Ray Kurzweil has has a piece in Forbes on his vision of the combination of artificial intelligence and nanotechnology. According to him, we’ll have AI nanobots crawling bloodstream, repairing us, and augmenting our senses. In 20 years.
Now, I’m far less a technoparanoid than a certain other someone around here, but allow me to point out the issues posed by this setup. Like, for example, what if all those nanobots in your bloodstream aren’t doing what you really want them to? Nanobots might be able to zap cancer cells, but who zaps them when they get out of line? And how do you prevent someone from hiijacking your nanobot net? I tend to worry less about this sort of technology in the hands of Evil Big Government or Evil Large Corporations (well, same thing, really, these days, aren’t they?) than I am the disaffected mysanthrope.
And, on the general skeptical side, it’s usually the case that there are always unforseen issues that crop up that make the early rosy-future forcasts never come true. You know, those forecasts like how nuclear energy would make electricity so cheap no one would bother metering it (and having just paid a whopper of an electric bill to support my AC habit, that one particularly amuses me this month). Or the ever popular flying cars. Or countless others.
But, on the other hand, technology usually doesn’t live up to its worst potentials, either. We didn’t nuke ourselves in the 20th century. We didn’t use (many) chemical or biological weapons against each other.