Friday, October 27, 2006

The Much Cliched Debate: Man vs Machines Revisited From a Different Perspective

It has been an innate desire of the human race since the very inception of its civilization, down the times of Adam and Eve, to explore the Nature and tame the surroundings to suit their needs. While human civilization coming down through the apt hands of Galileo, Kepler and Newton in the medieval ages had struck to explore and in a way revere how the Universe is, Einstein, Maxwell and today Stephen Hawking entended the realms of exploration and have bound the human race to think beyond all boundaries of time and space and that it indeed is the most intelligent and superior entity on Earth.
But consider the scenario of today. Flip through the pages of the science and technology sections of any leading magazine or newspaper. It is no longer the news of the 'awe' about the Nature, Earth or the Universe. Rather it is all geared around our achievements how we have taken over all these three: be it taming them to our needs or an attempt to beat the very way the Universe is created or even falsify the notion of 'three' dimensions with 'seventeen' dimensions or even think of time to be cyclic and periodic instead of the long believed belief that time is uni-directional and linear. We, the humans have emerged to be the most powerful entity in the Universe known.
In spite of all climbing to the zenith of success in all these areas of basic sciences, the man of today is not placated with what he has. He wants more control over everything around him. He seeks everything in his environment to be automated and adaptive to his own personal needs. And the most powerful tool that has given man all these options to think about is 'technology'.
Today we are living in a world booming with all the hi-fi electronic gadgets and applications that tend to make our lives easier, smoother and our tasks more adaptive to ourselves: the much hyped concept of personalization. And herein the human race is faced with a whole new challenge!
We are surging ahead on our way to make everything adaptive to what we mean, need or want without any requirement to specify it explicitly. In a sense, the machines of tomorrow will be intelligent enough to automatically get our stuff done in our own way. The question arises: to what extent?
There has been a lot of debate and fiction element on machines taking over man. I am not talking on those lines, but I am definitely suspicious of the hyper-execution of adaptiveness of machines. The only reason man has reigned five thousand years on Earth is because he had his own 'control' over what he wanted to do and he could accomplish that sooner or later. But with these adaptive and intelligent machines storming inside our lives today and tomorrow, it is not far away when man will have little control on what he wants to do, because the machines will be so intelligent and adaptive that they will start taking decisions on our behalf which we might have little control upon to strike a change.
I am not kidding! This is a grave-serious issue. Even though I am one of those folks who is contributing to making those systems more intelligent and adaptive, but honestly I do not want to get counted in tomorrow to be one without enough farsight about machines taking over man.
All the HCI (human computer interaction) research is overwhelming beyond words. But we always need to take care of the subtle thing that we leave enough traces or loopholes in building our systems which can bear the proof and carry ahead the legacy of our being the most superior entity on Earth in the years to come.

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