Over at The Digital Sanctuary: Internet Evolution Cynthia points to the new Pew/Internet report Imagining the Internet which surveyed the opinions of various stakeholders in the Internet. Related to my previous posting is their assertion that a substantial number of them are concerned about the role of autonomous technology in shaping future societies.
Of course, one of the best known examples of this technological unease is Bill Joy’s article Wired 8.04: Why the future doesn’t need us, which sparked off a range of responses.
Another well-known but optimistic view is that of Ray Kurzweil. See, for example, Reinventing Humanity: The Future of Machine-Human Intelligence. (PDF)
Joel Garreau’s book gives a good introduction to three of the various scenarios posed by the development of nano, biological, information and cognitive technologies (NBIC). He describes these as “Hell”, “Heaven”, and “Prevail”. Your local library should have a copy of the book. See “Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies — and What It Means to Be Human” (Joel Garreau).