Scientists say it's inevitable: artificial life is on the way. A leading US researcher says we'll be able to create human-level artificial intelligence by 2029. Does this mean that machines will take over?
In BBC News, Helen Briggs quotes inventor Ray Kurzweil as saying, "[?There's] not going to be an alien invasion of intelligent machines to displace us?We're already a human machine civilization; we use our technology to expand our physical and mental horizons and this will be a further extension of that."
Kurzweil thinks that machines and people will eventually merge, through implanting devices in people's bodies. We're already doing this with people who are locked in by disease or injury. To abductees with implants, this sounds familiar!
In another type of "life creation," The London Times reports that researchers in the UK have received permission to create chimera embryos (made from a combination of human and animal material) to use for medical research. Researchers will inject human DNA into empty eggs from cows to create embryos which are 99.9% human in genetic terms. Is this ethical?
The stem cell controversy is another medical moral quandary?except when researchers are able to use stem cells from our OWN bodies. A golden retriever named Hunter has the disease that so many large dogs do: painful hip dysphasia, which makes it hard for him to walk. His owners were even considering a hip replacement for him that would cost $10,000, but instead they tried something newer that cost much less (only $2,500): healing him with his own stem cells.
In ABC News, Brian Rooney and Peter Imber quote veterinarian Jerry Bausman as saying, "This is an excellent in-between that may mean he may never need a total hip." A team of veterinarians removed fat cells from just behind the dog?s shoulder, put them in a test tube and took them to the Vet-Stem laboratory in San Diego, where they were put into a centrifuge that separated out the stem cells. The reporters quote Vet-Stem CEO Robert Harman as saying, "The concept is very simple. It took a lot of years for us to figure out where these cells were and which ones were they. And how to use them."
The company has already treated 3,000 horses?some of them race horses?with joint problems. ABC News quotes horse trainer Dan Francisco as saying, "I don't see any reason why humans aren't doing it."
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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