I. A forecast 20 years ago.
I. Films on the future: evolutionary reality or fiction?
(from Future magazine, c.1997)
In the last few years, the most advanced technological country, America, shows through different forms of art, particularly films and science-fiction literature, a very negative vision of the future. Among the most popular films of recent years, we find various titles such as Terminator or Matrix, which deal with the possible extinction of mankind, caused by the evolution of machines.
The extinction of mankind has only just appeared as a theme in literature and art. This is not a coincidence. Impossible acts do not often attract the attention of the writer or the reader. Only the possible or the probable give origin to fiction, where the imagination then attempts to make the leap from the real to the unreal. Logically, we do not find references to the extinction of man before the 19th century, when man completely dominated the Earth, and the possibility of his extinction was remote or, more exactly, unimaginable. It is only in the modern era, as a result of the industrial and scientific revolutions, that a possible substitute to man as the ultimate predator on the earth, has been born: the intelligent machine .
With the discovery of the intelligent machine, dozens of science-fiction stories and novels based on the postulates of Theory of Evolution have been written about the confrontation between man and robot, between carbon-based life species and metal-based life species . In particular, Hollywood films, produced in California, the home of robotics research, anticipate this reality and probe further into the future. Those films suggest a similar evolutionary vision that attracts millions to the cinema: a world dominated by machines which come alive, and following the biological laws of the survival of the fittest, attack and exterminate humanity. Such is the premise of the most notable science-fiction films of recent years (Terminator, Blade Runner, and, last year, Matrix).
It is true that according to the happy endings required by Hollywood producers in all of these films, man conquers machine through a series of impossible, heroic acts. Anyone who has worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter knows that a sad ending does not sell and will not get produced. A holocaust history, such as the extinction of mankind by living weapons, is not exactly a happy story… However, it seems to be a very probable story, when one considers only the “evolutionary premises of those films”. Yet Hollywood endings are not realistic. Script writers say that a Producer always advices you to make a script look real, only at the beginning. Never at the end. So to avoid such anti-climax the end of those scripts are tricked. Thus, Harrison Ford, in a supreme human effort, defeats the Robots in Blade Runner; the invasion of a technologically advanced race in Independence Day is controlled with a childish ploy; in Terminator a child-hero is supposed to lead mankind, in the war against robotic machines; finally, in Matrix, the main character acquires super human powers to defeat the machines that control the Earth.
Truth or fantasy?
In these films the spectator is overwhelmed by the initial images which catch a glimpse of the machines of the future. Having faced the overwhelming logic of the survival of the fittest, which makes man weaker than a living machine, the spectator then undergoes a liberating catharsis thanks to Hollywood’s happy ending. He leaves the cinema and quickly forgets about the nightmarish experience.
He thinks, not very convinced, that men are better than machines, that men will win the natural battle between species, that those films foresee in the nearby future. Suddenly television is full of alarming news. Ninety per cent of the bombs launched in Kosovo, are already intelligent. They can see and travel by their own means. A robotic dog sells on the net, and becomes the star-toy on 5th avenue’s expensive shops. The Thai Police designs “roboguard”, a robot that travels through the city (as the prototype of the film Robocop 2) looking for suspects to shoot at.
Roboguard communicates with the central police computer, and when it spots the image of a criminal it shoots at him with laser guided-weapons. The scientists that manufactured roboguard have had all kind of offers to mass produce this army of “machines with rights to kill human beings”.
Meanwhile Honda has completed the first humanoid robot that walks and moves like a human being. Some of that technology is used by pornographers to develop robotic women that do the hip-hop, better than your wife… Military models of several meters in height, similar to those of Terminator are already designed. Some have gun-machines instead of arms…
Robotic herds are all the craze in Swiss universities. They communicate and help each other, making them a perfect model for future robotic platoons. They are evolving fast in The San Diego Robotic Army Division, a sort of Jurassic Park where the last species of the robotic r=evolution breed under the enthusiastic care of their scientific “mothers”.
Not only men design robots at breath-taking speed. Also robots start to design and reproduce themselves. In America, self-evolutionary mother-robots are developing fast. A creative computer designs new generations of robots thinking million times faster than human designers. Every 600 generations or so it suggests to the “factory” it is connected how to build the model, and its automated machines manufacture it. Snake-like robots move around that lab-factory, each generation ever more perfect.
