From: Wired Magazine: August, 2002

Assignment worth a total of 1000 points.

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS: You simply must number EACH reply as I number it below. Eg. Do 4A as a separate answer from 4B and be sure to number it and put the answers in the order from 1 to 10.

To not do so with significantly reduce the credit you get for a reply. I just don't have time to try to figure out which question you are answering. NUMBER THEM AS I DO.

  1. (20 points) What is a "sentient robot"? No more than one sentence.

  2. Bill Joy argues that if intelligent machines took over all work, but control of the robots themselves was maintained by humans, those humans would be a technical elite with tremendous power. The masses over whom that technical elite had control (the masses of people on earth) would be useless since machines would do all the work.

    How would the elite behave toward the masses? Joy sees THREE possibilities. Explain each of them.
    • 2A (50 points)
    • 2B (50 points)
    • 2C (50 points)
  3. The heart of Bill Joy's article centers around THREE technologies which he deeply fears in our 21st century:

    robotics; genetic engineering; nanotechnology.

    What IS each of these? Just explain what each is, clearly as though you were talking to a friend who happened to see those words in the paper and asked you what those words meant. Just what IS each?
    • 3A (50 points)
    • 3B (50 points)
    • 3C (50 points)
  4. But Joy thinks each of these three is tremendously dangerous to the human species.

    For each of these three, separately; EXACTLY what is the main danger which each poses to the human species. The reply is DIFFERENT for each of the three. Be specific.
    • 4A (50 points)
    • 4B (50 points)
    • 4C (50 points)
  5. Joy does think the danger of all three together lies in the possibility of SELF REPLICATION.

    Precisely what would "self replication" be for EACH of the three. It will be different for each.
    • 5A (50 points)
    • 5B (50 points)
    • 5C (50 points)
  6. (100 points) Joy argues the dangers of the 3 early-21st century problems are more extreme than the dangers of the late 20th century's threat of weapons of mass destruction. Why does he hold this view? What reasons does he give?

  7. (20 points) What does NBC stand for in Bill Joy's paper?

  8. (20 points) What does GNR stand for in Bill Joy's paper?

  9. (100 points) Joy goes on and on for pages about nuclear arms, WWII, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the aftermath of WWII. WHY? What is the place of all this talk in THIS paper. How does it fit into his argument? What is it doing in this paper?

  10. (40 points, 10 for each) Joy indicates that historically 3 dominant goals have been suggested for humans as the meaning of human existence, and now a forth is emerging.

    In ONE SINGLE WORD FOR EACH, (only 4 words allowed for this entire answer) what are these four "meanings" of existence?

  11. (100 points) Despite all his worries, doom and gloom and scary possibilities, Bill Joy ends up an optimist. How so? What reasons does he have to believe that in the 21st century GNR will not destroy the human race?

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Bob Corbett