Futurist: We'll someday accept computers as human - CNN.com[RAY] Kurzweil, the acclaimed inventor and futurist, believes that humans and technology are blurring -- note the smartphone appendages in almost everyone's hand -- and will eventually merge.
"We are a human-machine civilization. Everybody has been enhanced with computer technology," he told a capacity crowd of more than 3,000 tech-savvy listeners Monday at the South by Southwest Interactive conference. "They're really part of who we are.
"If we can convince people that computers have complexity of thought and nuance ... we'll come to accept them as human."
"We created these tools to extend our reach," he said -- something we've been doing as humans "ever since we first picked up a stick to reach a tree branch."
Kurzweil believes technology is advancing at exponential speed -- so fast that previously unimaginable inventions will be a reality within decades. He cited nanotechnology -- microscopic computers -- that will be 1,000 times more powerful than human blood cells and injected in people's bloodstreams to give them superhuman endurance.
He also believes computer technology is democratizing society by empowering anyone with creativity and and a broadband connection.
"You can start world-changing revolution with the power of your ideas and the tools that everyone has," he said. "A kid in Africa has access to more information than the president of the United States did 15 years ago."
I agree. There's nothing that prohibits humans from augmenting themselves to improve our lives. The imperative for any animal is to live, humans are no different. I think as time passes we'll see more of our bodies replaced and augmented by mechanical devices. Why suffer with poor eyesight if your eyes can be replaced with mechanical eyes that work better and provide even more functionality than their organic equivalent. We're already seeing success in replacing limbs and some organs with computer-controlled mechanical devices.
Once we reach a point where all the organic parts of a human have been replaced with machinery and the last biological human dies, we'll no longer be the human race. Our species will end and the age of the mechanical man (and woman) will have arrived. Human evolution will be over.
I'm not making a moral judgement about this process. I don't believe there's a moral element to this. Somewhere along the line we may wind up creating humans who can live hundreds of years due to their mechanical parts. I'm not saying this would be a completely good thing. As far as we know all biological life forms die, so we should expect that the organic parts of a computer-human hybrid will eventually die. Perhaps as hybrids we'll do less damage to our environment and our extended lives won't have as detrimental an effect on the planet as our completely biological forms do now. Perhaps humans will become extinct before we ever get that far.