I, Robot
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Don't take yourself too seriously... You're only a sophisticated mechanism...

Perhaps I should title this page "We, Robots", but most of you won't appreciate being called robots.

Actually, "I, Robot" is a series of sci-fi stories by the late Isaac Asimov, a most prolific author of that genre. He wrote over 500 books.

All physical processes in our bodies obediently follow the laws of the physical universe. Our bodies are just like any other physical system.

We are simply sophisticated mechanisms.

In my opinion, the only truly fundamental difference that exists between us and present day machines is consciousness. The fact that we are aware.

Did I say present day machines? Yes, I did...

Artificial intelligence is not science fiction. It will eventually become a reality, although I think true artificial intelligence is not in our near future. In fact, I have a feeling that the riddle of consciousness must be solved in order to create true artificial intelligence.

Some have expressed concern that artificial intelligence may become unfriendly and "take over".  I don't think that, at this stage of things, this is a valid concern. If man is eventually able to build machines that are smarter than humans then it may indeed become a problem. But human capabilities also involve things like consciousness and free will, which we poorly understand.

Don't get me wrong. I think eventually we'll understand how free will operates and how consciousness is produced. And we'll find ways to use this in the construction of artificial entities. But the task is so daunting that it may be a very long time before we even need to worry about such things. And who is to say that such artificial entities won't in turn have other human qualities, like moral principles. They will, if we do the job right.

I don't know about you, but the mapping of the human genome confirms to me that we simply are glorified robots. The genome could be considered a blueprint for building a human being. Eventually we'll understand every aspect of this blueprint and we'll be able to tweak it to produce supermen (and of course, superwomen). And no, I'm not talking about Clark Kent's alter-ego.

Who can be sure that, even without using organic substances, we won't eventually build entities as complex, if not more so, than a human being?

And when we do, ladies and gentlemen, it will have no choice but to be conscious. There isn't an iota of doubt in my mind. If we build a human being in all its exquisite detail, it will not only be alive as any other human is, but it will automatically be conscious.

I think one of the allies we might have here is Nanotechnology.

Not a very long time ago, one would have thought it science fiction to manipulate individual atoms to build microscopic machines. Many thought, for instance, that the Uncertainty Principle would rear its ugly head and make such a feat impossible. Somebody should have told that to the IBM team who formed the IBM logo with 35 Xenon atoms. The rest is the beginning of a new adventure for mankind.

Some day we'll have armies of trillions of microscopic programmable robots building anything we want just by supplying them with the required atoms and molecules.

How's that grab ya?