`` Prey `` By Michael Crichton Essay

`` Prey `` By Michael Crichton Essay

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K. Eric Drexler is known to be “the founding father of nanotechnology,” and theorized the creation of mechanical nanoscale systems that would revolutionize the world of manufacturing and technology. However, many opponents of his theory feared the implications and applications of such nanotechnology, and therefore began to spread panic through the concept of the menacing “grey goo.” “Prey” by Michael Crichton delves into the concepts Drexler proposed concerning nanorobotics computation and artificial intelligence through an interesting and insightful science fiction novel. Crichton delves in to the ethical implications of the unpredictability of evolutionary and machine learning programs, inability of technologists to learn from past mistakes, and redefining self-awareness and intelligence.
In “Prey,” the concept of multi agent evolutionary programs, usually used for solving computational problems, is used to convey his standpoint of the negative unpredictability of our technology. Crichton proposes the concept of emergent behavior in distributed parallel processing systems with evolutionary capabilities, which multiple programs run to solve a goal but however begin to produce unpredictable behavior and lose track of their goal. (125-126) In “Prey,” Crichton portrays the behavior of the nanoswarm becoming dangerous as it began to use living organisms as biological hosts for nanobot producing bacteria. Furthermore, Crichton compares this behavior to such occurrences such as “computer viruses” and the production n of a “devastatingly lethal virus by Australian researchers in 2001.”(xi) Although Crichton provides thorough points concerning the negatives of emergent behavior and technology, he also within his own text provide controls...


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...ess not generated by the interactions of brain cells.
“Prey” is truly an intriguing insight on a possible scenario of unregulated nanotechnology, however Crichton’s biased perspectives of aforementioned evolutionary programs and nanotechnology contributed to deterred research in the field. Although, technological advancement may cause harm without caution, it should not be a hindrance to advancements that can further capitulate the creation of beneficial technologies. Furthermore, to advance from past mistakes, requires not only building from those mistakes but making our own mistakes to further capitulate progress. Although new programs are capable of highly complex functions, treating artificially created systems as self-aware or equated to human intelligence would not correctly represent a program’s lack of complete creativity and introspection compared to humans.

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