A little less than 40 years ago (39 to be precise) I managed to design and with financial assistance from the Perkins Group, build the world’s first variable sized “computer printer”. This was in a time well before the “PC” was even on the drawing board and my invention was granted 19 separate worldwide patents registered to my name.
Since that time I have been involved with many aspects of “regular” computing and have made my living from providing wide area networking solutions, generally referred to today (quite wrongly) as Internet services. My present project is called “MetroCell” and will be the answer to the last mile issues and the totally inadequate copper network, which simply cannot handle the exponential growth of data transmission.
During my time I have written many applications to assist WAN users including the first IP “fixer” which is still in use today and with a code size of just 24k, is I believe still the most efficient program available to enable end users to have a “virtual” fixed IP – the software is free and available to all and I believe the reason why the various “commercial” solutions that have arrived since my creation first became available are relatively inexpensive.
My interest in quantum stems from my early belief that Einstein did not do his sums right as he refused to include the cosmological variable. To my gratification several quite clever mathematicians have recently and to my satisfaction at least, established that E=Mc2 is indeed flawed. It was my doubts about this equation that prompted me to look at quantum physics for a possible answer and from that time I was hooked.
Recent “trials” employing quantum entanglement theory indicate that it could be possible to transmit a copy of an electron (or many electrons) to a different place in time and space. Recent tests at CERN over 9 miles have proved positive; the next step is to repeat the test over the new 32-mile particle accelerator which is in the process of being constructed.
With regard to your specific project, IBM as you are probably aware has been working with a “twin” task nano computer the second task being to replicate itself when damaged by the primary task of destroying the target cell. Unfortunately to date they (IBM) have not resolved this.
Some 3 years ago Dr Shapiro who is resident mathematician at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, built a DNA based system, with similar requirements and has recently published his testing of the device on humans. This in my opinion puts his method well in front of any “electromechanical” device currently under development as it uses “real” DNA - the length of the DNA strands determine what cell it should seek and destroy. Dr Crumplin a close friend who worked for 20 years on the genome project believes that it is not a double helix but fully circular, who knows? One thing is for sure we are at the starting gate of potentially the most important discoveries of modern times.
The question of possibility is no longer an issue, what we do have to consider very carefully is the ethics and the philosophy. If we are prepared to accept these truly new discoveries the entire structure of Newtonian physics becomes obsolete. IBM's $100m Blue Gene program is directed at creating a new family of supercomputers that will be able to perform a quadrillion calculations per second (one Petaflop) by late 2005 or early 2006, this will be managed by 65,000 processors and 16 trillion bytes of memory – the human brain has an estimated capacity of twenty Petaflop and this will bring the “thinking” computer into the equation.
Recently (last August) as the keynote speaker to an audience of philosophy
readers I spoke at length on the possibilities of such thinking machines. The
main questions posed by these academics was:
A) Do we let it learn or do we teach it?
B) What would happen if we were to permanently disable one of these devices
In my opinion the answer to “A” is that it makes little difference either way, the outcome must be that the device will eventually establish that humanity itself is flawed – what it would do about when the "machine" reaches that decision is up for debate, the logical conclusion is that it will attempt to rectify the situation.
The answer to “B” must relate to the classic “I think therefore I am” which by default implies a soul and by permanently disabling such a device, under present laws would mean we would be committing murder.
My only regret is that I will not be around long enough to see how we handle this “Brave New World”.
To conclude, your job is going to be difficult to say the least, specific guidelines must be set right from the beginning along with a very detailed examination of current and future projects and as you progress these parameters will almost certainly change which in itself will create an evolutionary answer, to be modified as our knowledge and capability expands.
Let me know if I can be of any assistance.
Dr John Dimmock - Technical Director
Media Services Sussex Ltd
Metroweb Network Services
First Internet UK Ltd