reinforcement and aid for humanity in controlling innovation. However, we are quickly reaching the stage where our technological creations not only obscure our physical abilities, but also our mental abilities and, soon, intellectual abilities.

When we finally build or develop machines that are not only clearly smarter than us, but also have a clear sense of identity and autonomy, we can continue to control them and, if we do, this will be an unjust form of submission or even slavery ?

To escape the possible inevitability of our own aging and the physical limitations of our bodies, we can decide to merge with our technological creations. We can fully or partially update or change our bodies, as well as load or update our mental operating systems. Who knows, some may even decide to escape the physical limitations imposed by our mortal and vulnerable bodies and download their minds and minds to a simulated virtual world (later) that transforms into a pure metaphysical code.

Future radical changes to our physical or mental states, especially if they differ between species, will raise the biggest and most fundamental question of all: what does it mean to be human?

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.

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The emergence of robot life and the future of humanity - gotech daily

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