Ten Flavors of the Apocalypse: The Robot Un-Apocalypse
When most of us think of a robot apocalypse, we envision something from a standard movie script: huge numbers of robots work to usurp their human overlords (think The Terminator or I, Robot and you get the picture).
It’s a rather terrifying image to have in your head, particularly as the field of robotics advances and robots become more integrated into our daily lives.
That being said, Wren and I are of the opinion that this type of robot apocalypse is only plausible in the far-off distant future. The technology to develop Schwarzenegger-esk cyborgs is still quite a ways off – 2027 now seems like wishful thinking. Thus the robot apocalypse ranks only a “lemon” on our threat scale because it’s far more likely that something else will kill us first, nuclear war and climate change being among the prime suspects.
Given that a full-on robot invasion is unlikely in the foreseeable future, what kind of robot apocalypse could occur today?
The mostly likely result of the machines turning against us would be inconvenience. Your car probably wouldn’t function as you’d like – or the computer system inside would completely take control, which cuts out that transportation option. Same with airplanes.
It would admittedly be much harder to function if the robot apocalypse gradually spread to the computer systems that power infrastructure that we take for granted – think electrical grids, utilities, and emergency response systems.
Yet none of these outcomes is necessarily fatal or sufficient to kill mankind. With enough preparation you should be able to survive this type of apocalypse.
Xkcd.com has done a fantastic job outlining this scenario and why, at this stage of technology, an overall robot takeover of the planet is highly unlikely. I encourage all of you to have a look.
So in sum: a robot apocalypse will probably happen some day, but there’s a sufficiently high chance that another apocalypse will occur first so there’s not much point in worrying about this one.