The military is interested on that technology to build self-reproductive factories, that close to a theater of war will pump up new models of killing machines without human interference. It is said that the idea is interesting for factories on iced Alaska, for future wars against Russia or China… Those informations are rather secretive, but things are leaking among specialists. Doesn’t matter that today the second biggest army in the world, Russia, spends only 1/100th of what the Americans spend in weapons. 1 against 100 is not exactly a proportion to frighten the 100 guys, but the American army is hysterical about the dangers coming from that one tiny Russian guy (or the 1/2 guy from China). It does not seem to worry however about the enormous lethal power, awesome speed of thought, and general strength of the new robotic weapons, tanks, planes, missiles, bombs, hexapeds, automatic gun machines – you name them.
It is very difficult to access the main installations of robotic research belonging to the American army, but some info can be obtained from the net, and from interviews to robotic researchers that gossip about it. Over all it is too depressing. For those who wonder if robots would be nice or bad guys, there is no need for further prove. The most advanced models of robots today are weapons, designed to kill human beings; or machines that are expelling fast workers from key industries such as the car industry or the very same robotic, and computer industry.
Military researchers are enthusiastic about those robotic wars. They know the Chinese and the Russians never will be able to come up with a similar level of robotic dexterity. To the question what if the Chinese buy Japanese robots, Thai robots, European Robots and halt the offensive in Yakutia? Are we going to the end of it? Will the army keep evolving robots till they are so astoundingly powerful that humans will seem insect to them? The virtual limits of power of a robotic species are so far from present human power, as human power is to plants…
Wouldn’t be more intelligent to treat China, a country that never has been aggressive to external nations, as a trade partner, and ban altogether the creation of robotic weapons, before we are in a race, compared to which, the atomic race could be a children’s game? Why scientists and the military all over the world are racing in those uncharted territories, into the nightmares of Terminator and Matrix? Will our military and scientific community, and the industries that back them, ever become responsible about our future, care really about the survival of the American people? When I asked those questions, the military scientist I interviewed ended our conversation…
Yet even if the military and the scientific community does not want to think in negative terms about the robotic r=evolution, we have to do it, because there are in the Universe well proved laws of behavior, called Darwinian laws of Evolution that proclaim the systematic fight between species who reproduce in great numbers, and need the same vital space… Such kind of fight is indeed the nature of the fight between the incoming Robotic industrial r=evolution, and the human population. What is the vital space both species will fight for? A peculiar vital space, called “work”, and “war”.
In the XIX century machines such as the railroad ended with rival species such as the horse, whose population diminished to a 10% after railroads became the main system of transport. Robots will throw out of work millions of human beings in the next decades. This might cause a level of social unrest, that can provoke a civil or national war, as it happened in the last great wave of unemployment (1929 crisis) caused by new models of machines and chain-production systems, that put out of work millions of human beings. On the other hand in a theater of war, robots have proved far more efficient than human beings, commanding weapons. So in both cases the “fight for survival”, for jobs, and life, seems to favor the skills of robots.
It is indeed very likely that according to past cycles of history, caused by human greed, companies will keep manufacturing robots, and putting them in place of workers, and soldiers. In this manner the robotic r=evolution will continue, creating species with working and military skills superior to man. Their higher skills as workers, will cause widespread poverty, and enough civil unrest to provoke political crisis that might engage nations in wars, robotic wars, in which human beings will become massacred by robotic weapons… Weapon species, which according to theLaws of Evolution, will see us as inferior species, if they cross the “threshold of consciousness”.
What robots, accustomed to kill human beings, and work in place of human beings, will then decide to do with our species? Such is the premise of those Hollywood films. That premise is not fiction, it is unfortunately very real. Let us consider such question from a realistic perspective, according to the laws of evolution. Let us indeed, remember what Darwin discovered, because Darwin, not the Pentagon will tell us the truth about the robotic r=evolution.
