Stay Woke: Awaiting the Inevitable Robot Revolution
I don’t know how we got there, but we did: three roommates, casually conversing about the 2016 election cycle, casually talking about white nationalism and anti-immigration, and casually, with no recollection of the twisting conversational path that brought us to this point, discussing the inevitable Robot Revolution that will change humanity as we know it.
The conversation began with Donald Trump and ended with intelligent androids — a fairly common sequence of events in the dimly-lit living room of 106 S. College Ave. We decided that we might be better off living in the mountains; that Apple is getting a little bit freaky; that someday, maybe 10, maybe 20 years from now, engineers will program a robot to be so intelligent it will outsmart humans and change the course of our species’ existence. Call me paranoid, but when they come to dominate society, I’ll be peacefully waiting in my shanty mountain shack — sans iPhone.
Ok, I remember. