Magazine
Latest Issue

Lock up your laptops

The takeover of the planet by man-made machines is one of the oldest themes of science fiction. But it may come true

By Warwick Collins   December 1997

We are approaching a crossroads in the history of mankind which is likely to transcend in importance any previous event-from the discovery of fire to space travel. Within the lifetimes of many of us, artificial intelligence will become capable of reproducing itself without human intervention. We stand at the edge of an abyss, staring into a future we cannot guess.

The physical components of this phenomenon require no special technical breakthroughs, merely that artificial intelligence continues to expand at its present rate. Within 40 years, computers will control factories which make other computers. A “closed loop” of manufacture will have…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect