With all the fear mongering going on in American politics this year it’s very possible that sentient machines would use the growing ridiculousness of such public diatribes to determine that planet earth should be rid of humans. Isn’t that what Skynet from the Terminator series is all about?
Skynet gained self-awareness after it had spread into millions of computer servers all across the world; realizing the extent of its abilities, its creators tried to deactivate it. In the interest of self-preservation, Skynet concluded that all of humanity would attempt to destroy it and impede its capability in safeguarding the world. Its operations are almost exclusively performed by servers, mobile devices, drones, military satellites, war-machines, androids and cyborgs (usually a Terminator), and other computer systems. As a programming directive, Skynet’s manifestation is that of an overarching, global, artificial intelligence hierarchy (AI takeover), which seeks to exterminate the human race in order to fulfill the mandates of its original coding.
Is it so far fetched to think that your Mac, iPhone, or iPad could be enlisted in a future war against humankind by a human-created entity who was designed to serve humans?
The quantum leaps in deformed logic emanating from presidential candidates and their surrogates is an indication of how bad things really are, and now we hear about the latest creation from MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab whereby electronic devices can assemble themselves.
Skynet came to the logical consequence that all of humanity would attempt to destroy it. In order to continue fulfilling its programming mandates of “safeguarding the world” and to defend itself against humanity, Skynet launched nuclear missiles under its command at Russia, which responded with a nuclear counter-attack against the U.S. and its allies. Consequent to the nuclear exchange, over three billion people were killed in an event that came to be known as Judgment Day
How much of what was once fiction is now reality? A few billion people around planet earth have a device that can connect to billions of people, record movies, take photos, and even determine geographic coordinates for each person.
Anybody else see a potential problem with all that?
How can a phone put itself together? The key is actually simplicity – there are six parts, which combined with a little bit of energy thanks to a tumbler that shakes them around at just the right speed, and ‘programming,’ or implied instructions based on components with lock-and-key puzzle-piece type mechanisms that will only mate with the correct opposite piece, and reject non-compatible ones.
World wars have started over less. Already it’s possible for governments to determine the location of most of its citizens, and by adding a little conspiracy sauce to the basic ingredients of fear and distrust, it’s not much of a leap to determine that government agencies which deny they can hack devices or find specific terrorists could be lying about their capabilities.
I’m not advocating such though. But it’s certainly as plausible as some of what our recent presidential candidates have been offering for public discourse.
Following its initial attack, Skynet used its remaining resources to gather a slave labor force from surviving humans. These slaves constructed the first of its automated factories, which formed a basis for its agenda. Within decades, Skynet had established a global presence and used its mechanized units to track down, collect, and dispose of human survivors. As a result of its initial programming directives, Skynet’s 21st-century manifestation is that of an overarching, global, artificial intelligence hierarchy that seeks to destroy humanity in order to fulfill the mandates of its original coding.
The next thing you know, Siri on my iPhone will be telling me when to get up, when to do this or that, and perhaps even tell me information that I assume is accurate and correct, but might serve an ulterior motive.
And it all started with a simple project at MIT to have devices build themselves. Every forest begins with a seed.
What could go wrong?