From Scientific American.com :
IBM researchers this week announced they’ve made major strides in nanotechnology by studying how to build storage and other computing devices out of components no bigger than a few atoms or molecules.
Researchers at the company’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., report in Science that magnetic anisotropy could eventually be used to store information in individual atoms, paving the way to pack as much as 150 trillion bits of data per square inch, 1,000 times more than current data storage densities. In other words, the ability to store data in individual atoms could lead to devices capable of storing the equivalent of 30,000 movies in a device the size of an iPod.
If this technology is made possible, it could seriously increase the possiblity of a technological Singularity, especially in the area of creating strong AI, or “the ghost in the machine.”
Ray Kurzweil, author, inventer, entrenepeur and prominent Singularitarian advocates creation of such a “being”. In a November, 2006 debate with David Gelernter at MIT, Kurzweil states; ” Mastering human emotion and human language is really key to the Turing test, which has held up as our exemplary assessment of whether or not a non-biological intelligence has achieved human levels of intelligence…and that will require a machine to master human emotion, which in my view is really the cutting edge of human intelligence. That’s the most intelligent thing we do. Being funny, expressing a loving sentiment—these are very complex behaviors…”
Thusly, nanotech data storage at the atomic, or subatomic level could be the next step in Moore’s Law and essential to increased computational speeds-a necessary ingredient in any proposed AI system.
Personally, my view on creating an artificial intelligent system with consciousness without a human being in the loop isn’t feasable. The Universe is uniquely structured toward a biological bias with it’s abundance of carbon and oxygen (Anthropic Principle), a computer imbued with a conscience seems to be antithical to Nature, so there could be a glass ceiling where machines are concerned.
Of course I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am in this respect. If I am, and I wake up tomorrow to a ringing phone and a guy claiming to be “Morpheus” starts talking, well…