This article from Wired is interesting because it highlights some of the issues we are going to face in the future with artificial intelligence. For instance, are most of you aware that some software programs have already out-designed humans?
Evolutionary software has already designed simple circuits, as well as physical mechanisms like the ratchet and cantilever. As these automatic design systems improve and progress from simple geometric forms to novel integrated systems, intellectual property laws must change. If a robot invents, does the patent go to its owner or the patent holder of its artificial intelligence?
I am firm believer that someday Americans will go to the polls to vote about whether or not robots have rights. I believe that consciousness is a function of system complexity, and once we can build systems that are complex enough, they will become conscious. We don't like to think about that because it jars humans out of our sacred place as special creatures here on Earth, but the day is coming when it will happen. Business schools struggle now to teach ethics and make it relevant. I hate to think of the ethical dilemmas that the next generation will have to face when the average person is finally faced with the fact that humans aren't so special. I hope our educational systems can keep up.