Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
first tools, sticks and stones, were very different from ourselves.
But many tools now resemble us, in function or form, and they are beginning
to have minds. A loose parallel with our own evolution suggests how they may
develop in future. Computerless
industrial machinery exhibits the behavioral flexibility of single-celled
organisms. Today's best computer-controlled robots are like the simpler invertebrates.
A thousand-fold increase in computer power in this decade should make
possible machines with reptile-like sensory and motor competence. Growing computer
power over the next half century will allow robots that learn like mammals,
model their world like primates and eventually reason like humans. Depending
on your point of view, humanity
will then have produced a worthy successor, or transcended inherited limitations
and transformed itself into something quite new. No longer limited by the
slow pace of human learning and even slower biological evolution, intelligent
machinery will conduct its affairs on an ever faster, ever smaller scale, until
coarse physical nature has been converted to fine-grained purposeful thought.