'Melding' tech, humans
Artificially intelligent nano-machines will be injected into humans within 20 years to repair and enhance muscles, cells and bone, a senior inventor has forecast.
John McNamara, who works at IBM Hursley Innovation Centre in Hampshire, UK, submitted evidence to the House of Lords artificial intelligence committee, which is considering the economic, ethical and social implications of artificial intelligence.
He said within two decades, technology may have advanced to such a level that humans and machines are effectively "melded" together, allowing for huge leaps forward in human consciousness and cognition.
"We may see nano-machines being injected into our bodies," he said. "These will provide huge medical benefits, such as being able to repair damage to cells, muscles and bones - perhaps even augment them.
"Beyond this, utilising technology which is already being explored today, we see the creation of technology that can meld the biological with the technological and so be able to enhance human cognitive capability directly. as well as being able to utilise vast quantities of computing power to augment our own thought processes."
Scientists at companies like Microsoft are already developing a computer made from DNA which could live inside cells and look for faults in bodily networks, such as cancer.
If it spotted cancerous growths it would reboot the system and clear out diseased cells.
McNamara predicted "political avatars", which will scour all available data from news sites and government debates to provide people with a recommendation on who
to vote for and why, based on their
However, he warned the rise of artificial intelligence could bring "huge disruption" to the retail and service sectors and spark widespread unemployment.
In his submission Noel Sharkey, emeritus professor of AI and Robotics at the University of Sheffield, said artificial intelligence comes with a cost.
"The immediate concern is that by ceding decisions or control to machines, the humans start accepting their decisions as correct or better than their own and stop paying attention," he said.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: "I want the UK to lead the way in artificial intelligence.