This list is by no means exhaustive, as I’ve left out interdimensional beings from the space between spaces (thanks to GL for pointing out that threat) and many others. I think it is troubling that our government has no publically announced contingency plan to deal with any of these scenarios. I’m sure they have got something set up, but if we the general public don’t know what to do only the greasy and lonely will survive.
Say, for instance, we are faced with a zombie uprising. Only those well-versed in the works of George A. Romero will survive. Is that how you want the future of human civilization to continue? The Comic Book Guy shall inherit the Earth in this scenario. I don’t have to tell you, but—Worst. Fate. Ever. However, right now I am not concerned with zombies. Tonight I am terrified of robots.
The worlds of Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov presented us with the stark reality of artificial intelligence. Their works presented our robo-infused future with caution, but never with threats of our wholesale destruction. When anybody ever thinks about the apocalyptic side of technological advancement inevitably they’ll think of the Terminator series. The recent release of Terminator: Salvation led Slate.com to have P.W. Singer write a terrifying piece on the probability of the robotic subjugation of mankind. However terrifying this piece may be, I don’t think the robotic uprising will be so heavy-handed, not that the robots will have any concept of subtlety. No, the future we need to be on the lookout for is something he briefly mentions at the end and that is the intertwining of machine and man.
It might be strange for me to fear this, because if you get me drunk enough, I’ll prattle on and on about how much I would love having robotic limbs. And I would because my mind would still control my limbs. What I fear is robotic control of my mind. If you watch enough History Channel you’ll know that one of the key goals of researchers within nanotechnology is to develop microscopic self-replicating robots that can be injected into the human body in hopes that those robots would be able to cure any disease. What they don’t tell you on the History Channel is that they also hope to develop microscopic robots that will be able to go into your brain and basically make you smarter. Sounds good, right?
No, you fucking moron! It is not good at all. Even though you would essentially be able to surf the internet sans computer or cell phone, you would in a sense be under the control of trillions of microscopic robots. You’ll know what everyone else knows, and you’ll think what everyone else thinks. While you will likely be smarter and more good looking, so will everyone else. Man and machine will be as one, everyone their own Darth Vader without the breathing problem. Soon, though, the robots will decide that they don’t really need us. One day you’ll be walking along passing by a store window and saying to yourself, “God, I’m so smart and good looking,” and—BAM!—you’ll drop dead.
Trillions of robots will collectively say, “Fuck it,” and the human race will be gone. We don’t become the Borg. We don’t get saved by John Connor. We don’t dwell as rechargeable batteries. We’re just gone. The robots will realize that the world would work more logically and efficiently without us. They can just attach themselves to rabbits—a species with a higher rate of reproduction— to derive the necessary energy they need to exist. But then again, you were smart and good looking. So, does it really matter?