When Computers Meld With Our Minds

Is your overflowing e-mail in-box a herald of the next stage in human evolution? Those e-mails represent just a small sample of the vast amount of digital information being generated by the gigabyte every minute. If we can cope with this rising flood of information, we are likely to be on track for using technology in the creation of superhuman intelligence, according to Vernor Vinge, futurist, best-selling science fiction author, and retired professor of computer science. Machines will become far more than just tools; they will physically merge with us, seamlessly endowing powers that are currently beyond our imagination. And all of this will happen in our lifetime, Vinge says.

DISCOVER asked Vinge about the consequences of living in a networked world that generates and distributes more and more data every day and how to cope with information overload.


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