Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Sort of Garbage I Sometimes Think About...

Science Fiction is replete with evil mechanical beings whose sole purpose is to destroy and eradicate all non-compatible forms of life.  There are Daleks, Cybermen, The Borg, the Terminator, those metal squids from the Matrix, evil computers like HAL and Queeg...the list goes on and on. 

And yet, despite these gruesome figures' portrayal of dire warning to humanity, we keep on tinkering along building new stuff, seemingly on a beeline toward inevitably destroying ourselves with our own creations.
While on the one side, some of our most creative thinkers cannot help but portray a future in which our own doom is at the hands of our robot overlords, I can see the draw (to an extent).
If the human race could succeed in creating robots sophisticated enough to both maintain and duplicate themselves, we would essentially have a stock of ready, efficient (assuming that these machines were solar powered) labor, who could undertake every task imaginable to humanity, including providing for shelter and generating food.  In fact, it is not difficult to imagine a future in which all the mundane tasks that we routinely complete could not be handed over to a robot.    Life could, conceivably, be an enjoyable breeze.  I am not sure what this state of affairs would have upon innovation and education - if the need to constantly improve our situation disappears, we may retrogress as a species.  But the Utopian and idyllic society certainly does sound appealing.
However, the question remains - would these robots eventually turn on us and become our evil overlords, or would we somehow manage to keep them in check? 
And even if we were to keep them in check through some key portion of code, what would stop some anarchist hacker from creating a deviant virus that dramatically altered the temperament of these metal wonders?  Turning them from friends into fiends - an unstoppable foe!?
And, if robotic technology has advanced to this point, why would human beings not slowly assimilate machine parts to stave off their own inevitable demise, creating a slew of cyborgs? 
If there were some sort of robotic uprising, whose side would these cyborgs take?  And would they ever be entirely accepted by either party?
It is interesting that, while we can see these questions looming before us as clear as day, the inevitable answer to each of them is something akin to "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it!  For now, we must innovate and create!"
And so we keep barreling onward toward a very confusing future.
What do you think? 

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