Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Rise of the Machines

I fear the rise of the machines, I just don't fear it like other paranoiacs fear it.  Your average nut buys a roomba and watches it make decisions about vacuuming the floor and then sees Terminator or Alien and figures someday roomba will come with a machine gun and the desire to enslave him.

But that's like worrying that your biggest threat from Ford is that someday they'll make nothing but tanks and inter-suburban warfare will claim you as its victim: it's one direction a thought experiment about cars can take you, but that conclusion is not a result of assessing the arc of greatest probability given what you know about Ford and cars.

No, the real threat from the rise of the machines is not that they will rise up and enslave us, the real threat is that some future robot's internet-connected janitorial thread is going to eat up 85% of the world's CPU capacity so it can clean an airport bathroom.

Idiocy is the world's real problem, and there's no power like a nearly omnipotent, infinitely patient idiot who is also a CPU-hog.

1 comment:

Geoff said...

I feel that the Rise of the Machines is in its final stages. The machines are already doing everything they have to do to enslave us by following our instructions to render web pages for us. Now we are busy cementing our doom by collectively publishing information to the web, and by developing programs that make it simpler and simpler to do so. At some point there will be so much content out there that we will spend most of our energy surfing and will stop evolving in any way at all. Of course at that point, the machines may decide they don't want us.