Robots to take over the world! Or, perhaps, just help you solve The Times' crossword

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brain_microchip_god.gifRelax! Intelligent robots and computers aren’t going to take over the human race (at least, I don’t think so), but they are likely to get a lot more advanced, and could well end up providing a built-in intelligence boost for us mere mortals.

According to Ray Kurzweil — one of 18 influential thinkers chosen by the US National Academy of Engineering to identify the great technological challenges facing humanity in the 21st century — by the year 2029, machines will have artificial intelligence as advanced as humans.

(Or the year 2016 to match Sun readers. Ouch! Kidding!)

Forget the implant of dubious inanimate materials for the sake of cosmetic enhancement (hmm, back to The Sun again, I see). No, by 2030 we could all have devices implanted in our bodies that will boost both intelligence and health — apart from solving a sudden outbreak of mercury poisoning, of course, which it will take scientists five years to realise is caused by the implants…

“We’re already a human machine civilisation; we use our technology to expand our physical and mental horizons and this will be a further extension of that,” said Kurzweil.

Google on the brain, then.

“We’ll have intelligent nanobots go into our brains through the capillaries and interact directly with our biological neurons,” he told BBC News.

Please, please, don’t be powered by Microsoft Windows.

A long list of other challenges facing humanity, according to these experts, includes making solar energy affordable, providing energy from fusion, managing the nitrogen cycle, providing access to clean water, preventing nuclear terror, securing cyberspace… oh, and reverse engineering the brain.

What’s the betting there’s a copyright label somewhere on the inner surface? Could get into trouble for deconstructing the work of the Almighty. I guess we can just blame these blasted new machines instead.

(Via BBC News)

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Andy Merrett