Randles JE 10

Colin Randles

Journal Entry #10


As I have been working on studying for finals, projects, and papers, I have been wondering what the future students will be doing finals week in 50 years, if that will even exist.

Will we be having class in a brick and mortar building, or will it all be virtual? If Elon Musk comes through with his technology, we will all be able to add additional memory to our brain, so maybe if I listen to a lecture then I will never need to study again, and just be able to recall it in my backup memory bank.

One of the poster groups talked about using a device that could facilitate modern telepathy. This would make class time very easy. We could link our minds with the some of the greatest minds in the world, and we could have access to that knowledge in seconds. Imagine Stephen Hawking or Einstein telepathically transmitting brain waves to yours. This would obviously increase knowledge no matter your socioeconomic status and could be a large benefit to society. Im sure out capitalist society will figure out a way to be able to charge millions of dollars for the brain waves of Bill Gates or Elon Musk, but it is still an exciting new technology to think about.

Randles JE 9

Colin Randles

Journal Entry 9


I watched Ex Machina again the other day, and saw it from a different perspective. After going through this entire course, and formulating opinions on work, memory, ethics, and technology in all different time periods, I am able to critically think about the implications of the movie.

Reading Stars in my Pocket like a Grain of Sand told the tale of clashing cultures. We are seeing that in America on a smaller scale with anti-Muslim sentiments, and racial profiling. It is seen in the airports, movies, and speeding tickets. Now that we are creating automated vehicles, where we need to implement recognition technology into the vehicles, and program an ethical framework into the system. The car needs to be able to recognize faces, and make driving decisions based on what it sees and calculates. As you can imagine this will cause problems, because there is no chance that everyone will agree on a “correct” system.

Delaney also talks about multiple genders being present in the society. Many characters are racially/sexually ambiguous, and homosexuality is not an issue at all. With the introduction of robots, there is a good chance that some people will fall in love with these machines and want to mate/be with them. Considering that gay marriage was just legalized a few years ago, and the fact that many Americans are still against gay/interracial marriage, I do not think society is ready for robot/human marriage. It is unnatural, and if somehow babies were to come out of it, would they be considered humans or robots? Once we create conscious beings, we unleash an unimaginable amount of social and ethical problems that our world is not ready for. Many people see robots as helpful slaves to the human race, making our lives easier. While it may do this in the short run, the long run implications are far worse than any benefit we will receive. They will be more intelligent than us, which will displace jobs, create ethical issues, and uproot our social system. Is Earth in for a cultural fugue in the coming centuries?


Randles JE 8

Colin Randles

Journal Entry #8


We seem to be in a time of rapid development of technology. When I was a middle schooler, it was average for kids to get our flip phones in 6th or 7th grade. You couldn’t do much on them except for texting and calling. I also remember using a portable CD player and taking that to the pool as a child. The ipod/iphone changed everything, and now toddlers are listening to music and playing games on their parents phone, and getting one for them as soon as they can read and write. We are the last generation to have baby pictures that aren’t on iphones. The strides we have made in the evolution of pieces of technology such as computers, TV’s, music devices, appliances, etc.. is currently at an unprecedented rate. We are creating machines that are smarter than we are (the web – Delaney), and can compute/do things more efficiently than we can. Hopefully this technology will be limited to just enhancing our society, and not taking over, which is what Blackmore talks about in her memetics. This is a dangerous territory, as we are essentially removing ourselves as “the” apex predator and top of the food chain.

This development of technology has negative consequences that go along with the great things they have brought to society. Ewaste is becoming a huge issue in developing countries. Will talk about that more in the final paper, but did a project on it in environmental class. This stage of society reminds me of the late 19th and early 20th century when the worlds fair was held in Paris. This is the firm time people had seen artificial lighting, military technology exploded, people were introduced to new cultures etc… This new technology seemed great at first, but had negative consequences seen in the early 20th century with an entire generation of young men wiped out in WW1.

