What is next in technology?

Every time a product is out, is very common to over-analyze what is next, how could the next version be like?, when will it be here?, how will the product adapt to the market? Common questions which answer is known until the product gets in the market. But lets look further and ask… where is everything going?

Currently, I’m taking “Image Processing” and “Intelligent sensors for Mechatronics” courses, and both professors agree that the ultimate challenge for humanity is make machines more human… So, is this the future? Make robots more like humans? Actually there are two main ideologies about this; the first one is exactly build smarter robots which interaction with the world becomes more and more complex but at the same time transparent and natural for us, humans.

The second stream says that technology and humans will converge at some point, making humans and machines one, and that is the main reason for our obsession about making machines more human-like; because we are getting closer and closer and in some moment we will be one.

This second stream is allegedly called evolution based on technology. And it means that from the moment we integrate technology in ourselves, we are controlling our evolution, letting it go to wherever we want to go, and making look even slower the Darwinian evolution.

The evolution based in technology says that the future for your smartphone is in its integration with you, fancying with the idea of a chip, a wearable, or whatever comes next that comes ready to be in your body. You wanna take a call, sure, you think about it and start talking when the connection is successful, wanna take a picture? Just imaging it, and ready, it will be backed on the internet… MindCloud, maybe?

And what about special abilities like strength, velocity and flexibility? They no longer need to be developed in such a harway, they can be stimulated by machines and this gives a space for exoesqueletos.

There are other aspects of the evolution based on technology that are convincing the scientist that this is the logic step; the capabilities of men cannot be recreated, because it is very complex, expensive and, for some, dangerous to give to another species, especially if it is not a biological species.

But the reality for the stream that stands for robotics make another panorama; the robots are the ultimate tool. There are many aspects in which humans are susceptible for mistakes, that just a mathematical system can solve. For example, who could be faster at counting the stars in the sky? Or simply, because robots can make work that for humans is monotonous or dangerous; in a fire a robot could be more efficient locating people, rescuing them and providing tools to save them, also, no firemen would be in a dangerous situation.

Also, robots don’t mean androids so the versatility of a robot has no limits. They can be everywhere they are needed; in a spatial station, on a deep carbon mine, in the center of an active volcano, right in your kitchen, helping senior citizens with medicines… Simply limitless, the fact is that machines need a big capacity and an artificial intelligence. The fact is that this scenario looks distant, because this is a technology that still needs a lot of work and upgrades to be taken seriously in the real life.

The “one robot per human” phrase is one of the favorites for the science fiction, and in some point this will come true, the fact is which posture will become the winner? An evolution based on technology? or the robots will be enough smart to become our main tool?

As the time goes by, scientist and engineers give solutions and small revolutions that are enormous steps that makes science get closer to science fiction. How do you imagine the future? Do you conceive the controlled evolution or life finds its way?

-W

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