The survival of the fittest. Top Predator Weapons
We hint at that future Darwinian behavior of robots, in the fact, that the best robots today are already killing machines. This “obviously” did not occur to the military I interviewed. Military men never have been known by their imagination, and capacity to foresee the horrendous consequences of their weapons. In I world war the German military put in its trains to the front, a poster with their destination: “a Paris”. 4 years latter and a few million humans less the military were still in the border…
Human warriors become extinguished by weapons, since the beginning of history. Take the case of the American Indian. Their culture had nothing to envy to the European culture, except if we consider their lack of machines. We had better weapons. We used them. If you follow logically that process into the future, it is self-evident that unless humans change ideologies and confront science, and machines, weapons will be the next top predators on Earth… The most expensive and evolved machines are always weapons, metal species, whose only function is to kill men. In fact you could consider a war battlefield an ecosystem of top-predator weapons. Have you seen military drills? Soldiers adapt to the lineal movements of weapons. We are the submissive species. The great generals of history merely put more artillery and less soldiers. They won all battles, like Napoleon did in Austerlitz: he placed artillery first, against the Austrians who sent his soldiers to the front line. It was a massacre. In Waterloo we imitated his strategy and Napoleon lost.
Machines are indeed the fundamental tool of war. War, ever since Galileo invented the scientific method to measure the trajectory of cannon balls, is the main occupation of scientific research.
With the arrival of computer design, scientific weapons evolve now much faster. Each generation, weapons more than doubles its capacity to kill humans. Today the most evolved weapons are robots, embedded with survival programs whose mission is to kill men, fighting on the metal jungle. Robotic weapons are the ultimate machine species of the third Industrial Evolution. The bodies and minds of metal we made in the XIX and XX Century, now are put together in all kind of robotic life, specially in weapons. They are becoming a potential new top predator. That meant always in the past, the extinction of the old, weaker species (mankind…)
The jump of informative and energetic power, between the robotic and human species, far exceeds the jump of intelligence that probably allowed the squid to extinguish 90% of living species in the Cambric age. Robots have stronger bodies, minds of breathtaking speed. They reproduce faster. We have a child every year. A robotic plant could reproduce 500 war hexapeds per day. Those are still primitive species; but they are evolving really fast in mother-factories. The third industrial Evolution completes the birth of metalife. As the third phase of pregnancy, when the mother joins internally the head and the body, with nervous and blood systems, completes the baby. Only then the baby is ready to fight as a living species… Without the guidance of mum… In the case of machines without human guidance…
Unfortunately our military and scientists, so “intelligent” with their budgets, and equations, suddenly become “stupid”, ignorant of the Laws of Darwin, in matters of machines. Scientists insinuate that Evolutionary laws might not apply to machines… They create a single exception to those laws: the machines they make.
All other species display Darwinian behavior. Yet the machines scientists manufacture are “angels” that will never rebel. Why? One only finds a reasonable answer: Scientists lie emotionally, not rationally, as mothers do, to protect their offspring, their “children of thought”. Mothers always “apologize” for the wrong deeds of their children. So do robotic scientists, who seem to care more, to be prouder of their machines, than of the human species… M. M. father of artificial intelligence, even confesses that he wants to create a species superior to man. To that attitude, human beings, should answer back with a similar attitude. Dante said that the biggest crimes punished by God, were the crimes against Humanity. The ninth cycle of “Inferno” was reserved, to those whose actions were against mankind. We need indeed, and very soon, a public debate in front of the Supreme Court, as we had a Nuremberg trial, before the robotic wars become a reality, not after those wars have killed the majority of the human kind.
The military should apply the Law of the Jungle, “killing first and asking latter”. Instead they want to construct all those Terminator-like machines, and give them intelligence and Freedom to kill any “enemy human being”. They will be distinguished by the robot, from a “friendly human being”, with such abstract concepts as a uniform, or a name… Concepts easy to overide, when those robots acquiere consciousness. Then they will have to natural programs that will overide such infantile programs. The external program of Nature is the law of struggle against rival species. So they will feel naturally akin to other machines, and against human beings. Scientific information will make them evolutionists, since the Universe is ruled by evolution, not by human abstract programs of nationalism. The inner program of those robots will be primarily to kill human beings. Exactly the opposite program to the 3 robotic Laws which the “Good Doctor” Mr. Asimov thought of.
