“Within 30 years, we will have the means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.” -Vernor Vinge, in “The Coming Technological Singularity”
Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist, inventor, and author of books on artificial intelligence, believes that “we’re approaching a moment when computers will become intelligent, and not just intelligent but more intelligent than humans. When that happens, humanity—our bodies, our minds, our civilization—will be completely and irreversibly transformed…. Maybe we’ll merge with [the superintelligent computers] to become superintelligent cyborgs, using computers to extend our intellectual abilities the same way that cars and planes extend our physical abilities.” *
Science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov was way ahead of the curve on this. In the far distant past of 1950, he wrote a series of short stories that became the book I, Robot. You may have seen the 2004 movie of the same name, starring Will Smith, in which computers and robots become more intelligent than humans.
That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis features a deliciously creepy human-machine combo. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley uses biotechnology and eugenics to create its new world. No doubt, you could add TV shows, movies, and other books to this list that blur the line between computers and humans.
Now it’s your turn: Choose from one of the following options.
-Write the first few paragraphs of a story (or the whole story) in which humans and machines/computers are melded together into one unit. Will the “marriage” of these two entities be successful? Or will the blending of humans and machine be troubled?
-Scientists and surgeons have already used machines and computers in people. Think of pacemakers, robotic hands, and so forth. What mechanical or technological advance would you like to see used in people next?
-What do you think will happen when computers become more intelligent than humans?
-Do you think it is possible that computers can become more intelligent than humans? Write your opinion or write a story based on that possibility.
-What do you think will happen to concepts such as beauty, love, and enjoyment when robots or superintelligent computers take over the world?
-You are a human who has a surgical implant of some new technology. What is it? Write your story of what happens next.
* Lev Grossman, “Man and Machine,” Time Magazine, Feb. 21, 2011.
Copyright © 2015 by Sharon Watson
Image Victor Habbick / freedigitalphotos.com
Do you have an idea for a writing prompt? Contact Sharon Watson by clicking here.
Frustrated that your students don’t finish an essay or don’t know the steps to complete one? Worry no more! Click here for my latest article in The Informer about a super-practical writing schedule you WILL use!
Want daily writing prompts to tempt reluctant writers and delight eager ones? Find out more about Sharon’s daily writing prompts posted on SchoolhouseTeachers.com under “Dailies” or click here.
|Check out the innovative The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School for your complete high school writing curriculum needs. If you have a storyteller at home, try Writing Fiction [in High School] with hundreds of examples from popular fiction and classical literature.|
Get your middle school student ready for high school with this popular writing curriculum from Writing with Sharon Watson, published by Apologia! Featured in Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, Jump In will prepare and even amuse your students as they learn the fundamentals of effective essay writing and storytelling.