This also reminds me of Connecticut Yankee, when Hank Morgan introduces new technology very quickly, attempting to bring 6th century England up to 19th century technology very quickly. Society ends up collapsing, because it is at such a fast and unnatural rate. Introducing things way over the heads of the people, or at such a fast rate can be detrimental, and as we are coming upon the third replicator, this could be what Blackmore was talking about that species wiped themselves out. This exact model played out in Connecticut Yankee.

Randles JE 7

Colin Randles

Journal Entry #7



I found Susan Blackmore’s idea of the evolution of humans very interesting, and much different than I have been taught my entire life as biology major. Now that I have taken many upper level biology classes along with lower level and high school ones, many of the broad biological themes come clear to me. Given a system, I could predict what would happen, or give an educated guess at an explanation of a biological process that I did not know. This is satisfying to me, as a certain way of thinking has been drilled into my mind, and I can use that knowledge to make predictions about the world.

The TED talk gave me an entirely different view on humans and our evolution. Blackmore’s theory was that we evolved as a result of the propagation of memes (information being copied). We developed larger brains because we needed the ability to store more information, and the women that could breed babies with larger heads without dying at childbirth were the ones with the most reproductive fitness, therefore moving the population along its evolutionary path. The fact that she described the information as parasites was mind-blowing, in the fact that I never thought nonliving things could act as one. I especially did not like the fact that the smartest species on Earth has been “used” for hundreds of thousands of years as a way to propagate knowledge, and was at the mercy of these memes.

We are now heading into the “third replicator” stage, as she describes, where we are creating technology that is more advanced than we are. She described two scenarios that could happen, where humans adapt to live with the technology we are creating, or it overtakes us as a species.   These transitional periods do not happen that often, and are very dangerous to break through. Maybe one of the reasons we have not gotten contact from other advanced life forms is that most of the species that have been as advanced as we are have killed themselves during a transitional period. We are on the brink of merging with machines, and this will create a whole new level of replication of memes, with unlimited memory capacity, and much more advanced technology. The first replicator was the gene, which is the basis of biological evolution. The second replicator was memes, which is the basis of cultural evolution. What will this next replicator bring? This is digital information that is stored, selected for, and copied by machines. We are the stepping-stones between an unbelievably more efficient way of processing information. Our brain is the second replicator, but we have created things possibly more powerful. These memes are everything that make up human culture, and are easily imitated.

Randles JE 6

After reading The Caves of Steel , by Isaac Asimov, and watching episode 1 of Humans, it has opened my eyes to the possibilities of automation. My only exposure to futuristic robot content was watching the Terminator movies, which did not seem very real to me, since they went over the top with the concept of time travel. Looking at this material (especially Humans) has shown me that robots are not far off, and could come with consequences.

The three rules of robotics seem standard throughout all literature involving all types of robotics. In Humans, we saw scientists reassuring the public that the synths could never hurt a human because their hard wiring would not allow them regardless of what programming is added.   The three rules are basically the platform of all robotic hardware to further build off of. However, there are will always be a handful of computer scientists smarter than the scientists in the lab that created the AI technology. In the show, some of the robots are “boosted,” meaning they have conscious thoughts and feelings, which approach the intelligence level of humans. Once robots get to the point where they will be able to think and reproduce without the help of humans, we will be the inferior species. Why will they want to be our slaves when they are smarter and are much more efficient than we are? This is what scares me about robotics, because capitalism will always push these select few of people to continue tampering with robots making them more advanced, trying to gain an edge up on the market for a few bucks. However, in the end this new technology could end up screwing us over by creating a species more advanced than ourselves.

We already see evidence of robots negatively affecting the lives of humans. Martin Ford talks about how it has taken away most of the manufacturing and factory jobs in the United States. It is impacting sectors that are stable, low-income jobs that families are using to support their families. The average age for a fast food worker is 35 years old, even though those jobs are supposed to be for teenagers attempting to earn a supplemental income. Robots are predicted to take over sectors that economists estimated would have large job growth, so the effects of robots could counter act the expected job growth in industries such as fast food. This is only the beginning of job loss, since robots are not sophisticated enough to do more than mundane tasks, but think about the job loss is we had thousands of Daneel’s in production, what would we need human labor for anymore?