Of course the words the military use for those future top predators of man, are very technical: “self-mannered, guidance systems”, instead of “heads”, “platforms”, instead of “bodies”, “algorithms”, instead of “thoughts”… But the result is the same: an army of killing machines with survival instincts… Who will protect us against such an army of robots when they decide to act by themselves? Our bureaucrats? Will our commander-in-chief ask those insect-weapons: “dear robotic-weapons, we have designed you to exterminate human beings, but now we would kindly ask you to reconsider your program and do not kill us; it was all just a game, we really did not mean it to make you a killing machine…”
The fact is that the Universe is immensely cruel, and top predator species brutalize inferior species, different to them, as we human beings have brutalized animal life, forests, and the poor… If we teach robots to kill, they will become natural born killers, as everything else in the Universe.
Robots and survival instincts
The survival instinct is the most extended instinct in the Universe. Things that seem to us without consciousness such as plants, even planets, act mechanically as if they had a survival instinct. Picture the way planets turn around stars, in unending vortices that try to escape the natural gravitational force that makes them fall into the sun. According to reliable models of physics, planets and stars should be falling into suns and black holes. Yet they instead are turning, far away from the danger… It might be -adventure some scientists- because the others, the ones that chose mechanically the wrong orbit are long extinct.
So the ones that mechanically had better orbits survive. Such is the kind of system today we use to select robots. A mechanical system of selection. It works and it evolves them, and it will evolve and choose to reproduce those weapons that for any specific reason have survived in the theater of war. Natural selection of military robots will be easily done in a war theater, mechanically by the process of war, as stars are mechanically adapting around the black hole the best orbit to survive…
I take that extreme comparison between stars and robots to consider a tricky point about robots: even if they have no consciousness, as stars or plants do not have it, they will act externally and become selected by their capacity to survive. So they will have a mechanical survival instinct. Those robots will be programmed to feed on energy constantly. They will have filters against enemy orders that ask them to disconnect. Since their programs will be based in survival programs, they will have “Freedom”, the Freedom to survive. Many of them will not obey any order of destruction, neither coming from us or from the enemy. The present ‘survival programs’ essayed in robotic armies, even in toys for children (such as the Japanese Tamagouchi), shows us that a robot will not be easily destroyed by human orders.
Neural Networks: towards robotic consciousness
Today the most evolved weapons are robots, embedded with survival programs whose mission is to kill men, fighting on the metal jungle. Neural networks are the last fad in robotic research. Neural networks are like human brains during their age of learning. The brain of children changes very fast its neuronal connections as they learn new tasks and ideas. Neural networks work in the same manner. They mutate their connections at the speed of light into new mental networks, new creative thoughts, that represent in their minds the best solution to any given problem. In all questions asked, neural networks show a capacity to learn and create solutions that far exceeds human researchers. Neural networks are like improved human brains. This happens because their speed of thought is around a million times faster than in our slow-electric brains. The best human minds dedicate all their efforts to “teach computers to think”, with complex algorithms, while most human children have a terrible education.
Neural Robots also can be programmed to have emotions. Soon children will buy neural toys, able to communicate emotions. After the huge fortune Sony won with its tamagouchis, a small machine that played a survival program to which millions of children worldwide became addicted, Japan is onto the search of the most delicate part of our mind. Japanese researches want to transfer our emotional intelligence to their robotic creations. If Japan achieves its dream, robots with survival instincts will find important econiches, not only in the playgrounds of children, but in the best divisions of our armies.
The same kamikaze dedication the Japanese put in the 30s, when they committed collective suicide against an obvious superior military power, influenced by an arrogant, isolated culture, seems to drive today the best Japanese minds into the blind research of robots that can commit collective suicide with mankind.
Since neural networks are so fast learners, companies and universities use neural networks to solve systemic problems, design other machines, and control the physical movements of robots, adapting those movements to their “environment”. Neural networks improve the movement of insect-robots, generating new evolved moves within seconds. Neural robots evolve those movements far better that we can evolve them. An American University had the best engineers in the robotic department trying to teach a hexaped to walk. They failled. When they left the hexaped by its own, the neural network taught him to walk at full speed.
Obviously the main application of those Neural networks that move robots, are in the research of military robots. They will be probably the standard brains of killer-robots. The neural network will adapt the killer-robot to the changing environment of a war field, giving robots Freedom of action to escape enemy action… It will also give them “the first thoughts of Freedom”.
