Concepts once purely fiction — robots, cyborg parts, artificial intelligence — are becoming part of everyday reality. Soon robots will be everywhere, performing surgery, exploring hazardous places, making rescues, fighting fires, and handling heavy goods. After a decade or two, they will be as unremarkable as computer screens are now in our offices, airports, and restaurants. Cyborgs will be less obvious. These additions to the human body — rebuilt joints, elbows, and hearts — are mostly inferior now. Soon we will cross the line between repair and augmentation, probably first in sports medicine and cosmetic alterations, then for anyone who wants to make a body perform better and last longer than it ordinarily could. Controversy will arise, but it will not stop our desire to live longer and be stronger than we are. Benford and Malartre are not afraid to speculate or to focus closely on surprising things already possible and being done.
Dr. Gregory Benford has published over 30 books. His fiction has won many awards, including the Nebula Award for his novel Timescape. A winner of the United Nations Medal for Literature, he is a professor of physics at the University of California, Irvine. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, was Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University, and in 1995 received the Lord Prize for contributions to science. A fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, he continues his research in both astrophysics and plasma physics.
Dr. Elisabeth Malartre is the pen name of a biologist and writer living in Laguna Beach, CA. She is a multiple award-winning environmentalist with a 25-year career in land preservation. Her current research centers on the Pandora Moth in the Eastern Sierra in California.Tags: artificial intelligence, cyborgs, ethics, morality, robots