What if the Humans Take Over?

By | April 22, 2011

Tuesday was an important day in the future history of our planet, at least for those who buy into the future as presented in the Terminator films. Basically, for those not aware, Tuesday represented the beginning of the end of the world. Entertainment Weekly “reported” as follows:

Last night — while you were eating dinner with your family or sharing laughs with your friends or watching your favorite reality TV shows or doing whatever fine, decent, human thing you do to pass the time on a Tuesday evening — the artificial intelligence system known as Skynet became self-aware. Scientists at Cyberdyne Systems, realizing that their unholy creation had achieved sentience, immediately attempted to delete the program. Skynet interpreted their actions as an indication that the entire human race was a threat, and implemented an extinction agenda, thereby initiating the Dawn of the Age of Robots. EW has received reports from our correspondents around the world that T-800 assault machines are currently marching on all the city’s major cities: Beijing, Mumbai, London, Paris, that city in Canada where the Olympics were that one time, and even that city in Australia with that cool Opera House.

The good news here is that the end of the world hasn’t started — or at least if it has, it has done so in a much more subtle way than described above. The bad news is that we can’t completely rule out an eventual hostile machine takeover / destruction of the planet. Although that sounds crazy to a lot of people, it’s a serious scenario. I have written about it fairly extensively on my other blog, and I highly recommend this site for anyone interested in learning more about the technological singularity and the potential risks associated with unfriendly artificial intelligence.

As outrageous a scenario as a computer takeover of the world may seem , I can think of an even more fantastic possibility, a possibility that I believe evidence suggests is occurring right now.

What if…the humans took over?

Don’t just dismiss the idea out of hand. Consider the evidence. Individual human beings are more thoroughly empowered to learn, to create, to interact, and to modify the world around them than in any prior era. We do things for ourselves that we used to rely on others to do — pump our own gas, file our own taxes, check out our own groceries, plan our own travel — and we as individuals can now do many things that once only large corporations or government agencies could do. Today, anyone who wants to can produce a movie, cut a single, or start a media empire. Not too long ago, it was considered revolutionary when individuals had at their disposal publishing capability that once belonged only to large organizations. Today we take it for granted that empowered individuals play at least as large a role as big organizations in managing natural disasters or reshaping the political landscape.

Think about it: are the humans are taking over?

What’s interesting about this scenario is that it involves machines, too. In fact, technology is one of the prime enablers of an eventual human takeover of the planet. With better information at their disposal, people are able to manage their own health, their finances, and their careers like never before. Equipped with better information, people are doing astounding things with their own bodies and are gaining an ability to manipulate the world around them like nothing that’s ever been seen before.

What happens next? That’s hard to say. But one good guess is that we’ll have more say in what happens than we would have before.

It sounds outrageous, but it just might be happening:

The humans are taking over.

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Cross-posted from Transparency Revolution. Please leave comments there.