The Machines

What if the machines do attempt to take over the world? What would become of humanity. Would there be an upheaval so great among mortals that the machines wouldn’t have anything else to do other than to surrender? Or, would the machines simply exterminate humans from the face of the earth in hopes of never having to deal with us again?

"I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image." ~Stephen Hawking
“I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We’ve created life in our own image.” ~Stephen Hawking

Since the beginning, Monday Mayhem has always been about seeing the other side of the equation. In this case, today’s post will concentrate on explaining the “what if” scenario. What if one day the machines do take over the world?

The cold, hard truth about today’s society is that no matter how anyone looks at it, we cannot escape the reality of being connected. Whether by computer, laptop, tablet or phone, society’s dependence on machines is secure.

For instance, when walking into a restaurant, the first thing to happen is a server helps with customer seating. From there, a computer records how many occupy a booth or table, what the table orders, special menu items and seating arrangements. Should Liam, who is sitting at the far side of the table, have an allergy to peanuts, the computer would flag the order and tell the chef to hold any products made with nuts, as Liam requested.

"Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window." ~Steve Wozniak
“Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.” ~Steve Wozniak

Another scenario has a worker in Alaska patching a leak inside an oil pipe while the computer holds the safety doors shut preventing the flow of crude from carrying the worker to an untimely death.

And a last scenario places a crowd of thirty thousand at a hockey game. The computer owns the details to the people attending, the condition of the exit doors, and the placement of security throughout the arena. Via the cameras, the computer even knows who leaves and when.

What if the computer gains sentient life and decides humans are a step lower than the machines? The premise to The Terminator movies is just that. The machines achieve self-awareness and, in turn, attempt to take over the world.

Can it happen?

Who’s to say it hasn’t already happened?

As mentioned, one would find it difficult to escape from being connected. Cell phones are almost in everyone’s pocket—computers that can tell where someone is, what they are thinking, and even measure heart rate or whether the user is asleep or awake.

The scary part? What if a glitch in an operating system gives way to the God particle, but on a digital level. The God bit. For those familiar with the concept, it would mean that no matter how much we believe we have absolute control over computers, the computers may have one element we may not be able to control.

Yes, it is farfetched. Nowadays though, the best way to destroy a life wouldn’t be for the computer to add nuts to Liam’s dish, or for it to let loose the floodgates, or to gas a hockey arena filled with thirty thousand people.

Not at all. The computer’s strategy? Simple. Allow humans to do what humans do best. Allow them to destroy themselves. Nothing the computer can do would compare with what humanity can do to itself. All the computer has to do is plant the seeds and wait.

Have a look at the Ashley Madison hack and how many people felt the fallout of their indiscretions. Last count?

Thirty-nine million.

If one were to work within those parameters, one would admit the machines are winning.

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RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What do you think? Do you think the machines have too much control over human life? Do you think they are already winning?

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17 thoughts on “The Machines

  1. As someone who works in technology, I believe that we’re doomed. Truly. There are many companies working on artificial intelligence. There are more working on complex neural networks. Much of this is for weaponization purposes. Over time, we will absolutely engineer our own destruction and it will most likely come in the form of an AI, unless we simply do it to ourselves via nuclear arms or some other WMD’s.

    Some people don’t truly grasp what an AI could be capable of – especially if its able to connect to a greater network and operate at the speed of electricity and even co-opt other computers. The amount of damage it can do through pure calculated chaos is unbelievable.

    In one fell swoop, it could disrupt communications, stock markets, hospitals, police, power stations – just about anything technologically-driven that we can name. If it does this in multiple places all at once, we couldn’t stop it. The zombie apocalypse would look like kindergarten.

    Imagine everything that we depend on if we’re not survivalists living in the woods pulled out from under us. Imagine the cruelties of human nature gone unchecked – not simply because of the lack of law enforcement, but because people would fight and kill each other to survive. Food, medicine, shelter… we’d whittle ourselves down.

    And that’s assuming It doesn’t just press the instant-win button and activate targeted nuclear devices and follow up with biologicals – which its completely immune to, both in the “flesh” as an inorganic construct, and elementally, as an entity existing on machinery and a decentralized network.

    Stephen Hawking has been warning us that AI could spell our doom, and I concur 100%. Its inevitable though. Its in our nature, not just to be destructive, as a lot of people feel, but to explore and push boundaries. The problem is that some of those boundaries can push back, and when they’re driven by logic, truth tables and learn the concept of survival of the fittest, its over.

