NASA and Silicon Valley a Duo of Danger?

NASA and Silicon Valley a Duo of Danger?

Engineers at NASA and in Silicon Valley have been teaming up quite a bit lately, and it seems like their goals are altruistic: exploring the moon, building robots both nano and full-size, and printing 3-D objects like mad on space stations. It all sounds so exciting, and the scientists working on such projects are unquestionably visionaries. But is it at all possible that NASA and Silicon Valley could be a duo of danger?

The potentials these scientists and engineers are exploring are great. New technologies could help the human race in ways previously unimaginable. Unfortunately, any sort of questioning directed to either of these powerful entities is met with not only scorn, but outright ridicule. Immediately upon posing any inquiry whatsoever, the questioner is labeled as being “afraid of change.” The scoffer inevitably mentions something about people also having been “afraid of the printing press” before inevitably closing the discussion with numerous mocking statements.

But the issue that keeps coming up is the one of artificial intelligence, and the day these scientists are working toward- when artificial intelligence supersedes human intelligence. Already, NASA and Silicon Valley are delving into things like “genome printing” and have started referring to human organs as “biologicial hardware.” NASA Ames Research Center Director Pete Worden says there a “secret handshake,” when discussing future projects, between “engineers who have read lots of science fiction.”

There is nothing inherently dangerous or evil-sounding, really, in any of that, but… what about the fact that science fiction illustrates how things can go terribly wrong when robot/computer/digital/artificial intelligence becomes greater than human intelligence?

It’s hardly niave to ask whether certain dangers could indeed lurk within the outcome of particular man-made creations, but it would be niave to assume that every technology evangelist has an altruistic agenda. What security measures are being put in place to ensure that when the changeover to superior artificial intelligence occurs and robots are able to self-replicate ever stronger and smarter, that those tangible forces will look benevolently upon their human predecessors?

Perhaps it seems quite ridiculous and altogether paranoid to live in fear of robot armies taking over the world; after all, it’s a scene out of science fiction Hollywood movie; but if there’s a secret handshake among scientists to work together toward science fiction realities, is it absurd to simply ask how far that handshake could go?

This concept, of artificial intelligence becoming superior, is not the printing press, nor is it the same concern the Luddites had when they smashed up factories and destroyed machines. No, it’s so much bigger and more complex than those new-at-the-time technologies ever were. This concept is so far beyond the layperson’s imagination it’s nearly impossible to articulate. In fact, many people don’t believe in the very things NASA and Silicon Valley are working together to create: nanorobots that stream through our bodies and brains; computers being fully integrated into humans, and a new species of cyber beings who will represent not the apex, but the precipice; the final step before the Singularity: the moment in time when humans become inferior to computers.

But it’s all true. It’s not the deluded fantasy of a paranoid lunatic, it’s 100% and verifiable by a quick visit to the “Singularity University” website. It’s a “university” run by some of the top engineers at Google. They want to merge their technologies with our bodies, and that is a fact. Now, it seems that Silicon Valley has NASA’s help in their engineers’ future visions.

Would it be possible to take a step back for a moment and question whether there are any pitfalls lurking in the palms of those science-fiction reading engineers as they shake each other’s hands and give each other a knowing wink?

Could the merger of NASA and Silicon Valley be a duo of danger for humanity?

By: Rebecca Savastio

(op-ed)

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