High technology

When will computers come alive?

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Jonar Nader discusses what computers might be like in one hundred years from now. Jonar mentions the Turing test as a measure of artificial intelligent, virtual reality, and augmented reality. To listen to an excerpt from the radio broadcast, please click on the green play button below.

Here is a transcript of the audio file.

Host: Let’s talk a little about computers in 100 years time Jonar. I saw a programme on lateline on ABC TV about artificial intelligence and it was an extraordinary thing. Do you agree that in 100 years time it might be hard to tell the difference between an advanced computer and a human brain?

Jonar Nader: Ah Yes, In the 50’s they started doing the Turing tests, where you sit a person in the room, and behind them (where they cannot see) is a human being, a child, a woman and a computer. They are supposed to randomly ask questions to A, B, C and D, and work out which is the computer, which is the child, etc. The Turing test has been a measure of artificial intelligence.

Then you have, not only ‘virtual’ reality but also ‘augmented’ reality where we say, don’t just be virtually real, live the way it is but augment your reality, have greater fun, live longer, feel better etc. Rather than just worry about steroids, where you take a pill and you have muscles for the rest of your life. Computerisation is getting to the point where we might soon have to have laws that actually stop people from making computers (in the same way we have laws that stop people making clones of humans at the moment). We might soon have a law that says if you are building a computer beyond this capacity, it must have a self-destructive system, and you have to prove to the senate or whomever, that this computer can easily be shut down by a certain majority rule, because it might one day over rule and over take you. Then the scientists come in and say that this computer has every characteristic of being called alive. So at what point will a machine be deemed to be alive? At what point is it sentient? At what point does it have its own species, computerisimus hardiscimus, something Latin.

Host: And have a right to express itself and be free!

Jonar Nader: And have a bill of rights! You know those screen savers with fish going across the screen, maybe in the future, and only a US court could ever find this to be true, that those fish are ‘alive’ by all definitions of the word, and some clever barrister or solicitor can prove it.

Host: Jonar Nader is our guest casting his mind forward 100 years. Although it sounds far fetched, when you think about where we are now and where we were 100 years ago it’s perhaps not as ridiculous as it sounds.

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