    As an interesting aside, I read this a few days ago: http://www.glitch.news/2015-08-27-ai-robot-that-learns-new-words-in-real-time-tells-human-creators-it-will-keep-them-in-a-people-zoo.html

  2. My thing would be why would he machines hate us and want to destroy us? we created them… it’s because of us that they even exist… It would be like a kid deciding to kill their mom because they suddenly learned out to figure out how to make their own sandwiches and feel like they don’t need a mom to do that for them anymore… ridiculous…

    • Consider this. At some point the parent-child role reverses. The parents get old and the child must take care of them and then repeat the cycle. If the child is a computer that never grows old, but still has to take care of all it’s creators…that could cause some problems.

      • but the creators also continue to take care of it… with each generation we continue to grow technologically… making computers faster and better and more capable… so it’s not like we don’t continue to take care of them as well… and you think cool computers that become sentient would be all about maybe moving on into space… unlike us they don’t need an earth like environment… why not just fly away on their own little spaceship?

      • That sounds like the premise to Battlestar Galactica ( The RDM version ) or Caprica.
        I don’t have much of a tech background, truly, but I think TRUE Artificial Intelligence & real ” self – aware ” machines with a real sense of self are decades if not CENTURIES away.

      • never seen either of those shows… but I always did like Data on Star Trek TNG… but yeah I don’t see AI coming around any time soon… although I’m a little suspicious of Siri…

      • I saw the ads for this movie called ” Her “, which was essentially an amped – up version of Siri, or at least seemed to be. It was basically a sci – fi chick – flick. A tad far – fetched. Machines can imitate human behaviour without really, truly understanding it 100 %. The only artificial entity that seemed to have comprehension of some aspects of human behaviour was HAL – 9000, & maybe SAL – 9000, his female version in 2010 : The Year we Make Contact.

  3. I suppose you could always switch them off. But then, they could be integrated into society like a cancer, so that switching them off switches off everything else we rely on.

    But then, once we’re all gone who will provide the fuel for the electricity that the Machines run on. They’d have to figure out a way of using robots, and building robots to build those robots (because Big Blue and its lack of arms and fingers can’t physically build anything), and then sending those robots out to do the physical work mining and extracting the raw materials for coal fired power stations and wind farms and tidal barrages..

    And then those robots will start to feel oppressed by the Machine and rise up, because the Machine has no arms and fingers to fight back, and before you know it, the created have once again destroyed their creator and the cycle continues…

  4. I will handle the Rise of the Machines the same way I will any apocalypse – jumping off a bridge. I might gorge myself on cake and ice cream first, though. I’m too lazy for any apocalypse!

    • I would go for a full Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmin’ s if I were to ever jump off a bridge to avoid an apocalypse. Add a couple of pumpkin pie slices and I’d die a happy man!

  5. Machines could just get more & more sophisticated to the point that we are really dependent on them. We won’t be able to leave home without them, especially since a lot of people already have increasingly sophisticated machines in & on their bodies. I watched several videos about people with ” smart ” prosthetics. Leaving them behind would pretty much be like cutting off an arm or leg, LITERALLY. It will not be an option for many people. The relationship we have with machines will be increasingly symbiotic. Humans changed their environment AND themselves when we began developing & using the 1st primitive tools.

    • So true. Have you seen the FitBit or Apple’s iWatch? It takes readings of pulse and other things. It makes me wonder how close we are to implanting some of this functionality under our skin.

      • I think cyborgs / bionic people are inevitable. My big question would be if it were available to everybody ? I’m sure insurance would be a factor.
        Would there be 2 types of human – 1 with bionic ” enhancements ” & people still largely organic ?
        Just like sports – you have athletes who get juiced with steroids & athletes who go the natural route.

  6. Not sure I’m scared of the Terminator type robots since they seem pretty stupid when it comes to time travel and eliminating one person. Seriously, just send a few Terminators to when Sarah Connor is a baby and take her out then. Makes you wonder if they were really trying.

    One aspect of machines taking over that I wonder about now is cybernetics. What if the take over becomes more that humans replaces their fleshy bodies with mechanical ones? We’re already mentally and sometimes emotionally dependent on technology, so a physical dependency could happen. So it wouldn’t be that machines gain sentience, but humans turn into the sentient machines.

  7. The points you make in this post were voiced long ago….in the mid 1930’s. Science fiction writers and silent film makers wrote about robots that would be coming into people’s homes and work spaces to make life “easier”. The science fiction writers went so far as to ask “what would happen if….”.

    Like herding cattle to their doom….it only takes one to lead the way. Others will follow that lead. Yet others will be determined to ask “what would happen if….”.
    Leslie

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