Introduces readers to what will be discussed in the paper and to the would-be reviewed articles by Bolonkin and Clocksin
One of the main aspects of today’s living is the fact that, as time goes on, more and more people grow increasingly concerned about the possibility for robots (endowed with artificial intelligence) to eventually replace humans, as the next step of evolution.
There is, however, much of a controversy to the issue in question – whereas, some social scientists consider the mentioned prospect thoroughly plausible, others believe that there are no objective preconditions to expect that the exponential progress in the field of IT will eventually deem the representatives of Homo Sapiens species ‘outdated’. The validity of this suggestion can be illustrated with the help of two recent studies.
Published in 2004, the article titled Twenty-First Century – The Beginning of Human Immortality and written by Alexander Bolonkin represents a peculiar perspective on the subject of immortality in general and the DNA research aimed at locating and influencing the gene responsible for aging in particular. The article first appeared in the journal named Kibernetes and made a breakthrough at the time. According to Bolonkin,
William Clocksin, in his turn, wrote his article in 2004 and titled it Artificial Intelligence and the Future. The article was published in the 361st volume of the journal Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences and explored the possibility of creating artificial intelligence (AI). To be more specific, Clocksin questions the very possibility of creating AI, as, by definition, intelligence can only be attributed to life forms and not technology, which is merely a tool and, therefore, cannot produce original ideas.
The reason for this is that these articles provide the conceptually incompatible outlooks on what artificial intelligence (AI) really is, and on what account for the qualitative aspects of its functioning. This, of course, implies that the reading of both articles is a must for just about anyone, who strives to form its own logically substantiated opinion, regarding the hypothetical prospect at stake.
Summarizes the main ideas of each of the mentioned articles.
The main idea, promoted throughout the entirety of Bolonkin’s article, is that the very laws of evolution presuppose the process of people growing increasingly less ‘biological’, which in turn suggests that one day; it will indeed become possible saving one’s consciousness (soul) onto the computer’s hard-drive – hence, allowing humans to attain immortality. Moreover, it will also result in the creation of the so-called ‘e-creatures’, who will have very little to do with the former ways of humanity.
As the author pointed out: “E-creatures will be made of super strong steels and alloys, their brain will be working on radioactive batteries, and power will be supplied by compact nuclear reactors, they will not need air, warmth, water, food, clothes, shelter…” (Bolonkin 1540). In the specified excerpt, the author appeals to the reader’s sense of awe for the grandeur of future science.
It is obvious that Bolonkin exaggerates, yet the picture that he creates by mentioning the scale of future discoveries fuels the reader’s imagination, therefore, making the argument in favor of AI all the more impressive.
The pathos of the article, therefore, comes out in full blue in the specified text. It is quite peculiar that Bolonkin uses negation in order to stir the audience’s delight; more impressively, the specified approach works – the pathos is concealed not in the description of the possibilities, but the compliment that the researcher makes to the power of the human mind.
This idea, however, appears utterly inconsistent with the line of argumentation (as to the prospects of AI), contained in Clocksin’s article. According to the author, one’s intelligence is not being solely concerned with the processing of data in the algorithmic manner, as it happened to be the case with AI – it reflects the varying ability of the concerned individual to properly react to the externally induced stimuli.
As Clocksin noted: “The architecture of animal brains… (is) quite different from the digital computer: a densely interconnected network having comparatively low transmission rate exhibiting alarmingly high levels of stochasticity” (1726). What it means is that, in order for a particular neurological system to be considered intelligent, it must be thoroughly interconnected with the surrounding natural environment.
In other words, people’s intelligence cannot be discussed outside of their endowment with physical bodies, which implies that the creation of ‘non-physical’ but intelligent robots will prove impossible. Thus, there is indeed a good reason to refer to the mentioned articles as being discursively incompatible. Clocksin, unlike Bolonkin discussed above, attempts at appealing to the logics of the audience and puts a stake on the coherency and clarity of his argument.
The researcher, therefore, talks to the reader directly and makes it possible for the dialogue to be established between the author and the audience. This creates the atmosphere that contributes to the development of a unique atmosphere, in which the reader may explore the possibilities of science together with the researcher; as a result, an illusion of a dialogue is created.
This stands in a sharp contrast to what Bolonkin offers; the latter tricks the reader into viewing the future, yet these visions do not involve the presence of the narrator. Herein the key difference between Pathos and Logos lies –while the latter appeals to logics, the former attacks the reader’s imagination, and the two articles in question demonstrate the potential of each concept quite well.
Identifies the most prominently defined rhetorical devices, deployed in each article.
Both of the reviewed articles also differ, in regards to what appear to be the main rhetorical devices, deployed by the authors. For example, while presenting readers with his line of argumentation, Bolonkin mainly relies on the so-called ‘appeal to pathos’ – hence, the sheer emotional intensity of how he describes the ways of the ‘robotized’ future: “E-creatures will be able to travel freely in the desert, the Arctic and the Antarctic regions, sub-atmosphere, mountain summits, the bottom of the ocean” (1541).
