Chapter 12: The Principle of Computational Equivalence

Section 11: Implications for Technology

Future technology

The purposes technology should serve inevitably change as human civilization develops. But at least in the immediate future many of these purposes will tend to relate to the current character of our bodies and minds. For certainly technology must interface with these. But presumably as time progresses it will tend to become more integrated, with systems that we have created eventually being able to fit quite interchangeably into our usual biological or mental setup. At first most such systems will probably tend either to be based on standard engineering, or to be quite direct emulations of human components that we see. But particularly by using the ideas and methods of this book I suspect that significant progressive enhancements will be possible. And probably there will be many features that are actually quite easy to take far beyond the originals. One example is memory and the recall of history. Human memory is in many ways quite impressive. Yet for ordinary physical objects we are used to the idea that they remember little of their history, for at a macroscopic level we tend to see only the coarsest traces. But at a microscopic scale something like the surface of a solid has in at least some form remarkably detailed information about its history. And as technological systems get smaller it should become possible to read and manipulate this. And much as in the discussion at the end of Chapter 10 the ability to interact at such a level will yield quite different experiences, which in turn will tend to suggest different purposes to pursue with technology.

From Stephen Wolfram: A New Kind of Science [citation]