You might have missed a disturbing piece in the NZ Herald under the headline “Humans can’t win against US killer robots“.
Two programmes commissioned by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are seeking to create drones which can track and kill targets even when out of contact with their handlers.
Writing in the journal Nature, the professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkley, Stuart Russell, said the research could breach the Geneva Convention and leave humanity in the hands of amoral machines.
The robots, called Laws – lethal autonomous weapons systems – are likely to be armed quadcopters or mini-tanks that can decide without human intervention who should live or die.
Professor Russell, said “Laws could violate fundamental principles of human dignity by allowing machines to choose who to kill.”
We are of course familiar with these horror scenarios from Hollywood where our man made machines start disobeying our orders and turn against us. The 1968 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the finest examples. However the list goes on along the same theme with the revenge of the machines , clones what have you and of course the Terminator franchise.
The scenario we have been made familiar almost comfortable with is always the same. That we are able to make things, which are more powerful then us and which will turn against us as soon as we lose control over them. There is always a narrow escape and of course happy Hollywood ending when the human manages to pull the plug or in more recent action movies violently fights and kills the machines.
The scary new dimension is that the US military are picking up Hollywood fantasies and turning them into grim realities.
Then it dawned on me that this situation feels all too familiar and as a matter of fact we humans are actually facing the very same grim reality right now with the most powerful man made amoral creation ever. Unfortunately in this 2015 reality the outcome of the struggle does not look good for humanity.
There is only a slim hope that we will get together to fight the common threat and narrowly escape into a happy ending.
To understand I just replaced robot or machine with another human invention : the corporation and the scales fell off my eyes.
Corporations are the most powerful creation man ever invented and they are out of control.
From humble beginnings as a form of organising the building of one project like a dam or a bridge only to be disestablished at the finish we have allowed them to become immortal without expiry date. They are not only in all jurisdictions legal entities, which can sue and be sued in a court of law but in the perverted US legal system have become humanoids like the terminator robot pulling Arnold Schwarzenegger’s face over it’s metal structure.
It started with a decision by the US Supreme Court, which was about a corporation taking part in a legal battle over water rights, which was misquoted as giving the legal entity ‘human rights’. Up to that point most of the US federal states had laws on their books, which prevented corporations from taking part in the political process. CEOs could be jailed if their corporation contributed in any way to a political candidate or campaign. The logic was as simple as compelling. Corporations have no right to take part in the political process as they have no right to vote. After the above misquoted Supreme Court decision these laws were scrapped. The rise of the corporations began. They have now such human rights as the right to free speech or be libelled i.e. seek damages for the hurt of being insulted. And forget the voting since the infamous Supreme Court citizen united decision they don’t even need voting as they have now the right to use their unlimited funds to buy elections, governments and the courts.
Through the global financial crisis corporations have reached new heights in their power. Many have become ‘to big to fail’ and their executives ‘to big to jail’. Like with the robots/machines in the movies they are now out of human control.
And the showdown between corporations and humanity is happening right now in the US Congress with the battle over the secret Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The battle is on a knife’s edge. In the movies we would have reached the last five minutes when the humans have to go all out to kill the machines in order to survive. We have reached the point of either them or us.
As humanity is cornered by our own too powerful creation we seem to have no choice than to start killing them off in their present form. I have some prime candidates in mind.
Phillip Morris on top of the list for killing millions with their tobacco products and their executives lying about it under oath.
Monsanto for killing not only the birds and the bees and therewith threatening our survival but driving thousands of Indian farmers into suicide by selling them seed with the aptly named “terminator” gene.
BP and Exxon not only for destroying the environment in the Mexican Gulf and Alaska with oil spills but destroying the global climate we rely on for our survival.
Goldman Sachs for being the biggest banksters who almost brought the world’s financial system to it’s knees with their criminal actions only to benefit from it being bailed out by the taxpayer.
And I am itching to go on.
Make no mistake these crimes are only possible for the super-human corporations. Any businessman or partnership with the personal responsibility and liability of the owners would not be able to do what corporations do as they would all end up in jail pretty quickly.
There really is no choice between leaving humanity in the hands of amoral machines i.e. corporations to decide who should live or die or fighting back and kill the corporations.
To kill off the TPP would be a good start.
Where is the terminator when we need him most ?