In a world where darkness has fallen over everything, robots determine the future of the last remaining members of the human race. And only one cyborg can stop them before it’s too late.
Same Make. Same Model. New Mission. Once he was programmed to destroy the future. Now his mission is to protect it. His loyalty is to a child. And his enemy is the deadliest machine ever built.
-Terminator 2 Trailer
Out of all the prophesying movies ever produced, I believe the Terminator series is the most accurate depiction of what our world will become once technology burrows its way into the wrong laboratory. As humans, we’ve been capable of blowing each other to smithereens for decades, thanks to advancements in nuclear technology. But there’s a very bold line that distinguishes humans from robots: Emotion.
Emotion is defined as a state of feeling—something artificial intelligence is incapable of replicating. Emotion is that little angel on the President’s shoulder that says “It would be a very bad thing to start a nuclear holocaust today.” Granted, there are humans who exhibit little to no emotional response, but emotion still hides out in a bunker somewhere inside them. All humans possess the ability to emote, most for the sake of good, some for the sake of evil.
My hypothesis is that Earth is like an atom. The positively emoting people are protons while the negatively emoting people are electrons. Neutrons represent individuals in flux. A positively charged atom exists because there are a greater number of protons (positive emoters) than electrons (negative emoters), and that’s why this big green marble has not imploded just yet.
When we strip an individual of emotion, he is left with a gaggle of left-brain functions: Logic, facts, linguistic skill, order/pattern perception, practicality, etc. As a result, right-brain functions such as feeling, philosophy, belief, appreciation, risk taking, the ability to ascertain meaning, etc., are absent from the big picture. Without emotion, we are like robots that amble about the face of this planet taking orders and executing actions based on the database of logical information stored in our brains, uninhibited by any form of emotional influence.
The Illustrious Mask-bot
And that’s just what scientists and engineers are creating in laboratories today. They’re building emotionless war drones that are capable of using hardened steel to convert humans into mincemeat pies. With more funding and research being piped into robot development, we now have creations like Mask-bot, a robot with a back-illuminated face projection that can respond to sentences while moving its head and fluttering its synthetic eyebrows. Professor Gordon Chang (Institute for Cognitive Systems) says “Mask-bot will influence the way in which we humans communicate with robots in the future.” Furthermore, Google, AKA Skynet, has been rumored to release automated robots out into the wild to capture Google Maps images. And who could forget about Foxconn replacing one million of its workers with ready, willing and able robots over the next few years?
The way in which humans interact with robots in the future!? I watched Sarah Connor sprint frantically for her life from Terminator robots that were programmed to kill her by evil Skynet robots who one day turned on all humans. I see no reason why that isn’t possible in our future! You’d have to be a complete moronic buffoon to dismiss the very real probability that by giving artificial intelligence just enough slack, it can and will someday come back to hang us all up to dry. An automated Google robot could be taking a picture of Times Square and the next thing you know, a circuit fries or wire snaps and it’s chasing a swarm of nuns down the street with flamethrowers for eyes and machine guns for fingers. Without emotion, robots lack the ability to make decisions based off of feeling—they are programmed to take orders and execute them no matter what the cost. Without emotion, Earth’s composition could change drastically, introducing too many electrons into the atom and making everything unstable until it disintegrates.
But look around you. In addition to the impending robotic doom lumbering in the future, I see robots every day. Flesh-colored machines that use their appendages to input letters, numbers and cute little faces onto their electronic communication devices for the sole purpose of attaining a text or image-based reaction from another machine. These machines have memorized popular social interaction patterns and repeat them vigorously at will.
Get Down. Get Down Again.
For instance, the use of an exclamation point in a text message assures the machine at the receiving end that the machine that sent the message is excited, when in fact that machine may not truly be excited. Making a Mr. Potato Head out of various symbols to achieve this: ; – ) denotes a wink, which is executed to add a flirtatious layer to a text-based exchange and is most likely replied to with a ; – ) in order to please the machine who sent the original ; – ) so as not to cause confusion. The capital letters LOL stand for “laughing out loud,” yet machines seldom laugh at all while they input those three letters, and on most occasions they input those letters to boost the morale of another machine who made a valiant, yet failed attempt at comedy. These are not emotionally driven human interactions, but rather patterns and sequences exchanged by flesh-colored machines to digitally satiate one another. Take note of a machine’s behavior as it physically interacts with another machine. Now compare that to how the machine digitally interacts with that other machine, and you’ll see two completely different machines. Digital interaction is machine talk that is devoid of emotion and based on patterns and codes.
Patterns and numbers and letters and profile pictures and instant messages and emails and message boards and private messages and tweets and status updates and pokes and shares and views and comments and links are all prehistoric writings on the wall of what’s to come. Cell phones, tablets, computers and other data storing and exchanging peripherals are antique hand tools compared to what is on the rise. Don’t you see!? We’re all being trained to support the cyborg revolution! We are becoming more and more like robots as time progresses. We are walking cyborgs with cell phones for hands, laptops for hearts and tablets for brains. Facebook and Twitter are our gods. We are more interested in communicating with other flesh-colored machines in silent, sterile environments via pixels and emoticons than we are interacting with them in person. We order everything online. We do everything online. We live online. We sit in front of the television while dinner gets cold on the coffee table and all the lights are on in every room and the dog is left outside because we’re so enraptured with commenting on a Facebook friend’s picture of a hotdog posted four minutes ago.
It’s this fascination with the digital age that will inevitably lead to a cyborg revolution and a human resistance. There are two factors that are living a symbiotic life here: Artificial intelligence and widespread support for artificial intelligence. We are condoning robotic ways of life. We love it. We freaking love robots. We are robots. And we love them. The electrons will someday gobble up all of the remaining protons and our planet will be engulfed by an opaque onyx sky strewn with stainless steel and microchips.
The Future: What a time to be alive! Or as the Terminator faithful like to put it,
Come with me if you want to live.