Ray Kurzweil and Karl Marx both view technology as consuming humanity and, ever so slowly, replacing the human species. We are already unable to distinguish between the human and the machine. Our technology-obsessed society is putting a great deal of focus on a controversial issue that could potentially harm our human species in its entirety if it continues to advance. The fear of having control over human DNA and its replication has taken the advancement of science too far and the idea of human cloning has proven that science has taken over the “role of God.”
Human cloning is the genetic duplication of one human to create another. Science has taken reproduction into their own hands and has learned to control the creation of the human species. “…There will no longer be a clear distinction between human and machine” (Kurzweil, 56). Theoretically, humans can be genetically modified and molded into a form that is preferred by the people. Clones look identical to that of the human being cloned because of their indistinguishable DNA. Their similarities are carried over and the clone, which can be considered the machine, is manufactured by a human with another human’s DNA. “… We learn to program intelligence by copying the best intelligence entity we can get our hands on: the human brain itself” (Kurzweil, 59). Through artificial intelligence and what Kurzweil calls “reverse brain engineering” science has finally adapted the ability to duplicate the human brain. With this type of technology, it can be applied to other forms that are not of the human race. The cloning of the human brain can be used and employed onto different mechanisms that could potentially harm society.
Relating back to Karl Marx and his idea of designing technology to the point where it takes over our lives, we have allowed the replication of our human genes; which is the ultimate surrender. “…Technology is taking over; system is beyond our control” (Marx, 503). Marx believes that technology has taken over our world and we no longer control our destinies or the way our scientific progressions are used. Artificial intelligence, such as human cloning, takes the visual aspect of a human and programs its inner to act a certain way that differs from its original. “Bottom-Up AI” takes this idea further; this is the idea of programming something and letting it learn the rest. The machine has common knowledge and accumulates knowledge over time. Furthermore, Kazcynski states, “the machines might be permitted to make all of their own decisions without human oversight” taking Marx’s concept of the division of labour and completely making it autonomous through the use of artificial intelligence (Kazcynski, 2). With this idea, the factories will now be entirely automated with machines providing supervision over other machines rather than the humans providing the supervision.
“At what point do we consider an entity to be conscious, to be self-aware, to have free will? How do we distinguish a process that is conscious from one that just acts as if it was conscious?” (Kurzweil, 60). We can ask ourselves these two questions over and over again but in the end, we are the ones that allow the blend of human and machine. We allow and adapt to the idea of human intelligence, where we subconsciously like the idea of these advancements if we are told we may potentially benefit from it. Our human race has forgotten of the consequences of this type of control and that science can harm us in ways yet unknown. What is to happen if these machines that we design and build eventually accumulate more knowledge that we, ourselves, cannot accumulate or imagine?