The extent to which human beings are willing to be duped by computers is already very large.
The real question is not what machines or the network will be like in 2050, but what human beings will be like in 2050...whether they’ll use advances in technologies as an excuse for laziness or an excuse for imaginativeness...for laziness and lazy ways to make money and rising wealth, which is certainly good in itself...whether they will lean on computers as replacements for memory, replacements for thinking, replacements for computation and calculation, the sorts of things we do in daily life, replacements for companionship.
David Gelernter: We’re seeing wisdom and moral seriousness come under attack and often from the same people who want to do the genetic engineering.
It’s nothing new to find ourselves faced with threats to the dignity and integrity of human life, but these threats are going to be more and more seductive, not only because they offer to do fancier and fancier jobs for us - leaving us lazier and lazier - but they exist in a world in which religion is increasingly suppressed among educated people.
David Gelernter is professor of computer science at Yale, chief scientist at Mirror Worlds Technologies, contributing editor at the Weekly Standard, and member of the National Council of the Arts. He is the author of several books and many technical articles, as well as essays, art criticism, and fiction. The "tuple spaces" introduced in Carriero and Gelernter's Linda system (1983) are the basis of many computer-communication and distributed programming systems worldwide. According to Reuters, his book "Mirror Worlds" (Oxford University Press, 1991) "foresaw" the World Wide Web and was "one of the inspirations for Java"; the "lifestreams" system (first implemented by Eric Freeman at Yale) is the basis for Mirror Worlds Technologies' software. Gelernter is also the author of "The Muse in the Machine" (Free Press, 1994), the novel "1939" (Harper Perennial, 1995), "Machine Beauty" (Basic Books, 1998), and most recently, "Judaism: A Way of Being" (Yale University Press, 2010).