Singularity Survey

This questionnaire was given to 10 students aged 12 and 11 students aged 14. Their responses are indicated below with stars and the most popular response is in bold type.

In a few years time it is possible that computers and neuroscience will have progressed to the point that we will be able to copy your entire mind (all your thoughts, memories and emotions, even your SOUL) onto a computer. The moment when this will become possible already has a name – it’s called the SINGULARITY. Copying your mind to a computer would free your mind from your body and give you immortality as well as much enhanced thinking abilities. Your body, now obsolete, would be discarded.

Do you think that technology progress is going to have a REVOLUTIONARY impact on our personal lives in this century???

a) ************ Yes b) No c) ********* Maybe

Do you agree that people’s minds should be stored forever?

a) ** Yes, immortality would be great

b) ************** No, death is natural and humans shouldn’t bypass nature’s laws

c) *** No, this way some dangerous people such as dictators could rule forever

Make a guess as to how long it will take for humans to make a computer that matches the power of the human brain.

a) 10 years b) ****** 20 years c) ******** 40 years d) ** 100 years e) * it will never be possible

What is your opinion about attempts at reading human thoughts?

a) ********* we should not be doing such experiments at all, even on animals like rats or monkeys

b) ** experiments on animals are OK, but never humans

c) ******** experiments on humans are OK only in special cases such as offering speech to a paralysed person who is otherwise unable to speak

d) * experiments on humans are not a problem

If and when it becomes possible to read human thoughts how much of a danger is there that governments will want to read your thoughts for ‘security’ purposes?

a) I believe that governments would never abuse technology

b) ****** There is a small danger that this could happen

c) ************** It is very likely that some governments would abuse this technology

The ‘Unabomber’ attempted to slow technological progress in the US by sending parcel bombs to universities. Dozens of people were killed or injured. How do you feel about this?

a) ************* He is a mass murderer and should spend the rest of his life in prison

b) ***** I’m sympathetic to his feelings but don’t support what he did

c) ** Technological progress is much too rapid – it’s out of control! He is a hero!

If all your brain’s electrical activity has been transferred to a computer and the computer brain starts behaving in a human like way (talking like a human etc) then can we be confident that the computer is alive and that the human soul itself has been transferred?

a) yes – there’s no reason why a computer can’t be alive and have a soul

b) ******* no – a computer will never be able to have a soul, even if a human’s thoughts have been copied onto it

c) **** It would not be easy to tell whether a very smart computer is alive and has a soul – very clever testing would be necessary

If one day computers become far smarter than humans then is there a danger that they will regard us with contempt and might eliminate us?

a) *** They will know that we created them and would have to treat us with respect.

b) ********** There is a real danger that we would be eliminated

c) ******* If these supercomputers were ‘seeded’ with human thoughts then there can be no conflict between the biological humans and the computer humans.

If it becomes possible to copy human minds to computers, would it make more sense to copy everyone’s minds to computers or only the minds of the smartest people (those minds could then be easily cloned).

a) ******** we’d want to copy everybody’s brains to computers – it’s only fair

b) ********* Copy only the minds of the smart people

Super-powerful computers could be used in either of two ways: they could host a human mind which would then be able to grow inside its new home or they could develop independently of us using what we call ‘artificial intelligence’. What do you think is likely to be the dominant use of the super-powerful computers of the future?

a) ***** they will host human minds

b) ************* they will develop independently of us using artificial intelligence.

If it becomes possible to READ all our thoughts then it will probably be also possible to DOWNLOAD thoughts INTO the brain (like in the Matrix movies). ‘Going to school’ might take on a new meaning – a weekly 10 minute connection to a computer to have new knowledge and skills downloaded effortlessly to your brain.

a) * Learning quickly without effort? I’d be in favour of this. Sign me up! Everyone should learn this way as soon as this becomes possible.

b) **** Too dangerous – too much like mind control or thought control. I think this should not be allowed.

c) ************** I think people should be allowed to choose between learning the traditional way or having knowledge downloaded straight into their brains.

Being able to download thoughts into a human brain might mean that we would be able to control that brain and that person. Which statement do you agree with most strongly?

a) ************* Yes, there is a danger that somebody would try to use technology to control humans and might even use these humans to commit crimes or fight wars.

b) No, the technology would never be advanced enough to control the human brain

c) * Yes, remote control humans could be used as slaves and could do work that no robots can so “normal” humans wouldn’t have to work

d) ****** No, no human would ever submit himself to become controlled by somebody else