Forget the robocalypse -- 'Homo connecticus' may be what's coming

This new species will coexist peacefully with humans, one Turing Award winner says

Robots' potential to take over the world is a commonly expressed fear in the world of AI, but at least one Turing Award winner doesn't see it happening that way. Rather than replacing mankind, technology will create a new kind of human that will coexist with its predecessors while taking advantage of new tech-enabled tools.

So argued Raj Reddy, former founding director of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute and 1994 winner of the Turing Award, at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany last week.

"I could not have predicted much of what has happened in AI," Reddy told an audience of journalists at a press conference. "Four or five things happened in AI in the last decade that I didn't think would happen in my lifetime," including achievements in language translation and AI's triumph at the game of Go.

Such victories have arrived early largely because computing power has advanced so rapidly, Reddy said, enabling capabilities that had been rejected as impossible not so long ago. Next, there will be a new step in human evolution where Homo sapiens evolves into what one might call "Homo connecticus," he said.

The new species will likely look just like us, but will be enabled in new ways by artificial intelligence and other technologies. "It might not be genetic, but rather external, through tools," Reddy said.

The next 30 to 50 years will usher in at least one more giant leap in computing power, he said. While futurist Ray Kurzweil has predicted the "singularity" around that time, leading to the demise of today's humans, "I don't think so," Reddy said.

Instead, we'll eventually see the emergence of Homo connecticus.

"They could theoretically kill everyone else, but we don't go around killing all the chimps and monkeys, even though we evolved from them," he said. "The same will be true with AI."

This new species won't be competing for the same resources the way Homo sapiens and Neanderthals did. Accordingly, "they'll leave the rest of the people alone."

Reddy doesn't expect this shift to happen within the next 100 years, but it may in the next 1,000, he said.

"We should be prepared, but we shouldn't worry about it at this point," he said. "When it happens, it will be a peaceful coexistence."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?