Stephen Hawking and the end

As mariner prepares for a week of travel and vacation, he leaves the reader with the following:

“Anyone who has seen any of the “Terminator” films knows how this whole artificial intelligence thing is probably going to end, and here’s a bit of terrifying validation: Stephen Hawking agreed. In 2017, he told Wired, “The genie is out of the bottle. … I fear that AI may replace humans altogether. If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that replicates itself. This will be a new form of life that will outperform humans.”

Well, that’s all right, then, we’re safe for a good long … time? Right? Not quite: It’s already happened.

In November 2021, the Wyss Institute at Harvard announced that a collaboration between Wyss, Tufts, and the University of Vermont had created “the first-ever, self-replicating living robots. “Called Xenobots, these tiny, hand-built organisms/robots (which look disturbingly like Pac-Man) can hone in on living cells, then gather together to collect stem cells to build new little baby robots inside these cells. The University of Vermont’s Joshua Bongard confirms: “With the right design — they will spontaneously self-replicate.”

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So the cat is out of the bag. We humans won’t evolve into Amazonus gobbetii, we simply will die out – or, if our new cohabitants so desire, humans will be wiped out.

It is hard to imagine a wholly electronic creature as a living creature. Perhaps, if two-celled creatures could think, they may have the same response to hearing that species with several billion cells would roam the earth.

Pony carts aside, will there even be roads?

In any case, don’t worry about the Earth being a waterless, lifeless rock in a million years.

Ancient Mariner

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