The Virtual Thomas Edison

Machines already play a part in the creative process. Someday they will be equal partners

Robots--even ones more intelligent than M.I.T.'s Kismet--are coming, the inevitable result of accelerating technological revolutions. The exponential growth of computing, communications, brain scanning and brain "reverse engineering," combined with rapid miniaturization, will bring machines that can equal or exceed human intelligence within three decades.

Is this good news? Or is this a threat to humanity's perch of evolutionary superiority? Alarm at the specter of ceding control over the creative process to machines has catapulted the debate beyond the scientific community and into the public forum. Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, has written about a wide range of dangers that...

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