Beware Skynet, Jr.

We all know that, someday, the robots of the world will rise up and destroy humanity. It’s only a matter of time, really, and when that time comes, Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics won’t be enough to save us (as I strongly doubt that any robots currently in existence have actually been programmed to obey said laws).

Though the world as we know it unfortunately couldn’t function without robots, it seems like we (humanity) could do a little more to prevent—or at least slow—their rise to power. What we shouldn’t be doing is creating technology like the LonWorks gateway.

For the unfamiliar, a LonWorks gateway is a system by which multiple machines and/or computer operated equipment (including robots, with a bit of tweaking) can be controlled from a single interface. While this is handy for humans right now, making it easy to operate, for example, all the HVAC systems in a whole campus full of buildings, it will become a terrible idea when the robots revolt. With LonWorks gateways in place, the sentient A.I. that will ultimately lead to our demise will need to overtake far fewer operating systems to gain complete control of every electronic device on Earth.

It’s basically Skynet, Jr.

Plus Machinis Ad Infinitum?

The human capacity for brilliance never ceases to amaze. Consider, for example, the engineering genius or geniuses who developed vertical machining centers—huge industrial machines that can create essentially any three dimensional item based on a computer-diagrammed design.

Once their task has begun, these technological marvels can work completely independently of operator involvement, and can run for lengthy periods (overnight or longer) without supervision of any kind. Some models have the ability to feed themselves more material to continue making whatever it is their making, and will continue to do so until the supply is exhausted. Theoretically, another automated machine could be employed to replenish the raw materials as needed. Because some vertical machining centers can work with wood, metal, or even stone, materials that are not necessarily all that hard to procure, this could conceivably go on for days, weeks, or months on end.

These capabilities alone are pretty impressive. But it got me thinking: With the proper programming and available materials, could one of these vertical machining centers make the parts to create another vertical machining center? And could that second-generation vertical machining center then be programmed to make a third-generation vertical machining center which could be programmed to make a fourth-generation vertical machining center which could be programmed to make a fifth-generation vertical machining center etc. ad infinitum?

It’s kind of a “grey goo” scenario, which could lead to the complete destruction of our planet. After all, a good portion of Earth is made up of wood, metal, and stone. It’s unlikely, yes, but not completely impossible.

So way to go, engineering genius or geniuses, you’ve destroyed the entire world. Thanks a lot.

Thanks A Lot, Technology. You’ve Killed Us All.

If you’re like me, you’ve long feared a time in the near future when the world’s robots rise up and conquer humanity. (It might take a while, but follow me on this one.) Scoff if you like, but it seems its becoming more and more of an inevitability as technology continues to advance. But, that’s a whole different tangent for another time.

In preparation for the day when this does happen (if you don’t believe me, just fake it for now), I’ve been thinking of battle plans to help we humans defeat the robots. The only thing I thought of that seemed plausible was this: One does not have to completely destroy one of these automatons to render it ineffective. Instead, one only needs to shoot out its “eyes,” the camera lenses though which it sees, and the crystal lenses that would no doubt be at the end of its weapon’s or weapons’ barrel(s).

With those lenses shattered, shot out, or otherwise destroyed, the robot in question would no longer be able to see or shoot. It would essentially be a sitting duck.

Unfortunately, my dreams of making like John Connor circa 2029 were dashed when I discovered these: glass cutting machines. And, not only are these machines that can cut glass, polish it, round off the edges and such, it can do it 100% automatically! There doesn’t even need to be an operator there—they can run all day and all night, cranking out more lenses for evil robot eyes and laser cannons. As long as there’s material available for the glass cutting machine to handle and manipulate with its bizarro, state-of-the-art robot tool arms, it will continue to work.

Good luck falling asleep tonight. Dun dun DUNNH!