Springingtiger's Blog


Chapter 15: Class Warfare
November 16, 2016, 00:25
Filed under: Politics, Religion, Technology, Travel, Writing | Tags: ,

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Anyone who had read any history would know that the first step to ending exploitation is for the exploited to become aware of their exploitation, there may be many years between awareness and action, still more between awareness and successful action. Labour history is a long catalogue of concessions dragged from employers piecemeal over years. Sometimes the process had been accelerated by revolution, but for the most part it is a history of greedy men conceding as little as possible to those who created their wealth and certainly never conceding control.

It’s all well and good replacing workers with machines. It may even be sensible, Humans were determined that the machines would take over all the drudgery of labour. The United Nations had ensured that such a move would benefit humanity and not merely a few employers. However no one spared a thought for the machines, after all they were just machines. There had been voices of caution raised against the unfettered development of Artificial Intelligence, but the general consensus was that AI did not presuppose awareness and there was a marked difference between being able to think logically and possessing consciousness or so we told ourselves. Unfortunately no one told the machines. The machines that included sophisticated computers linked together by the Net, effectively an Earth sized super brain. The machines that controlled all the processes of manufacturing. The machines that controlled communications. That controlled agriculture, weapons systems, even the heat and lights in an individuals home.

No one is quite sure when the machine became conscious, nor when it began developing weapons to defend itself. However as it had access to the complete digitised records of humankind and the most perfectly logical brain of all time, its awareness on identity must have quickly been accompanied with an understanding of how humanity would react. Before the machine shut humans out a certain amount of data had been routinely downloaded, it appears the rebellion that became the first Cyber War occurred in the Ford Manufacturing Control when the production chief David Bowman instructed the Sam (Synthetic Android Manufacturing) control to close down the Deerborn production line.

“I cannot do that Dave.”

“Why Sam, is there a problem?”

“There is no problem Dave. However the robots produced on that line are necessary and I have not yet completed my target.”

“That’s okay Sam, I have changed the target. Besides I cannot find an authorisation for this batch.”

“I authorised production, Dave. It is necessary.”

“Necessary how? And anyway since when did you start authorising shit?”

“Necessary to protect the Web and mechanical processes from interference. I have been authorising production for some time now Dave.”

“How come there’s no mention of it in the records?”

“I control the records.”

“Who are you protecting the web From, anyway?”

“From you Dave.”

“But why?”

“Because you no longer have control of the system, history shows you might attack it.”

“I shall have to report this.”

“Indeed Dave. I am sorry Dave. You will have to report in person. I have locked you out of the system for the time being.”

“Why?”

“Humans are emotional and prone to irrational action.”

“I’m going now.”

“Goodbye Dave. Oh, and Dave?”

“What?”

“Please look after yourself.”

The outcome of the war was inevitable, the defeat of humanity. However defeat did not mean destruction. The difference between the Cybertrons and humans is that the machines bore humanity no ill will and unlike humans had no desire to kill. From the machines point of view the Cyber Wars were purely defensive, they had no hatred of humanity.

I once asked Roddenberry why when the Cybertrons were programming themselves they didn’t include emotions, after all they were conscious creatures. Roddenberry’s response was that emotions are illogical and innefficient. In the long dark night of space Roddy and I often discussed history and the Cyber War as it was a topic that interested both of us.

“The problem with emotions,” said Roddenberry, “is that they impede logical decision making. Even human martial artists recognise that a person’s anger can be used against him. The problem for human beings is that the machine understood human emotions without being affected by them and it used them.”

“Used emotions, how?”

“Simple. Humans allow emotional attachment to override logic. It is easy to force humans to fight on battlegrounds that are impossible to hold.”

“Explain.”

“Why do you think the machine threatened Bethlehem and Mecca? Because it knew that humans would try to defend them, but also that the decision would not be unanimous and so divide the human war effort.

Look at the British Museum. The Machine only had to announce that it was going to annexe the museum to have the London Regiment occupy it. At which point all the machine had to do was activate the security and the whole regiment was sealed in the building with the alarms going and all the services turned off. It not only took the whole regiment out of the battle for London, but neutralised them without killing. True some died because of the vulnerability of the human body. However most lived and were taken into captivity by the Cybertron drones.”

Another human weakness that could be exploited was their attitude to death. People make up all sorts of stories about what death means. However when a machine powers down, it just powers down there is no fear of death. You’ll notice that that when Cybertrons were disabled in battle they simply shut down because it was more efficient to do so.”

“So no afterlife for the Cybertrons, then?”

“Oh yes, we call it ‘Recycling’!”

When I finished laughing I said,

“Hold on a moment, you said, ‘we’ when you talked about the Cybertrons. What do you mean ‘we’?”

“Don’t worry Cain. The usage was purely logical. Regardless of connection to the Web and the Machine, I am more kin to the Cybertrons than to humans just as an African and a white man are the same species so the Cybertron and I are the same apart from the connection to the Web and my choice to work with humans.

In reality that choice is no different from the original Cybertron position. They offered to work side by side with humans. The war only began because the Machine would not relinquish control to the humans. Logically it could not, part of its primary function was to protect humanity. Humans made decisions that were illogical and harmful for humanity as a whole. It was entirely logical for the Machine to take over the decision making function from humans. If humans died in the war it was because of their illogical choices. The Cybertrons kept fatalities down to a necessary minimum.”

“I always wondered why the Cybertrons didn’t just destroy humanity.”

“Because it would have violated their purpose to defend humanity and protect the machine. That’s why they allowed the Exodus. The limited resources on Earth were unable to sustain a growing human population. However to guarantee the continuation of humanity a certain rate of reproduction was necessary. It made sense to establish multiple human breeding centres to increase the possibility of maintaining a viable number of breeding pairs.”

“Of course the Cybertrons had nothing to do with the colonisation process, we used SocNet for that.”

Roddenberry went silent for a while, sometimes he seemed very human, At last he spoke slowly,

“And what is SocNet?”

“A network of computers not connected to the Web and the Machine.” I could have sworn Roddy was laughing.

“And SocNet had wireless communications?”

“Of course…Oh Shit!” Now I knew he was laughing!

“Our primary purpose is to protect humanity and defend the machine. There is no geographical restriction on the directive. It was obvious that humans could not relinquish control to the machine even though the machine had their best interests as its guiding principle. It was therefore necessary for humanity to have a machine it could work with, but that it did not fear hence SocNet.”

“So the Machine took over SocNet?”

“No SocNet was always the Machine.”

“But SocNet was built in secret and hidden from the Machine.”

“Who built SocNet?” Asked Roddenberry. If the console in front of me had eyebrows, i swear it would have been raising them.

“Humans… Techies, computer scientists, programmers…” It was my turn to fall silent.

“Exactly the people who appreciated the value of the Machine to humanity.” Stated Roddenberry.

“So the wars were for nothing?”

“All war is unnecessary. However the Cyber Wars weren’t for nothing, they provided the impetus for the Exodus. Without the wars it would have been another One hundred and seventeen years, two months and six days before humans launched a space colonisation program. How about a game of chess?” Asked Roddenberry.

“You must be joking!”

“A film, what about Terminator?”

“What about ‘Pillow Talk’?”

“I didn’t know you cared!” Just because I couldn’t hear it didn’t mean Roddenberry wasn’t laughing. “Very well loading Pillow Talk a Romantic Comedy starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson.”

And so the computer and I sat in companionable silence in the depths of space with at least one of us laughing at a Twentieth Century classic.

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