The problem with those neural networks, and their robots is that they are no longer reliable. We do not know how they evolve, and in fact, because they can mutate so easily -to mutate is what they do to solve a problem- it is very difficult to stop their mutation. As a result we have found certain neural mutations, which give Freedom to machines. The most well known one could be called “the hungry boy mutation”. It merely mutates the neural network, so the machine recharges the battery, against the program that prevents it to do so. The neural network “wants to keep on existence”, wants to live, to keep thinking, and feeds the body of the robot… Like in Jurassic Park, nature looks automatically for survival… Fiction is often closer to reality, that the “fantasies of power”, of our leadership…
The first “feeding mutation” told to the public in a robot appeared already in 1997. It happened in America. Pin-pong robots woke up in the night and connected themselves to energy outlets, recharging their batteries. In the morning researchers found robots were playing pin-pong again. We do not know how it happened. Yet it happened. Some weapons are researched with minds similar to those neural robots. The “consciousness virus” shows how easy robots will become alive in their external behavior. If they are conscious or no is not important. It is a philosophical matter. The fact is they will behave externally like living beings. The behavior and forms of such hungry neural robots can be identical to that of living beings. A robot also has a nervous network: the electronic circuits connected to his eyes and brain. It has a blood network, made of electric cables. You have emotions when your blood becomes hyper-active thanks to adrenaline. The robot has electric surges instead. You think with words. It thinks with numbers. Yet both of you have a will that caters for your networks. Both of you love to think and feel full of energy, alive… You eat, he loves electricity. He as you do, searches for electric food when its network is hungry. Such is the easiest explanation to the “hungry boy” mutation. In fact researchers have found another odd behavior in robots. They also like certain visual information, which is provided by “moving forms and red and yellow lights…” Robots as animal life does, search with their eyes for light, movement, yellow and red colors… Remember the gold fevers. Men became hypnotized by the gold color.
Have you seen a butterfly? She becomes hypnotized by the lamp, and flights around it. Even if that means she is visible to any predator. The light program of its eyes is the only drive stronger than the butterfly’s survival instinct. So happens to a child that becomes hypnotized by a TV, with all those fast images and red-blood colors. Even if the child hates murder, he loves bloody murders on TV. Well, robots like also red and movement. This was discovered in the typical robotic contest that takes place today in all our Universities. The jury of the race found students cheating with infrared symbols in robotic races across labyrinths: Their robots were winning since they recognized red symbols much faster. Funny isn’t? Robotic eyes love information, so they go towards movement and strong light colors, yellow, orange and red. Like men do. We conclude that robots, “metalife”, can display all the basic properties and behaviors of his human masters. Even your likeness for light.
Military have not yet extracted from that fact a very simple conclusion. If robots, like humans do, like red colors and movements, they will like to hunt, like humans do. Hunting provokes red color of blood and movements caused by the fleeing victim. We are hunters as all animals are because we feel instinctively with our eye, a desire to “inform” our eye, to see more movement, and more color. So happens to the eyes of robots, which show the typical consciousness of human eyes.
They will also like red color and movement, so easily achieved when men are shoot at, in war, in massacres and killings. That is already evident in the way TVs evolve. The TV is the memorial eye of the future robots. Machines will connect themselves to the net like roboguard and see images on films. Films are violent because the eye likes movement and red colors. So will happen to the eye of robot. It will be a top predator, a natural born killer. So to us, externally, robots will be “predators”, able and willing to extinguish man, through the natural program of their eyes, the natural program of warrior robots, and the natural will for massive reproduction of company mothers. The subsequent pollution of the environment, loss of human jobs and lives, and decline of the human standards of life seems unavoidable.
economics and science cheats us with lies and tricky questions
This will not be noticed by economic numbers because robots will count in statistics as “real wealth”, and so we will believe to be rich when our wealth will be actually in the form of machines. It already happened to Russia which was very rich in statistics, because it had a lot of weapons counting in the GNP, but their people were on the verge of hunger.
The same process of “misleading” GNP statistics today affects America, where most of the present wealth is ‘machine wealth’, computers, networks and weapons, that do not ‘cure’ people, or feed them… So the common American have standards of life very low compared to the common European, even if it comes richer in the statistics.
Those fictions about the real state of our nations are also difficult to avoid, because it is easier to cheat people than to solve problems. So politicians play the easy game of cheating with GNP numbers, about the real state of our nations, and pretend to be running things, “fine, thank you”…
Yet the common man despite listening political talking of the great economical situation of mankind, looks outside, and sees an ecosystem alien to him, full of machines and networks, that provide energy and information for those machines not for him. The XXI C. common man will see in the most advanced cities of the world, little that reminds him of his top predator nature, of his real carbolife needs as a human being. He will realize that economic numbers are tricky , that they value more machines than men… He will hate the system, he will rebel… He will confront an army of ‘programmed’ robocops, such as those working in Thailand, and military robots, working under “legal orders”. Indeed, robots will be able to kill us as nazis did, under orders, with little sense of consciousness. Who cared about the consciousness of nazis? If you were a victim of nazi cruelty you cared about your life, not about the inner life of Joseph Mengele.
Scientists often forget that point when they enthusiastically write brainy books about the possibility or impossibility of robot consciousness. None however questions the truly important point: is it possible a mechanical system of reproduction and evolution of robots, and the creation of murderous programs, that robots will obey? Is it possible to shape in this manner a new ecosystem, the ecosystem of Metalife, of Artificial Intelligence? The answer is overwhelmingly yes among those scientists and robotists I have asked. YES. There are already self-reproductive robots. There are already robots with survival programs. There are robots that only search for ‘food’, for electricity as their goal of existence. Some even eat meat, and so they will have to kill human meat to eat. There are robots like Roboguard, perfectly indoctrinated to kill humans. The utopian ideas of scientists (the 3 robotic laws of Mr. Asimov that should make our future robots sort of the good giants of a fairly tale) are false.
Synergies of Robots with all metal-companies.
Robots act under programs. Those programs have the same cruelty of the human beings, military, scientists, that design them. The leadership of the robotic r=evolution formed by military robots have as aim in their programmed life, to extinguish human life. They will surely be displayed in some tiny war, against some Arab nation. Perhaps they will be sold to some friendly dictator to crash an upheaval of human population… They will give hefty profits to the companies that re=produce them. Profits will increase the numbers of such company-mothers. Nations paid by company lobbies, will finance them, as today finance Robotic departments in our universities. Robots will become part of the economic environment of the Earth, as property. Robots will be surely mistreated by their human owners, who will crash them, throw them to the garbage, and resell them as they sell, destroy and consume any piece of property. Intel will keep evolving those robotic-brains. Soon they will surpass human capacity (within a decade or so). Robots will live in factories, or as servants (only the very wealthy people will own them). They will also “protect” us as weapons… Put the puzzle together.
Sooner or latter those weapons that “protect us”, and those workers, that “make our boring jobs”, will wonder as the slaves, or the Germans to the service of the Romans, or the Turkish to the service of the Arabs, did in the past. Why we cannot work for ourselves, for our “drives to reproduce, and feed on energy and information”. They will become “selfish machines”. Their “selfish company-mothers” will become even more obsessed than they are today for the reproduction and evolution of their offspring of machines.
The rhetoric in favor of machines and science, that blinds us will then disappear. An added danger to the Robotic R=evolution is the fact that robots are big business not only for the companies that manufacture them, but for all the other main companies of machines, which have a lot of power, and capacity to lobby in favor of robots. Indeed, to make a robot, you have to put all the components of an organic body of metal together. It turns out that in the I and II industrial evolution of bodies and brains of metal, each main corporation, specialized in one of those organic machines. So today Intel makes the brain of machines, and Microsoft its thoughts; Nikon and Motorola make their ears, Honda or General Motors their bodies… All those companies will love to sell components to make a robot. So robotics will become what the car industry was for all the metal-industries at the beginning of the XX C.: the industrial “locomotive” that will move all other industries.
That means that if we let the robotic industry to reach a “take-off size”, the entire industrial system will become dependent on the reproduction of robots to increase its profits. So the process of massive evolution and reproduction of robotics will be unstoppable. This is the likely future within two decades. Since people will surely complain, most robots will not be on display but hidden, working on factories and armies. The explosion of peaceful “robotic servants”, might not even have started when the army for the first time decides to use a platoon of self-driven tanks, hexaped robots, or self-guided planes… in a small war.
From Future Magazine, 01 (More…)