domingo, 2 de março de 2014

Machines will soon become humanity's successors

"Given the speed of mechanical evolution, machines will soon become humanity's successors as the masters of the world, as "we are daily giving them greater power and supplying by all sorts of ingenious contrivances that self-regulating, self-acting power which will be to them what intellect has been to the human race. In the course of ages, we will find ourselves the inferior race."

Every machine of every sort should be destroyed by the well-wisher of his species. Let there be no exceptions made, no quarter shown; let us at once go back to the primeval condition of the race. If it be urged that this is impossible under the present condition of human affairs, this at once proves that the mischief is already done, that our servitude has commenced in good earnest, that we have raised a race of being whom it is beyond our power to destroy, and that we are not only enslaved but are absolutely acquiescent in our bondage."

Este discurso não estaria desenquadrado nas vozes contemporâneas que afirmam temores do progresso tecnológico e o encaram como uma ameaça à sobrevivência da humanidade. Podíamos estar a falar de supercomputadores ou inteligências artificiais, mas é a voz de Samuel Butler a elevar-se das profundezas do século XIX. Esta visão de subserviência e decadência humana face às tecnologias que usamos tem hoje expressão nos temores sobre efeitos nefastos da internet e outras tecnologias digitais, mas tem sido uma constante ao longo da história.

Citado de Minsoo Kang (2011). Sublime Dreams of Living Machines: The Automaton in the European Imagination. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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