Machines in one form or another have been slowly taking over the world for centuries. Has the average Joe on the street taken notice, possibly, but not bloody likely.
As we all know from the Terminator movies SkyNet was a military computer whose intelligence surpassed that of humans, became sentient, and killed it's creators.
Computers have been and currently are taking over our thinking for us, a la The Matrix.
A couple of simple examples: 1) An easy one - Spell Check. When was the last time you had to recall how to spell a word whilst composing on our computer? What you don't because your computer does it for you? Why? Because you'd have to expend extra brain power.
2) A more complicated one - Our cars. They can now brake for us, steer for us to avoid collisions, and tell authorities our location, among other things. Need I go on?
"Sure." you say, 'Right... machines taking over the world. I think you need to wear this comfy white I Love Me jacket now.' 'Here take these nice candies Stelazine and Haldol, that's a good boy.' My wife would just say, "Too much Sci-Fi (Syfy) Channel for you."
ADDEDNUM 05 Oct., 2012
If you think I'm crazy then Anthony Zuiker (of C.S.I. fame) and I are in the same boat! Please view his Cybergeddon webseries: http://cybergeddon.yahoo.com/#home Then tell me I am insane!
If he can think it up, then surely the possibility exists, however improbable, that it could be done!
Let me say this, I think progress is a good thing and I do like computers. I am using one right now aren't I? They are a great tool, but I do believe we are beginning to rely on them way too much.
Sooner or later someone will create a program as the esteemable Mr. Zuiker posits, then we will all be in a world of hurt!
It is not bad enough that we will create a computer system that will take over our thinking for us, then far too late to do anything about it, we will be dependent on the Master Computer for all of our activites of daily living.
Our cars are so computerized, with GPS and other tech that your average Joe cannot work on it anymore out of his garage. Why OnStar? So the Gov't can track us anytime anywhere!
What, don't own a new car with all the toys? Bet you have a cell phone, which comes standard with GPS tracking built right in!
They'll soon be giving us a bath, cook food that is nutrionally superior to what we would prepare, care for our children and our aged loved ones (already beginning in Japan), drive us to and from work, stores, or other places, monitor our daily lives to keep us from 'harm' (happening here in the U.S.A. as we speak with surveillance cameras and facial recognition software), and so much more!
Let's start simple. How many of you are familiar with robot vacuums, robot lawn mowers, or have a robot pet (like RoboSapien, or Aibo) or have seen Sony's Asimo or heard about the robotic nurses, like RIBA, in use Japan. They are weaving their way into our society.
As I am sure most people are aware, in 1997 IBM's Deep Blue trounced then reigning Chess Champion Gary Kasparov. No big deal you say, Deep Blue was programmed with only the Chess rules and regulations and massive amounts of computing brain power, just a 'one off' machine.
Humans on the other hand are multi-tasking all purpose machines if you will, we operate on a wider range in other words. For most of us board games are not one of the operant tasks.
For the most part, as of right now anyway, machine intelligence is in no way equal to our own. When their IQ and acuity begin to rival our own, will they respect us as their Creators? Or will they, like we have done to our Creator, say, 'Get out of the way we don't need you anymore.'
Will they try to conquer us, take over the running operations of the world as we know it, and enslave us? YES they will and they are!
Hmmm... should sound vaguely familiar.
Although, once again I know you'll want to disconnect my access to the Internet, television and radio then find the nearest communication device ( all run by machines/computers) and contact the local 'funny farm' on behalf of my best interests.
Can we stop this from progressing farther and prevent Skynet like dominance in the future?
Yes. It is possible that we can.
It will revolve around two things: A) Intelligence and B) Control. Our supremacy on Earth is owed mostly to our vastly superior intelligence. If machine intelligence starts to align with ours, then it's time to start feeling anxious.
Although, as long as we still maintain command and authority (read as Control) we can still pull the plug so to speak.
"Sure," you say, "we can always turn the blasted thing off when it starts to get uppity." Don't be so confident! Let's just see an example of when we cannot turn the beast off.
Well, as the saying goes, you asked for it.
The Internet. There you go.
We as a planet are so dependent on the 'Net we can't shut it down. Not with just a flick of the switch. Now think back 20 years ago, did we need the 'Net to find an address, look up a phone number, talk with our friends (heaven forbid now if we do it face to face or voice to voice), watch a movie, read a book or any of a number of other things? No! To quote the Yellow Pages, we "Let our fingers do the walking."
