9.03.2003

One of my friends is waiting for the robots. He would like to see a world where androids have replaced human endeavour with a superior, more idealized approach to living life. They first replace us in manual labour and the menial, thankless jobs that humans do now. Already that plan is well on its way. It is simply a matter of time before sentience is achieved in machines (that time is likely well off but having seen the leaps in technology over our history it can only seem inevitable). Eventually, there will be sentient androids superceding us and living out human ideals to a degree that we, hypocritical and self-delusive, are unable to achieve.

Many people stop and question the dangers in proceeding with such a plan. What happens if we make ourselves obsolete? Can we control sentient robots? Or will we all require Arnold Schwartzenegger to be sent from the future for humanity's sake? But the truth is we have a higher duty than to preserve the primacy of humans. We have a far greater obligation to preserve sentience as we understand it.

Humans are fragile, the world we live in is fragile. Small flecks of proteins suspended in water clinging to life, like lichen on some unnamed rock in the arctic. Trapped between a layer of tectonics and air, we are only now making strides in living in the rock and soaring above the clouds. We need systems of survival that are more robust and if we have the capacity to reproduce that which makes us alive, our sentience, then we must propagate and sustain it. It is simply a remarkable event in our local neighbourhood of systems. Perhaps on a universal scale, we might not be quite so precious but to the limits of our observation there is little sign of anything similar. Statistical flukes such as ourselves don't have an inherent right to propagate but if we have the capacity then we owe it to ourselves to explore the nature of our world. A search for meaning and our supposed role in the universe is not what I'm talking about. That would be ascribing qualities which may or may not exist. Rather, I speak of a descriptive understanding of how our world works, the proverbial Quest for Knowledge.

So fear not being superceded! It is our duty to bring ourselves to obsolescence for a superior, less destructive and self-destructive form to which we aspire but may never attain.