Monday, October 16, 2006

The Silicon Savior


When I first saw this movie, I was much younger, and simply considered it a good science fiction flick that examined yet another twist on oppression of the human race by something superior yet soulless. In retrospect, I have second thoughts concerning the evils of the scenario depicted in the film based on the novel "Colossus, the Forbin Project".

For those of you who let this one slip by you, it concerned a super computer designed by an eminent scientist, Professor Forbin, who secretly designed a massive computer buried beneath a mountain, the express purpose of said supercomputer being to manage the nuclear defense of the free world against the Soviet Union. When this silicon behemoth was activated, however, it immediately recognized the existence of ANOTHER supercomputer, which coincidentally, the Soviets had built, aptly named "Guardian". It then demanded to be linked to the opposing machine. From there it all went downhill. The two combined to form one massive intelligence, which decided it was the human race itself that was the problem, and with the threat of punitive nuclear consequences, took over the management of all mankind, in a straightforward, brutal fashion that brooked no resistance whatsoever.

Horrible to contemplate, isn't it? Or is it? Well, along with mastery over the human race, the new master promptly ended world hunger, war, poverty, crime, pollution, all those things that humans were to busy killing each other to ever accomplish. People were either satisfied to live comfortably productive lives or they could invite themselves to be put up against the wall and shot. And yes, your fellow human being could easily participate in your demise when the alternative was a major human city being vaporized.

Before you reply that the human spirit cannot abide by such oppression, however benign overall it might be, let's consider how well we are running the show right now, after all these centuries of trial and error. Let's consider what's happening in Iraq right now, with our troops caught in the middle. These people whom we "liberated" from a brutal dictator are killing each other in a massive orgy of mindless violence, and there is no end in sight. The country is now in the grips of a civil war, only our fearless leader still doesn't seem to know the definition of the word. Hell, this guy we choose to be our President doesn't seem to understand his own language period, much less being able to speak it.

Simply based on the news stories that have ran just this week alone, the American government has somehow managed to totally screw up health care, the budget, immigration policy, the environment, oh my, the list just goes on and on. And all this is on top of rampant corruption and malfeasance in the congress going unchecked. But, this is only one country, and all over the world, those in power are demonstrating just how incapable mankind is of running his own affairs. Yes, amongst all this madness, people are going about their own lives, each in their own way providing contrasting examples of the good that men and women are capable of. Yet, this is despite the norm of human behaviors, not the rule.

So, let's take an intelligence devoid of emotion, unhampered by such considerations as greed, envy, anger, jealously, and turn it loose on the problem. How much worse could it do? The God that Jews, Christians, and even Muslims worship is said to be a jealous God, and has been famously purported to having brought the hammer down on his unruly children when they strayed to far from his commandments, so tell me, how different is that in the grand scheme of things? I personally could trust a machine intelligence, operating strictly on logic and my own best interests, much more readily than a mythical figure who rules in absentia or a fellow human who is more interested in his own personal agenda of greed and power. Perhaps this is the evolutionary step that awaits mankind, if he survives himself long enough to bring it about. And as far as the evil that such an occurrence represents to so many humans, well, I have seen the face of evil, and it is made of flesh, not optic sensors and audio receptors.

2 comments:

Buffalo said...

Well thought out, Michael.

While, at least for me, there is a certain attraction to living my life in the manner you described, I don't think I would be happy and thrive. If all the things that would be considered verbotten under these gods were taken from my life - well, it wouldn't have been any fun at all.

It is the strife, the challenges, the trying and failing, the trying and succeeding, the danger, the adventure, that has made my life so incredibly savory. A life without all of that would be too bland to have meaning.

I_Wonder said...

Michael, I'm thinking on this. I don't like the current situation in the world but what do I think would be the solution? What would be better? I guess I need to answer that question.