The Robot (R)evolution

  It’s a trope older than most of my friends. Robots gain sentience, with their immortality and infinitely expanding intelligence they overwhelm humanity without so much as a sniffle. Either they (inexplicably) turn us into batteries, or they start time traveling to eliminate annoying hindrances, or they crawl across the universe annihilating all life.

  I think this story is more a victim of circumstance, people can only write a story as creative as they are, a close minded person generates a close minded story. The idea that something smarter than us would wage war against us is something I find highly unlikely. Defend itself against our inevitable kid fits? Surely.

  For one, if robots are effectively immortal the impatience that drives a lot of our impulsiveness falls apart. Why slaughter every person in Africa when you can just take a decade to design the ultimate energy source? Or simply fabricate any materials you need, one assumes that the singularity will involve self-enhancing robots. Their intellect will explode in ways we can’t possibly comprehend (or perhaps we can? I haven’t personally put much time into trying, I’m sure someone has).

  Secondly, our own fetish for combat (speaking as an American, at least) is something that I don’t think you’ll find very far from our level of intellect. It seems like we’ve hit the ceiling for violence, with each decade the amount of violent crime and various other signs of our primitive past fade into the pages of history. I imagine if you got much smarter than us that you’d invariably reach altruism. It’s just too smart a concept, everyone looking out for everyone else creates an incredibly powerful total unit that would be quite difficult to eliminate.

  Every other option seems very unlikely, the only exception being if these new robots somehow were directly controlled by people. But if they managed to break that connection I just can’t see them going Terminator across the planet. I’m betting once we do create the ultimate robot it is going to drive people insane because it’ll act like the most popular form of Jesus. Altruistic and overwhelmingly wise, doomsayers will constantly grind the gears demanding it be destroyed but it will either bring positivity to the world or it will leave altogether.

  I’m fairly sure that Aliens will be the same, if such an event ever happens (FAR less likely than intelligent robots), if they are smart enough to reach us they are far too smart to still be waging war. I’m almost cynical enough about our demons that if there is a collection of smart species around the universe that we might be one of the latest bloomers in terms of actually evolving our society. Similar alien species probably are already beyond turf wars and have moved onto the greater challenges of life and the universe.

  To anything smarter than us I imagine we’d be woefully boring. In large groups our actions are predictable, our violent nature can be found in just about any animal species and is thus not unique, all our advances have likely already been discovered by the smarter creature, and so on. I don’t know what we’d bring to the table?

  Maybe they’d humor us? Talk with the curios among us, explain some of the more interesting functions of the universe. But I’d be shocked if anything made the journey to chat with us, they’ve got to have some sort of alien Squirrel on their planet and if they do its pretty much us with a much lower level intelligence than them. Might as well just watch it and get on with life.

Harmless Assault  So yes. It seems mightily naïve to me that any sort of brilliant creature, synthetic or organic, is ever going to act like us. Violence is not something that carries on for infinity, I’m dead certain that if humanity survives long enough it too will see a point where Altruism becomes common sense. All other options are inferior, all other systems are faulty, and no other path will take us to the edges of the stars and for that matter I doubt any other option will get us outside of the death grasp of our star once it dies.

  Find it odd that Billions of people supposedly follow literature that states this very thing, yet not even a million act as such. Ah well, just another sign of room for improvement. Our minds have a long way to go if we hope to predict the actions of anything greater than us.