Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 443. Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London <http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/> <http://www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/> Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2000 06:38:36 +0100 From: Randall Pierce <email@example.com> Subject: terminology The terms "fantasy" and "science fiction" have been used in connection with the "Robot's Creed". I have mentioned that getting a robot to interrelate to a human involves certain risks. And asked if we should consider safeguards. Nanotechnology makes it theoretically possible to so chart the neural systems of the human brain that an electronic analog could be constructed. Is this fantasy or science fiction? Or is it a logical extrapolation of current developments? There is a saying in History of Science: "When it is time to railroad, you railroad." In other words, when technological development in a field reaches a certain point which makes it possible to advance the scope of that field, it is done. Hypertext technology was in its infancy not many years ago. Before that it was a concept to be studied. At one time it was probably considered "fantasy" and science-fiction". As we develop new information technologies, what will be the implications? A self-programming text analyzer with the ability to make what I call "cognitive connections" is one description of an information scientist. Or it could be used to describe some future neural analog device?. How much information can human scientists creatively use before they need the assistance of constructs specifically designed to analyze information. Cutting-edge computers would be too slow and require too much direction. A real "thinking machine" may be needed. And if it interreacts with scientists, in what manner? Randall?
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