Only now our fingers walk all over a keyboard, our eyes are glued to a monitor and our ears to a cell phone. Our versions of the prisoners leg irons and handcuffs.
The 'Net is so huge that even if tomorrow we wanted to shut it off, we couldn't because it cannot be an instantaneous disconnect and not possible within a short amount of time.
Not to mention we would all be like unfortunate drug addicts. 'I need a fix man, you got any Broadband on ya, I just need to check Facebook, that's all just a little Facebook man! Aww... come on. Can't you give me this one for free, I'm hurtin' here." Sound like anyone you know?
So we are NOT truly in control of what is going on in our home, vehicles, work, hospitals, military, towns, cities, states, or countries.
Machines/Computers have been our first line of defense for the United States and the major Superpowers for decades. What? No Way! Oh yes, just think about it SkyNet was developed for use by the military, in the movie, as a 'Global Digital Defense Network.'
Lest I forget, SkyNet, an actual version, are an actual family of Military Satellites began by the United Kingdom in 1969. It is currently on it's fifth generation. The 6th generation is slated for launch in 2013.
The current Russian regime also inherited from the former USSR a computer called, Dead Hand, which in the event that the Russian leadership was destroyed, could by itself, automatically trigger the launch of the Russian ICBM's if a nuclear strike is detected by seismic, light, radioactivity and overpressure sensors which of course are all monitored and verified by the computer without human interference.
Thinking machines taking over the world and killing people. "Right," you say, "I don't have to drive you crazy, you're within walking distance!"
Ok then. Let me give you two more simple examples.
1) Cruise missiles with onboard computers are already autonomous to some degree, making their own guidance decisions.
2) UAV's - Our military has been using UAV's for a few years now. UAV's? Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. You know them as Predators, such an appropriate name don't you think, reminds me of... oh maybe a Terminator? Which is what a Predator and/or Reaper does, is it not? Terminates its designated target.
As of 2010 the U.S.A.F. had over 300 robot fighter drones operating, and has killed an unknown amount of people using them.
Very recently these UAV's have been authorized to be used in the U.S. for civilian and law enforcement use. See the following link: http://news.yahoo.com/drones-large-small-coming-us-010537668.html
These pilotless aircraft, which at this time are remote controlled by ground crew, come in a variety of sizes. Some are as big as a small aircraft, others the size of a backpack. The tiniest are small enough to fly through a house window.
Guess what the UAV's can do?... the UAV's can listen and see right into our living room or car and gather any 'necessary information', and to kill those deemed a threat using onboard weapon systems such as missiles and guns. Which with minor changes to the caliber of the weapon could be blamed on a... oh, I don't know, a drive by shooting to take out what They consider a dissident without Them being blamed for it.
Chilling thought isn't it?
You can't even go to the store to buy groceries if there is a power outage, because all the computers are down and the cashiers don't know the prices of items in their store nor can they use a receipt book, or even their brains for that matter.
I won't even start on the computer's or the Internet's effect on World Governments, Banking, or Medicine and what would happen to these along with the world's economy and the people at large if a shutdown occurred.
Children and most workers today cannot do math in their heads. Why? Due to the fact that calculators (computers) are used in the classroom and can be used during tests in place of living brains.
Hmmm... Our children may well be the first generation of Cyber Zombies. Food for thought for another post, or maybe Zombie Cyborgs.
If we did shutdown the 'Net many businesses worldwide would come to a halt, with the possible exception of Mom and Pop type stores.
Our utilities are controlled via computer and Internet so we'd either roast or freeze to death in our homes, and our food supplies would rot. Gas pumps are controlled via computer, so no one could fly, drive or even fuel up a generator for electricity.
Although we'd be healthier as a nation as we'd have to pedal or walk everywhere and grow our own food.
No communication with other places would be possible. As the satellites communicate via computer with the 'Net.
We couldn't even watch TV or listen to the radio as almost all signals are digital now. There may be a few low wattage analog radio and tv staions left, but that's it.
Come to think of it maybe nuclear weapons and EMP blasts could be a thing of the past. Just shut down a developed country's access to the Internet down and you have effectively crippled it without firing a shot.
Use your own brain and give it some thought!
Remember *Writing is the socially acceptable form of Schizophrenia*
Two of my favorite sayings in closing:
1) If we fail to anticipate the unforeseen or expect the unexpected in a universe of infinite possibilities, we may find ourselves at the mercy of anyone or anything that cannot be programmed, categorized or easily referenced.
2) "It is the duty of those who CAN see what is going on to expose to those who cannot see, the situation that they are unaware of!"