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Is Technology Going To Kill Us? Paging Mr. Schwarzenegger!
Twenty seven years ago we were introduced to an interesting story about the possible future of mankind. In 1984 "The Terminator" hit movie screens everywhere, making one of the weirdest last names in the history of film a household name. Arnold Schwarzenegger's time travelling cyborg assassin goes back in time to stop the one man who may pose a threat to the new master race, which turns out to be..computers!? It may have been farfetched 27 years ago, but it's funny what a difference a quarter century can make. Get ready for life to imitate art.
Now I know it's hard to believe that it's been so long since "The Terminator" hit the big screen (even harder to believe how old I'm getting), but what is even harder to believe is the huge difference between that movie and its sequel. In 1991 "T2: Judgment Day" terminated any thoughts of an action movie ever being the same again. The bar had been risen and James Cameron wasn't the only culprit. This Bonnie and Clyde act included the assistance of the same thing John Conner was fighting against...computers. The special effects were out of this world! Due to the incorporation of Computer-Generated Imagery, better known as CGI, we were able to see impossible things happen right before our eyes, and it looked real! Who's jaw didn't drop the first time saw T-1000 morph? Or when he was in a police uniform chasing down a car after shaking off shotgun rounds to the body? He regenerated whenever he was wounded, it was cool, it looked realistic, and it was all courtesy of computers. How ironic right? What's more ironic is the fact that the main star of these movies is now back in the public eye during a time when many 'End of the World' theories are at the height of their popularity and logic.
Are We There Yet?
As many of us are aware, there are several 'End of the World' theories running rampant right now. You have the 2012 theory, the World War III theory, the niribu theory, and all of the countless bible theories, all of which have timetables that are closely upon us. Hey coincidently there's even a theory that today is supposed to be the 'End of The World,' but I want to concentrate on one subject here...computers. In the "Terminator" movies an artificial intelligence tecchnology by the name of 'Skynet' is developed by Cyberdyne Systems for Strategic Air Defense. The system becomes self aware and decides to fight for its survival even though it's in no danger of existence. Hmm sounds like they made this thing a little too much like humans. This movie was definitely ahead of its time. Who knows how close we are. Arnold, take your hands off the maid and get the shotgun. We might need your help!
Remember back in 1999 when everyone thought all Hell was going to break loose due to a numerical error in the worlds computer systems? Someone like forgot to carry the 1 or something. Right now it may be a joke but back then Y2K had most people fighting in supermarkets for bottled water and chicken noodle soup. People were taking their money out the bank and stashing it under their mattresses, wait was that 1999 or 2009? Either way things were looking bad. And what did we do do after waking up on January 1, 2000 after we opened our tightly closed eyes one at a time? The answer is nothing, we did nothing. People put their money back in the bank, complained about the amount of canned soup they spent their money on and partied like it was 1999, wait what? It was all over we were safe, yay! Problem solved, 'Mission Accomplished.' Are we really that dumb? Please don't answer that. We should have learned a lesson the first time. We had a gun pulled on us and when the trigger was pulled it jammed. We might not be so lucky next time.
Are We There Yet?
The year is 2011, and if you think about it we are already in the future. Remember when all of the old books, television shows, and movies use to refer to the future, what did most of them have in common? The answer is the time period. It was always two thousand this (2001: A Space Odyssey) or twenty that (2012). We made it, yay! Okay so we don't have flying cars yet, and as far as I know we haven't made contact with any extraterrestrial being yet, though if we did have one the government would probabaly say it was dead and quickly bury it at sea before we could see it. What we do have is...computers. Computers that are so small they can fit into the palm of our hands. Computers that give us the news no matter how idiotic it is, while its happening. Computers that not only tell us where we are but where we're going as well. Computers that hold our money for us so that we don't have to lug it around with us all day (how nice of them). We even have computers that will laugh out loud for us even when we don't feel like laughing. Who even needs a friend when you have computers right? Wrong. With friends like these you won't need enemies.
