As we head deeper into the 21st century, we’re starting to catch a glimpse of the fantastic technological possibilities that await. But we’re also starting to get a grim sense of the potential horrors.Here are frightening technologies that should never, ever, come into existence.
As Stephen Hawking declared earlier this year, artificial intelligence could be our worst mistake in history.the advent of greater-than-human intelligence could prove catastrophic. The introduction of systems far faster and smarter than us would force us to take a back seat. We’d be at the mercy of whatever the artificial superintelligence decides to do — and it’s not immediately clear that we’ll be able to design a friendly AI to prevent this.
Nothing could end our reign here on Earth faster than weaponized — or severely botched — molecular assembling nanotechnology. It’s a threat that stems from two extremely powerful forces: unchecked self-replication and exponential growth. A sufficiently nihilistic government, non-state actor, or individual could engineer microscopic machines that consume our planet’s critical resources at a rapid-fire rate while replicating themselves in the process and leaving useless bi-products in their wake — a residue futurists like to call “grey goo.
Nanotechnology theorist Robert Freitas has brainstormed several possible variations of planet-killing nanotech, including aerovores (a.k.a. grey dust), grey plankton, grey lichens, and so-called biomass killers. Aeorovores would blot out all sunlight. (Sound like Chem-Trails?)
Mind Reading Devices
The prospect exists for machines that can read people’s thoughts and memories at a distance and without their consent. Last year, for example, scientists from the Netherlands used brain scan data and computer algorithms to determine which letters a person was looking at. The breakthrough hinted at the potential for a third party to reconstruct human thoughts at an unprecedented level of detail, including what we see, think, and remember. Such devices, if used en masse by some kind of totalitarian regime or police state, would make life intolerable.
Autonomous Robots Designed to Kill Humans
The potential for autonomous killing machines is a scary one — and perhaps the one item on this list that’s already an issue today.Futurist Michael LaTorra
We do not yet have a machine that exhibits general intelligence even close to the human level. But human level intelligence is not required for the operation of autonomous robots with lethal capabilities. Building robotic military vehicles of all sorts is already achievable. Robot tanks, aircraft, ships, submarines, and humanoid-shaped soldiers are possible today. Unlike remote-controlled drones, military robots could identify targets and destroy them without a human giving the final order to shoot.The greater danger lurks in the international arms race that could be set off if any nation deploys autonomous military robots. After a few cycles of improvement, the race to develop ever more powerful military robots could cross a threshold in which the latest generation of autonomous military robots would be able to outfight any human-controlled military system
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