Clocksin, on the other hand, strives to appeal to the readers’ sense of ‘logos’, while arguing that there can be no ‘revolution of robots’, by definition, since there will be no need for them to compete with humans, in the first place. In its turn, this implies that Clocksin’s article is primarily meant to appeal to the analytically minded individuals, who do not allow their emotions to define the ways of how they perceive the surrounding reality.
Despite the fact that both articles handle seemingly similar issues, the way, in which the information is represented to the reader, differs greatly in each source. As it has been stressed above, Clocksin invites the audience for a dialogue, which seems a touch more welcoming than the approach that Bolonkin uses in his article. The latter, in his turn, attempts at creating the impression of a solid study.
Both approaches have their positive and negative aspects; for example, Bolonkin’s article seems a touch more credible because of the use of well thought out arguments that appeal to the reader’s common sense. However, this approach does not allow for creating a link between the author and the audience.
Clocksin, on the contrary, can be viewed as less convincing, yet his manner of talking to the reader leaves the latter willing to explore the issue further.
Compares what can be considered the discursive significance of Bolonkin’s article against that of Clocksin.
It appears that the main reason why Bolonkin decided to proceed with writing his article, is that he happened to be fascinated with the very idea of ‘trans-humanism’, according to which, it will be thoroughly natural for humans to be eventually turned into robots.
This explains why there is the strongly defined propagandistic spirit to Twenty-First Century – The Beginning of Human Immortality – as if the author was the least concerned with ensuring the scientific validity of his line of argumentation.
The article’s main purpose is to popularize the notion of ‘robotic immortality’ among as many people, as possible. The same cannot be said about Clocksin’s article – it is there to enlighten readers on a wide array of conceptual approaches to AI, regardless of whether they correlate with that of the author’s own or not.
Expounds upon what appear to be the main benefits of one’s exposure to the articles in question.
There can be indeed only a few doubts that the reading of both articles did increase my understanding of the topic. In the aftermath of having read them, I learned that:
- In the future, the ongoing technological progress will allow people to take full advantage of their existential potential.
- As time goes on, the robotics-technologies will be helping more and more individuals to enhance their lives to the extent that their ancestors could only dream of.
- There is no much rationale in expecting the ‘uprising of robots’, simply because there are no objective prerequisites for AI to begin functioning in the same manner, as it happened to be the case with human brain.
- As of today, there are no even any theoretical ideas, as to how AI could adopt the subtleties of ‘humanness’, as it is often being portrayed in the sci-fi movies.
Explains how both articles could be used, within the context of how one may go about participating in the discursively relevant discussions.
It is understood, of course, that both of the reviewed articles can be well used, when it comes down to either promoting the concept of ‘trans-humanism’, as such that has been predetermined to emerge by the very laws of history, or exposing this suggestion, as such that does not hold much water. For example, the reading of Bolonkin’s article would do well for those who, due to being utterly religious, prefer to live in the state of a perceptual arrogance – especially when the technology-related issues are being concerned.
Alternatively, the exposure to Clocksin’s article should prove beneficial to those individuals who seriously believe that it will be eventually possible to for one’s consciousness to be ‘freed’ of its biological carrier (body), without ceasing to remain thoroughly conscious, in the conventional sense of this word.
Concludes the paper and mentions the identified unresolved question.
The main conclusion, in respect to what has been said earlier, can be formulated as follows: Even though human societies will indeed continue becoming increasingly ‘robotized’ in the future, the idea that AI can ever surpass human brain, in the sense of how it defines the interrelationship between causes and effects, does not stand any ground.
Apparently, those who promote the ideas of ‘trans-humanism’, are not being aware of the simple fact that the notion of ‘intelligence’ is much more related to the notion of ‘interactivity’ than to the notion of ‘calculation’.
The most easily notable unresolved question, in this regard, can be well identified the fact that, even though there is no any immediate danger for humanity to be taken over by robots, this possibility cannot be referred to as being 100% implausible – especially if one was to assess it through the lenses of the concept of cyborgization.
Provides answers to the questions, contained in the assignment.
- The most difficult aspect of doing research for this essay had to do with the fact that, due to the discussed subject matter having been popularized by the sci-fi films, it proved somewhat difficult for me reflecting upon it from the culturally unbiased perspective.
- I am very confident in my sources, because they clearly belong to the category of the scholarly ones.
- Before I began to work on this paper, I identified what can be considered the researched topic’s qualitative aspects.
- I did not need to redirect my efforts at any point, because throughout the course of the research-process, I remained well focused on probing the discussed issue’s conceptual essence.
- I think that it is specifically subjecting the concerned topic to an analytical inquiry, which will require the most work.
- My biggest takeaway from this assignment can be well deemed the fact that, in the aftermath of having completed it, I gained a number of in-depth insights into what may account for the ways of humanity in the future.
Bolonkin, Alexander. “Twenty-First Century – The Beginning of Human Immortality.” Kybernetes 33.9/10 (2004): 1535-1542. Print.
Clocksin, William. “Artificial Intelligence and the Future.” Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 361.1809 (2003): 1721-1748. Print.