Machines’ Evolution and Cambridge’s Mother-Robot

Technology’s advance is bringing us closer to the uncomfortable point at which organic and mechanical life begins to merge. That’s really what the growing ethical, legal, and practical conflicts in science boil down to. The ethical conflicts will define what gets to be counted as human, as machines increasingly behave in ways that resemble organic life, while people upgrade themselves with a growing inventory of artificial modifications.  (That doesn’t necessarily mean surgical implants.  Look at people interacting with their smartphones, and ask if you’re looking at living organisms who have been significantly modified by close exposure to machines.  The power, portability, and availability of computers and Internet access have indisputably begun changing the nature of human life, as surely as any surgical augmentation or biological evolution.) The legal questions will…

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