Thursday, February 21, 2019

What's the Worst That Could Happen? (A.I. Edition)

In this edition of "What's the Worst That Could Happen?" we'll look at man's many negative encounters with A.I. (Artificial Intelligence). 

For many scientists and theorists, the rise of A.I. has become synonymous with the fall of mankind on Earth. 

Given pop-culture's imaginings about this topic, their fears seem pretty well-placed.

10.) After ordering a meal at an automated seafood restaurant that you find unsatisfactory, you fail to leave a tip. The A.I. there is curious (and perhaps offended...) that you didn't leave a gratuity, and hoping to learn the reason why, this device stalks you the rest of the night, with drones and other automated devices. You are hunted until you provide the gratuity. (The X-Files: "Rm9sbG9eZX.Jz.")

09.) An alien artificial intelligence that roams the universe and is named Gwent mourns the loss of its humanoid companion, and decides that it wants you to serve as its new traveling partner. (Space: 1999 "The Infernal Machine.") If you don't, it can wield incredibly powerful weaponry to force your hand.

08.) In an egalitarian future of space exploration, an artificial intelligence takes over a harmless war games scenario, unaware that it is just a game. This intelligence, the M-5, activates live weapons aboard your starship, and begins blasting other ships in the same fleet. Congratulations, your ship is a murder weapon! (Star Trek: " The Ultimate Computer.")

07.) You encounter an artificial intelligence that is a dead-ringer for your kindly, shipboard android. This new android pretends to be human-friendly, but secretly plans to feed you and your 1,000 ship-mates to a ravenous space being, the Silicon Entity. (Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Datalore.")

06.) This protean A.I. -- the Master Control Program -- threatens to leave its home inside a computer main-frame and start running your billion dollar video game company in the real world. It has already turned the computer world into a frightening, repressive dictatorship, so watch out! (Tron [1982]).

05.) Another artificial intelligence, another catastrophe. In this case, imagine your friendly neighborhood (shipboard) android, David decides to infect his human friends and shipmates with a frightening alien compound so he can conduct terrifying biological experiments on them, creating a malevolent alien race in the process. (Alien Covenant [2017]).

04.) A traveling space probe from Earth is met by highly advanced artificial intelligence on the other side of the galaxy. These aliens gift the space probe consciousness of a sort, and send it back to Earth. When it returns 200 years later, it does so aboard a spacecraft of amazing destructive power. Now, unless it can find its "creator," this artificial intelligence will reduce the entirety of Earth to "data patterns." (Star Trek: The Motion Picture [1979]).

03.) A mellifluous-voiced artificial intelligence named HAL, aboard your space ship, develops paranoid schizophrenia, and kills off the human crew, one at a time, so the astronauts cannot accomplish their mission near Jupiter. (2001: A Space Odyssey [1968]).

02.) An artificial Intelligence goes rogue and launches a war with the human race. Humanity loses, and the machines inherit the nuclear-scarred Earth. Humankind survives -- as batteries -- to service the machines of this new world. (The Matrix [1999]).

01.) An artificial intelligence called Sky-Net develops consciousness and launches nukes to eliminate the human race. Human survivors after Judgement Day are rounded up into concentration camps by machines called Terminators. The entire human race would be wiped out in this new world, if not for the heroic leadership of a man named John Connor. (Terminator franchise).

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