5) Technology Run Amok: Intelligent Robots Overthrow Humanity!
Ever seen I, Robot, The Matrix, or read Michael Crichton’s book Prey about Nanobots run wild? Then you get the general idea. At this early juncture in history, where machines aren’t very advanced, a robot rampage seems like an idea that should be left to science fiction. Is your toaster going to hop on over and treat you like a croissant while you sleep? It’s laughable.
Except that line of thinking ignores a key trend: if Moore’s Law continues to hold up, we should have computers that are as smart and mentally flexible as human beings by 2020. Put another way, by 2021 we may have computers that are smarter than the average person and increasing their intellectual superiority by the year. The idea that we can command and control intellects that far exceed our own seems plausible as long as they’re greatly limited in their capacity. However, what happens if and when we have androids as advanced as Data from Star Trek or The Terminator? It’s entirely possible that when that day comes, it could be the beginning of the post-human phase of life on earth.
More on the Future from John Hawkins: