How The Machines Will Beat Humanity
Since H.G. Wells introduced tripod alien machines trampling humanity in his book The War of the Worlds, we’ve been fascinated and terrified of being taken over by superior technology. Whether it be alien or robots that we’ve created, we’ve created synopsis’ of fiction that shows a technological force making us bend to their will.
When The Terminator came out in 1984 — a fitting year — it really made scientists and scholars wonder if this sort of thing was possible. Machines gaining the ever increasing intelligence given to them by their masters to rise up and no longer take the orders from those that created them.
Alan Turing came up with Turing Test, which was basically a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. The moment a machine successfully passes this test 100% is a moment that will be a major moment in history. What will be bigger is everything that happens from that point on.
I have an alternate theory on how all of this will play out, and it started to formulate during the Northeast blackout of 2003. During this time, we all were becoming reliant on the Internet, our phones, and technology as a whole. The fear of Y2K had passed and people were once again free to not care about the dangers of technology. I had since graduated from High School and was free to make idiotic decisions with my future.
On August 13th, 2003, I was on searching the Internet on my desktop computer when everything shuts off. EVERYTHING. Cell service was gone, power was gone across the Northeast, traffic was at a standstill, stores couldn’t take credit or debit, food was going bad, it was very hot out, and everyone went back to using the radio as their main source of news. It was almost as if an Electromagnetic Pulse wiped everything out. What came from that was that people stopped looking at their phone and their TV’s and started talking to each other. I had people over when it all happened, so the night of the blackout we had a huge barbecue. I live in Metro-Detroit, and seeing the Milky Way in the sky at night is something that I couldn’t imagine, but it happened. The power came back on and everyone jumped back into their machines like a drug-addict relapsing. Fast forward 12 years and it’s only getting worse.
Machines will take over humanity by our dependence upon them to do our daily tasks. Think about how we use it now: Money is too hard to use, so we use a card. Credit cards are too difficult to take out of our wallets, so we just take out our phones to wave over the payment sensor. Everything is created to be more convenient. The most amazing technology is used for the most miniscule things. How long until Wall-E isn’t just a cute fictional cartoon, but a future that is really not too far away, if it’s not already happening?
A smartphone has more computing power than the computer system that was in Apollo 11. Apollo 11 took us to the Moon, but your smartphone is taking you out of reality. You can’t sit at a table with friends without at least one moment during a 10 minute period where everyone stops and looks at their phones. It’s impossible. Even laying in bed with a significant other results in looking at your smartphone. Intimacy turns to spooning your girlfriend whilst playing Words With Friends.
Starring Charlene deGuzman, this short video is both a hilarious and tragic example of technology taking over our daily lives:
It won’t be cyborgs with laser guns that ultimately win a battle, the battle is happening right now and no one is paying attention. It sounds hypocritical since I’m writing this on a laptop, but I don’t have my phone near me. I’ve managed to never really get obsessed with smartphones as many have. E-mail/text/phone is all I really use it for with the exception of solitaire and a few games for when I have to wait in an airport. Even the phone part of the smartphone is dated. No one really calls each other anymore. If someone does call, there is usually a quip like, “Why didn’t you just text me?”
Machines will take over humanity, not by force, but by our dependence upon them to do our daily tasks.
Texting, in a way, has led to the further destruction of social interaction. When you talk to someone in-person or on the phone, you can’t pause time and think of something to say as a response like you can with texting. The ability to have minutes or hours to think of a response is something that can’t happen when you’re talking to someone in real-life. It doesn’t show who you really are. It just gives you time to think of something clever to have someone perceive who you really are.
Technology will further degrade us into being slaves to it. Sure, technology has so many good uses, but think about if it all shut down in an instant? The internet drops out and we’re all in the dark. Everyone is so accustomed to the gadgets and the technology that we rarely imagine what would happen if it all failed. That will be when we realize that we rely on technology more than it relies on us. That is when we’ll know that we’ve lost.
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post, UPROXX, BGR and by just looking up his name.