It's Elementary My Dear Watson
For thirty minutes I watched while a computer named 'Watson' destroyed the two best contestants in Jeopardy history. It wasn't even close. I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't mind having this thing around if it was smaller and had the capability to change a diaper but me, I'm different, I see the pros with the cons. Our reliance on computers is convenient but is it necessary? I do like being able to pay my bills online or over the phone but, if something goes wrong where does that leave me? Not too long ago the New York Stock Exchange experienced a massive sell off that was allegedly caused by a computer glitch. Imagine we have another 'glitch' and this time we can't fix it. What is the consequence of turning our monetary system from the gold standard to worthless paper, from worthless paper to numbers on a computer screen? Some peoples life savings are on a bar code, one swipe or mouse click away from disappearing. Where are we going? We are so reliant on computer that we question our own minds and senses sometimes, blindly following the commands of artificial 'intelligence.' You've all heard the stories, some of you have even been in the scenario. A motorists drives into a lake or into a tree because their 'Navigation System' told them to turn right or left. What's even more unbelievable about these stories is the fact that most of the time the driver knows that he or she is driving off the road but by the time they actually accept the fact that buddy has made a mistake it's too late. As bad as this all sounds it is unfortunately only a tip of the iceberg.
Cold War II
A respected Russian politician named Vladimir Zhirinovsky is claiming that Russia has a weapon that is capable of manipulating the weather. While Vladimir Zhirinovsky is known for his outrageous outbursts, his threats demand the attention of anyone who knows about history. Let us not forget the 'Space Race' and 'The Cold War'. The United States and Russia have been in competition for years with goals set on superiority in arms and technology. Remember the James Bond movies with the spy stuff? Those films may have been exaggerated for entertainment purposes, but if you were to research the facts, some of that stuff was true. If you don't believe me you can do the research yourself or you can just wait for the sequel. The U.S. has a 'research program' in Alaska named HAARP which some people believe is actually a weather manipulation weapon, wait what? Yes, déjà vu, where's Pierce Brosnan when you need him, actually we may need the Daniel Craig Bond for this situation. HAARP's website claims that the program is basically "A Premier Facility for the Study of Ionospheric Physics and Radio Science." Now I'm not claiming this to be true or not, I'm just using some information to prove a point. In my opinion I don't know what they're doing all the way out there in the middle of nowhere with a facility that uses radio waves to manipulate the environment of Earth unnaturally but, it can't be anything bad right?
Everything That has A Beginning, Has An End Neo
I use movies a lot to assist my points and observations, and I do this for a good reason. If you pay attention, some movies not all, can actually explain things better than any person can. Just like a book that leaves your mind wondering after you've closed the cover for the final time, movies can trigger a part of the mind that encodes information better and stimulates random thoughts that you would usually suppress or repress. Let's go back to 1999, what a perfect time for "The Matrix" to come out. With Y2K at its peak of popularity a movie about the enslavement of mankind by robots is unleashed. And once again, just like its predecessor its success relied heavily on...computers. In contrast to the "Terminator" films, "The Matrix" mixed philosophy into the apocalypse scenario. It kind of showed us what would happen if the machines won. My question to you is, what would you do? What would your children do? If you woke up one day and all computers ceased to work properly or somehow became self aware and rebelled against us, could you survive? Would you be able to provide food without a grocery store? Would your children know how to cook a meal for themselves without a microwave? Would you know how to get from point A to point B without Tom Tom or Megellan? History has shown us time and time again that it repeats itself. With this being a proven fact, it is only logical that we will have to revert back into more primitive times. A war is coming, and maybe these advancements in technology that make our lives easier may end up doing the opposite. If you think about it, animals and plant life can exist on this planet without altering it in any significant way, but humans are different. We need planes, trains, automobiles, cooked food, cell phones, microwaves, clothes, shoes, condoms, etc. It kind of seems as if this planet wasn't made for us. What do you think?
Thank you for stopping by. This Hub was brought to you by...a computer.