Should machines be “smarter” than humans?

Start here(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity).

Are any of Huxley’s machines “smart”? Does Huxley’s future have any need for computation? Why, why not?

Consider Huxley, what would be a “predicted future event believed to precede immense technological progress in an unprecedentedly brief time”?(Look at a the real world goal of Zyvex)

Is Asimov enough?

What would Young Macduff give as a cheeky response to the “rise of the machines”?

from Staying Human in an Engineered Age.

Will we decide that we’ve grown powerful enough? Can we draw a line and say, “this far and no further”?

How do we control the techno-scientific juggernaut before it dehumanizes our species?

Is it possible for us to refuse to do something that we can do?

Must we forever grow in reach and power? Or can we, should we ever, say, “Enough”?

Is it possible that our technological reach is very nearly sufficient now?

Are our lives sufficiently comfortable?

The question of who will be the first clone is, in the course of things, unimportant; the real issue is what will follow. Who will be that last?

Attempting to alter the human body is nothing new, so why not alter the genes? Once the first step has been taken, why not continue down the road?

Why not inject an embryo with the patented genes of a champion?

Future contests won’t celebrate human excellence, but “who’s got the better biotech sponsor?”

Will the ‘average’ human, once ‘improved’, have no more reason to run marathons?

Compare Somatic Gene Therapy to Germline Gene Therapy

Who wants an ugly baby?

Should scientists treat illnesses the patients do not have?

Who would want exact copies of humans?

Human genome has “slightly more” genes than a mustard weed.

Could you genetically engineer higher intelligence?

What do Jacques, Gordie, and Wayne have in common with a pig?

Bloggiest start to the bloggiest year ever.

What a funny word, “bloggiest”. Should I say it is a “most bloggy” start to the year? Does correct English matter in a blog?

All students I teach have begun a blog, of sorts. For the most part, I’ve insisted the content of the blog must be school or course related, the myriad responses to Macbeth fit this category. Other responses are more like “snowflakes”, snowflakes is my term to describe the phenomena of no two responses to the same prompt being identical.

I aggregate(not related to the term aggravate) RSS feeds from each class to aid in tracking down assigned work. Each student has a spreadsheet I term the Data Collector that averages rubric scores and totals moderated comment feeds, too. I then collect the Data Collectors periodically to determine scores to enter into GradeLogic. The data collectors serve a dual purpose, a foundation to build a grade obviously, but a powerful device to bring a landslide of peer pressure and collaborative assistance on the lazy, slower, or reluctant bloggers. Those that finish first have always shown a willingness to “share their secrets” with others.

Students are also instructed to collect and deposit appropriate comments on each other’s blogs, too. It is proving to be a fine art to learn to comment. Last year I found the aspect of commenting to be more valuable than the creation of the posts. Comments must contain evidence of critical thinking, I said, not simply “gladhanding”. If you troll the blogs you’ll notice the biggest difference right now between a veteran blogger and a newbie is the quality/quantity of appropriate comments. Students complete work earlier to benefit from positive/any attention from peer “commentors”. Any student who doesn’t get their blog post done on time, gets punished by receiving low or no rubric scores from their peers. However, unlike class discussions, the very nature of blogging allows anyone to catch up at any time. The students themselves seem to have an unofficial pecking order for who writes the best comments. They have internalized their own standards for what they will accept as a comment on their blog and are very persuasive at convincing each other to measure up. A few students are positively verbose and comment on all they can. Others choose fewer responses yet measure their words very carefully. Those that finish writing a post early, are left to hustle remaining students.

The grade 10s are shifting their attention to Keyboarding modules for a while, although I keep prodding them about “Turing Tests”. iGod is our most recent fascination.

The grade 9s get their prompts from Mrs. Fraser’s class then I help them become a bit more tech savvy.

The Grade 11s are in the midst of Macbeth and may see no reprieve for at least 2 more weeks, I figure. The more traditional assignments I’ve used for the last 14 years are as appropriate in a blog as they have ever been in my class. Doing it with blogs is just so cool!