Project Abstract:

We have chosen to do our project on the dangers inherent in the unbounded quest for scientific knowledge and the machinery it produces. The inspiration for this topic was derived from Wired Magazine’s April 2000 cover story by Bill Joy. In his essay, Joy argues that technology is advancing at a pace that does not afford any time to analyze its potential costs and benefits. At a time when computers are approaching the same degree of complexity as that of the human brain, we must pause and reflect on our fundamental motivation, on the practical goals we set for ourselves, and on the possible side effects of attaining those goals. Our project is meant to provide three early steps towards a thorough analysis of this issue. One step will be backwards: a quick overview of technological progress, with emphasis on extracting the human values that drive it. One step will be a step in place, a study of the status quo-the research that is currently being pursued and where it is leading. Finally, the last step will be a step forward - a comparison of the options available to us, accompanied by some criteria for choosing among these options.

Tim Chao | Mikhail Seregine | Tuan Pham