Saturday, August 27, 2011

BE PREPARED 2: Rise of the Machines

When the first nuclear bomb was detonated, Robert Oppenheimer quoted the Bhagavad Gita saying, "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds!" Unless you're Hindu, that's probably the only part of the text you've ever heard. In our time, this is what we learn about one of the fathers of The Nuclear Age. But lost in the shuffle of history to most of us is the quote of Oppenheimer's colleague Kenneth Bainbridge who, upon seeing the awesome and terrible power of what he had helped create, turned to Oppenheimer and said, "Now we are all sons of bitches." Gotta love that quote! Today, computing power doubles ever 18 months... it's the law! "Moore's Law" to be more specific! Circuits and chips get smaller and faster and cheaper... In my life time we went from the floppy diskette (you know, the big black ones that were really floppy) that you needed three of just to play Oregon Trail to external hard drives that you can slip in your pocket and have more space... about 80KB to 1TB in your pocket... look how far we've come! And it's not going to stop! You've maybe heard about "The Singularity"!? The basic idea being that one day, we'll build a computer so fast, and so good that it will be able to design, without the assistance or guidance of a human mind, a better and faster version of itself... the rise of artificial intelligence. The point at which humanity ceases to be of practical importance! And somewhere out there...probably alive today, is the son of a bitch who's going to build/program it! He might just be some little kid, building his first science fair volcano or powering a light bulb with a potato or learning his times tables... but that little son of a bitch will be the end of us all! (Just as a side note...can you tell I've been watching/reading a lot of Terminator franchise oriented material lately?)

We've discussed that there are options, if you think critically and observe keenly, to aid in the survival of a zombie apocalypse... but let's get real...the robot apocalypse will come first, and it will not be nearly as easy. Unless I'm not looking in the right place, there is no mysterious messianic figure (who isn't at least partially fictitious with the initials J.C.) out there, training to lead a scrappy band of survivors in a fight against sentient machinces hell bent on genocide. And until somebody unplugs me, I choose to believe I'm not in The Matrix and that my steak actually IS juicy and delicious! I choose to believe that The Three Laws of Robotics will remain unnecessary if we just stop building so many damn robots! Don't get me wrong...if I could have a fully functional cyborg that looked like Summer Glau and did my bidding, I'd totally go for it... but not at the expense of 6 Billion people! Then again, if I could have the actual Summer Glau (doing my bidding optional)... NO! not even for that would I allow the death of 6 Billion... 6 Million? Sure! But a man has to have his limits!

Just as Ken Bainbridge devoted the rest of his life to ending/ slowing the testing and development of nuclear weapons, I can only hope that there is some forward thinking visionary, the future boss of the son of a bitch little kid at the science fair, who will delay or prevent the development of the conscious clockwork creatures. But since that's about as likely as me not watching porn ever again, what can we do? What options are realistically at our disposal for the Rise of our Alloy Overlords? First, I would suggest a heavy investment in armor piercing ammunition. The bigger the better... High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) and Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot (APDS) would be my suggestion.... but if you can't get hold of a tank to fire those... nothing smaller than .50 caliber rifle rounds is going to do you any good! Also, it wouldn't hurt to take one of those courses at DeVry so you can become an electrician and then live near some of those big power line towers...sure the risk of cancer may be higher, but when you're MacGyver-ing a trap for a Mechanized Marauder whose Primary Directive is to slaughter you and your entire family...let's just say you'll be glad to have the voltage on hand! Am I discounting the classic SKYNET scenario where the software takes over and disables the power grid and everything else computerized before sending actual robots to kill you? Maybe...but if you're close enough to the actual power plant, you might could cut it off from network access and physically run it... remember, you are a DeVry certified electrician in this scenario....and a well armed DeVry certified electrician at that! Improvise, Adapt....then Improvise and Adapt again because the machines are better and faster at Improvising and Adapting than you are!

Now where are you going to live? The suburbs? HELL NO! All that wood and flammable insulation and carpeting and the nice, wide, unobstructed streets down which robot tanks can so easily maneuver!? The Suburbs are a death trap! The Inner City isn't so hot either though....actually, it's probably very hot, the AI probably nuked major population centers on day 1, or as we will call it (because Terminator said we would) Judgement Day! Maybe a bunker... POTUS!? I'm lookin at you! Just make sure it's not connected in any way shape or form to the world above! You got internet down there? cell phone reception via a Bluetooth enabled headset? do!? Yep, you're still screwed! Round these parts... The University of South Carolina is said to have catacombs... a maze of service tunnels and underground passages which currently serve only as the residence of The Third Eye Man... I mean, I don't know that they're there... I never went looking for them... nor did I ever go looking for the glory hole which was supposed to be in one of the bathrooms of Gambrell Hall! But if the Tincan Taskmasters begin a campaign of human extermination, I know where I'm headed....and no! it's not to the glory hole! In fact, invest some time looking through the public records, get familiar with any sort of tunnel/sewer system that may be at your disposal... if you have a Subway, go the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles route and find the abandoned dissused train station, lest a computer controlled C-Train decide it wants to derail and explode in your nice modern tunnel! And I know sewers may not seem all that enticing but, ask yourself this question: Would you rather crawl through some shit, or die in the cold chrome deathgrip of somebody's recycled 22 inch spinners? I don't know about you, but I will Shawshank my way to another day of living to feast on a half eaten rat corpse in a heartbeat!

Speaking of feasting, Meals Ready to Eat (MREs)... Hide them shits EVERYWHERE! Like a squirrel burying nuts for the winter. Random caches of food are great morale boosters... and most of them will include toilet paper...and let's face it...just because you're crawling through shit on a daily basis is no excuse not to wipe your ass! And before you start thinking that my priorities are out of wack, I'd ask you to think about it! You ever had mud-butt...swamp ass....dingleberry bushes? You think it's fun or easy to run like that? While we're talking about butt a little Preparation-H somewhere may not get the Blood Gulch, but if you run into somebody who has Hemorrhoids, they will worship you! Also have a supply of condoms... that "we may die tomorrow" sex might be great... but if you don't actually die tomorrow... pregnancy and/or VD are gonna make things so much worse!

I am aware of the rate at which my writing is devolving! So I am going to stop right about here... but that doesn't mean it has to end! I want you to comment on this post (Seriously, I do) with any strategies or tips and tricks that you would like to contribute. Is there anything [else] I've overlooked. What would you do in the event of The Robot Apocalypse?

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