Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.
The Human Presence The earth's population has already doubled three times during the past century. Even at that, the human presence, which is evident almost everywhere on the earth, has had a greater impact than sheer numbers alone would indicate.
Use of that capacity has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, developments in technology have brought enormous benefits to almost all people. On the other hand, the very behavior that made it possible for the human species to prosper so rapidly has put us and the earth's other living organisms at new kinds of risk.
The growth of agricultural technology has made possible a very large population but has put enormous strain on the soil and water systems that are needed to continue sufficient production.
Our antibiotics cure bacterial infection, but may continue to work only if we invent new ones faster than resistant bacterial strains emerge. Our access to and use of vast stores of fossil fuels have made us dependent on a nonrenewable resource.
In our present numbers, we will not be able to sustain our way of living on the energy that current technology provides, and alternative technologies may be inadequate or may present unacceptable hazards.
Our vast mining and manufacturing efforts produce our goods, but they also dangerously pollute our rivers and oceans, soil, and atmosphere.
Already, by-products of industrialization in the atmosphere may be depleting the ozone layer, which screens the planet's surface from harmful ultraviolet rays, and may be creating a buildup of carbon dioxide, which traps heat and could raise the planet's average temperatures significantly.
The environmental consequences of a nuclear war, among its other disasters, could alter crucial aspects of all life on earth. From the standpoint of other species, the human presence has reduced the amount of the earth's surface available to them by clearing large areas of vegetation; has interfered with their food sources; has changed their habitats by changing the temperature and chemical composition of large parts of the world environment; has destabilized their ecosystems by introducing foreign species, deliberately or accidentally; has reduced the number of living species; and in some instances has actually altered the characteristics of certain plants and animals by selective breeding and more recently by genetic engineering.
What the future holds for life on earth, barring some immense natural catastrophe, will be determined largely by the human species. Technological and Social Systems Interact Strongly Individual inventiveness is essential to technological innovation. Nonetheless, social and economic forces strongly influence what technologies will be undertaken, paid attention to, invested in, and used.
Such decisions occur directly as a matter of government policy and indirectly as a consequence of the circumstances and values of a society at any particular time. In the United States, decisions about which technological options will prevail are influenced by many factors, such as consumer acceptance, patent laws, the availability of risk capital, the federal budget process, local and national regulations, media attention, economic competition, tax incentives, and scientific discoveries.
The balance of such incentives and regulations usually bears differently on different technological systems, encouraging some and discouraging others. Technology has strongly influenced the course of history and the nature of human society, and it continues to do so. The great revolutions in agricultural technology, for example, have probably had more influence on how people live than political revolutions; changes in sanitation and preventive medicine have contributed to the population explosion and to its control ; bows and arrows, gunpowder, and nuclear explosives have in their turn changed how war is waged; and the microprocessor is changing how people write, compute, bank, operate businesses, conduct research, and communicate with one another.
Technology is largely responsible for such large-scale changes as the increased urbanization of society and the dramatically growing economic interdependence of communities worldwide.
Historically, some social theorists have believed that technological change such as industrialization and mass production causes social change, whereas others have believed that social change such as political or religious changes leads to technological change.
However, it is clear that because of the web of connections between technological and other social systems, many influences act in both directions. The Social System Imposes Some Restrictions on Openness in Technology For the most part, the professional values of engineering are very similar to those of science, including the advantages seen in the open sharing of knowledge.
Because of the economic value of technology, however, there are often constraints on the openness of science and engineering that are relevant to technological innovation.
A large investment of time and money and considerable commercial risk are often required to develop a new technology and bring it to market. That investment might well be jeopardized if competitors had access to the new technology without making a similar investment, and hence companies are often reluctant to share technological knowledge.
But no scientific or technological knowledge is likely to remain secret for very long. Patent laws encourage openness by giving individuals and companies control over the use of any new technology they develop; however, to promote technological competition, such control is only for a limited period of time.
Commercial advantage is not the only motivation for secrecy and control. Much technological development occurs in settings, such as government agencies, in which commercial concerns are minimal but national security concerns may lead to secrecy.
Because the connections between science and technology are so close in some fields, secrecy inevitably begins to restrict some of the free flow of information in science as well. Some scientists and engineers are very uncomfortable with what they perceive as a compromise of the scientific ideal, and some refuse to work on projects that impose secrecy.
Others, however, view the restrictions as appropriate. Occasionally, however, the use of some technology becomes an issue subject to public debate and possibly formal regulation. In such instances, the proposed solution may be to ban the burial of toxic wastes in community dumps, or to prohibit the use of leaded gasoline and asbestos insulation.
Rarely are technology-related issues simple and one-sided. Relevant technical facts alone, even when known and available which often they are notusually do not settle matters entirely in favor of one side or the other.An important advancement in the medical field, introduced the world to a new way of growing human brain cells that could help uncover the mysteries of dementia, mental illness and other.
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Welcome to our annual list of the 10 technology advances we think will shape the way we work and live now and for years to come. and the software produces a computer model suitable for. Careers in information technology deal with the design, creation, management and maintenance of the varied components of the system, including software, hardware, networks, systems integration and .