Aah! Five unusual ways science fiction is fact
Meteorites blowing up the joint, robots carrying on… The Punch thought it was time to take a look at how science fiction has become science fact.
1. KILLER ROBOTS WITH NO MORAL CODE
‘Stop The Killer Robots’! There have been few times in history where a campaign has had such an eye-catching name.
It sounds like some facetious, Onion-style parody of an NGO campaign gone wrong, but it’s not. It’s real. And it has formed because of concerns a race of Terminators is one day going to say hasta la vista, bebbe to humanity.
Human Rights Watch keep a trained eye on the abuses of nations (their biggest beef with us concerns asylum seeker detention). They’ve released an extraordinary report about the potential for murderous robots.
They reckon that robots, like the drones the US are bombing Afghanistan and Pakistan into even wastier wastelands with, are evolving into cold machines without any human qualities. “Human emotions… provide one of the best safeguards against killing civilians,” the report argues.
Good point. If machines start thinking for themselves, shouldn’t they have iOs Humanity 5.0 installed into their quantum brains, too?
Hang on. Sounds like HRW have been reading…
I, Robot – A 1950 novel by Isaac Asimov
2. NAN AND POP ARE ONLINE
Grandma’s already on the internet, bombarding your newsfeed and butchering commonly used acronyms.
Last year The Daily Telegraph ran a hilarious story detailing the confusion among some of the older generation (even Gen X’ers) about the meaning of “lol”. Many believed it meant “lots of love”.
LOL. We hope OMG isn’t being confused for Old Melbourne Gaol, too. Some would say what they’ve done is invent an alternate language. Just like George Orwell’s Newspeak in his dystopian classic, 1984.
3. GIANT ASTEROIDS DESTROYING US ALL
Flabbergasted. That’s what you were when you heard that a meteorite had injured hundreds with an explosion over the Ural mountains in Russia.
But it happened. The New York Times asked the question we were all thinking: could we really handle an asteroid better than the dinosaurs did?
You probably don’t want to know the answer, which included the fact that nobody actually has responsibility for defending the Earth from asteroids, not even NASA.
Just to add to your level off discomfort. How come it took us this long to notice a 200km-wide asteroid impact zone in the middle of the Aussie desert?
Nice one, humanity. Armageddon was probably too positive about the future.
4. COMPUTERS THAT KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU
HAL from A Space Odyssey, eat your heart out.
Chinese hackers have apparently hacked everything and everyone. They just can’t get enough hacking - whether you’re the US Government, the Australian Government, a company or a newspaper.
Apparently, all from one shabby looking apartment complex. Cyber-crime costs us a billion dollars, according to internet security firm Norton.
There’s barely been any good sci-fi about cyber war or cyber crime. But we do have one Julian Assange, who might as well be a Bond villain.
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