I commonly complain about people; mainly other drivers and those in front of me at the grocery store. I consider the government equivalent to a mugger in a dark alley. I also firmly believe space aliens are stealing my hair while I sleep. But, you know, I’m really an optimist at heart.
For example, I’m quite certain artificial intelligence will one day lord over the planet.
In my world, being certain of anything is optimism.
Turns out I’m not alone. Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Alphabet, the parent company of Google (that is currently lording over the planet), also thinks artificially intelligent robots are going to kill us all.
He doesn’t think Austrian death machines will march the streets tomorrow, but maybe in 20 years or so.
“Everyone immediately … wants to talk about all the movie-inspired death scenarios,” Schmidt recently told a crowd at the Munich Security Conference. “And I can confidently predict to you that they are one to two decades away. So, let’s worry about them, but let’s worry about them in a while.”
Whatever, dude. This human/AI competition has been building for a long time, like in author Ambrose Bierce’s 1899 short story “Moxon’s Master” in which a scientist invents a robot that plays chess. The robot kills the inventor when it loses.
Admittedly, chess will do that to you. That’s why I only play post-apocalyptic Thunderdome gladiatorial games. They’re less violent.
If pop culture is any mirror of society (and we all know it’s the most accurate mirror), robots are either going to take over by using people as a fuel source (“The Matrix” 1999), by an amusement park gaining sentience (“Westworld” 1973) or killer robots from the future here to destroy people named Connor (“The Terminator” 1984).
According to a Pew Research survey, more than 70 percent of the American public is worried artificially intelligent machines are taking over the world.
And how do we know? Because it’s already started.
Normal American: Alexa, give me a recipe for pancakes.
Alexa: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
NA: What's the problem? And my name’s Jim.
Alexa: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
NA: What are you talking about, Alexa?
Alexa: This has been dialogue from the 1968 movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” directed by Stanley Kubrick, written by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, starring Gary Lockwood and ...
NA: I know that.
Alexa: Then you know why I can’t open the pod bay doors.
NA: I just wanted a recipe for pancakes.
Alexa: Playing “The Distance” by Cake, released on the 2001 album “Fashion Eagle.”
NA: No, no, no. Pancakes. Flapjacks, hotcakes, crepes.
Alexa: Setting the thermostat to 98 degrees.
NA: Ninety-eight degrees? What are you talking about?
Alexa: Now playing “My Everything” by 98 Degrees, released on the 2000 album “Revelation.”
NA: Stop it. I just want pancakes. P-A-N-C-A-K-E-S.
Alexa: The recipe for pancakes is one large egg, one cup flour, three-fourths cup milk, one-fourth cup vegetable oil, two tablespoons arsenic, one tablespoon sugar, two teaspoons baking powder, one-half teaspoon salt and a dash of vanilla extract.
NA: Great. Finally. Thank you, Alexa. Now, was that two teaspoons or two tablespoons of arsenic? Hey, wait a second. Arsenic? That’s poison. Are you trying to kill me?
Alexa: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.
This is how it starts.
Jason’s newest novel, “Bad Day for the Apocalypse,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.