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Section 4 / Page 139
The quantum connection
Developments in the field of quantum computing, which is without doubt one of the strangest and most compelling technologies, I have personally come across, shows the real future of computing. Unlike many other technologies, quantum computing seems to allow for the simultaneous computation of a problem in multiple universes or dimensions. It does seem to me at least that this is the way to go and it may even be analogous to how the human brain works, at least at some level, (microtubules within the brain cortex receiving and possibly sending signals in and out of the quantum realm). I have just read that there is a way of storing information within the wavelength of a quantum particle, I have no real comprehension of how such a device would work in practice, but if true then it only goes to show that some of the concepts now being worked on, will ultimately lead us to producing systems that are more capable and complex than we are.
Of course his timeline for the demise of the human race, can be seen as either informed or misguided, I personally think he may just be, a little too close to the problem? Although I'm not qualified enough to argue with him, I do feel that global grid systems will allow a more Sky Net type approach to be realised, rather than trying to build systems that compete with us on a shall we say, a pound for pound basis at least for the present future. As for Moore's Law collapsing in 20 years, well this is also debatable as breakthroughs and even our understanding of physics especially at the atomic and sub atomic level increases daily? (see spintronics / plasmonics). Not to mention breakthroughs in the quantum computing field?
As for the Asimov chip, well, how could such a chip be made to recognise the thoughts in question, without inherently being smarter or as smart as the system it was monitoring. the problems with this type of reasoning, at least in my mind, is implementation?
Oh by the way did I tell you the story, the one about the big bang, it all happened a long long time ago, in a Galaxy far far away. Well apparently it scared Erwin's cat off, it just disappeared. We looked all over Max's institute for it, but it turned up at Neils place, he said the cat was in a right state and it should be put under tighter control. So Mr. Dirac was sent to collect the cat, but as soon as he saw it, he fell in love with it, he thought the cat was very beautiful and decided to catnap it to Russia. Werner was quite uncertain about the whole thing, but Ste inherited the cat and then made everybody see, that in its brief history, the cat had managed to change everything. Albert said he couldn't care less, because he never liked the cat in the first place. In Episode 3, Attack of the Magical theories versus the 11th dimension, we see the son of string theory go up against the force, and promptly disappear into an infinite equation?
Just a bit of quantum spin?
More Rational thoughts
Developments in the hardware field, may lead to the net on a chip concept, I.e. all the information that is currently available on the Internet hardwired into some future singular system. Future technologies may allow for the production of computer systems with more computing power and storage than is currently being dreamed of. Nanotechnology will certainly give humans the manufacturing capabilities to produce such systems and with the American Government having launched the National Nanotechnology Initiative, then it is only a matter of time until such systems are built. The US government spent roughly $1 billion in 2005 on this project and this budget is set to rise over the next decade.
The combination of some of these new technologies could provide us all in the near future with the equivalent of a portable server (also see XScale). So allowing us all to produce and provide net content, especially with the advent of the Digital Video camcorder and eventually cheap 3D scanners. The proliferation of all these new net appliances and the joining of these devices into one huge and extremely complex network or grid, can be seen as the true future of the Internet. The managing of such a complex network will have to become almost, if not completely, autonomous.
Networks will become increasingly autonomous and much too complex for any one human to truly comprehend. The automatic mechanisms built into networks are becoming very sophisticated in their nature. The automatic routers that are now being employed throughout the net, now handle and process information in a very autonomous manner, the MNN was seen as employing some of that sophistication within it's own design.
The proliferation of smart software and the systems capable of running and utilising such software, will keep improving and will become more cost-effective, as well as more available to the masses. Due to the nature of software, it will become increasingly difficult to keep a lid on its proliferation, especially if it is to be used in the public sector, which of course it will have to be, if developers wish to maximise their profits and recoup any development costs.
Software is also reasonably easy to copy or pirate and without a doubt competing forces at all levels from the simple home pirate to espionage in the corporate sector, along with the spying game played by most governments, will mean that the proliferation of smart software will be almost impossible to control. These problems will just add to the chain reaction theory and should be seen as a very dangerous state of affairs, especially if these problems are not solved or attended to before this type of software is introduced.
The current plans to insulate individual countries from global economic problems can only withstand so much of a battering, as September the 11th proved. If countries wish to trade globally, then obviously global problems will affect them. The safeguards that are currently in place and being introduced can only provide countries with a modicum of protection, and will not protect them from the introduction of smart software. A virtual workforce will eventually cost nothing to run and will increasingly become more capable than the average human and in almost every sector of the job market. What you have to understand, is that software or computers do not have to become self aware to do most jobs. Most jobs are just pre-definable tasks that need to be done in a set order, this is something that computers are very good at. Also the internet does not recognise international boundaries, so it won’t matter to most companies, where this new virtual workforce exists, it could be in China or any country. So a pirate workforce, working in a country, falling outside of international regulations, may become a good idea for some companies (see NIKE). The UK petrol crisis showed how the actions of a few could affect millions, in the same vain, if some unscrupulous capitalist profiteers, start employing certain new technologies so as to lower their overheads, in respect to the cost of human labour, then the chain reaction may begin to start. Always keep in mind, that an A.I. workforce, should eventually be cheaper to train, house and feed, so as I see it, a controlled introduction of certain new technologies should be employed, rather than rampant capitalism ultimately dictating all our fate.
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