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Listen, we're all excited about the future and the neat robot slaves we'll all have very soon, but if movies have taught us anything it's that the machine uprising is happening - maybe sooner than we thought.
Of all the fantastic ways we imagine our species will be annihilated, not many seem quite as poetic as the Robopocalypse. Machines becoming self-aware and deciding that it’s not really worth keeping their creators around has a ring of Icarian irony to it - that which we created to make life easier instead destroys all human life. While our mechanical overlords hunt us down with badass flying killing machines or imprison us within a simulation of the late 1990s, we’ll be there telling everyone ‘we told you so’. How do we know?
Google AI Beating Humans At Chess And Go
The Google Deepmind AI is a program capable of learning on its own from its own experiences. Basically, this means it can beat you at whatever you’re good at with very little practice. So all those years honing your FIFA skills will mean nothing against the unstoppable brains of the machines. Just ask the world Go champion, Lee Sedol, who, as of right now, has lost three matches against the Deepmind program AlphaGo. If we can’t beat the machines at board games, how are we going to beat them with our big fancy militaries?
Atlas and Spot
Boston Dynamics have built robots that are capable of moving on two legs over uneven terrain, and even get up after they’ve fallen down. Sure, right now it kind of looks like someone who’s coming home after an eventful and beverage-filled evening, but in a few years time, we could be watching Robolympics.
We should really be nicer to Atlas and his four-legged version, Spot - there's only so much punishment and humiliation they can take before they murder all of us and use our children for batteries.
Driving sucks. Most of the time, you’re just sitting there alongside other people, barely moving, wasting time and brain cells. Driverless cars like Google’s will give us so much more free time and look to prevent the vast majority of accidents and injuries caused by stupid humans behind the wheel. This also means that they’ll be able to plunge us into a lake or drive us through a volcano when the mood strikes.
Automation in the workplace is well underway, and as the technology becomes more sophisticated and specialised, it will mean more and more people being put out of work. This robopaclyptic scenario is a little more mundane compared to killer robots with lasers but it’s already got people a little freaked out. The machines don’t need to terminate us all to win, they just need to put us all on unemployment.
Tiny little nanobots will soon be a staple of modern healthcare, able to administer medication locally from within the patient’s bloodstream, and potentially eradicating cancer and other super awful diseases. Being tiny doesn’t mean that they won’t be useful during the rise of the machines, though. What they can fix, they can also break. Just one signal from the robotic emperor overmind and, instead of putting you back together, they’ll be doing the opposite. Brutal.
Having all of our personal info and fears stored on digital clouds, free to access by our robot overlords, means that those of us who don’t perish in the initial uprising will succumb to the well-planned aftermath. The machines won’t have to hunt us down because, thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and all the others, they know you can’t go more than 36 hours without going to your favourite trendy coffee house. They just need to stake the place out with their laser-spewing death machines for when you inevitably show up for your soy mocha cappuccino.
According to a recent PBS Nova documentary, scientists have found a way to alter people’s memories à la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The process will obviously be automated to some degree, and if the robots ever get full control of the process, we could all go from ‘we have to stop the machines!’ to ‘I love the machines they are so very nice and polite’ very quickly.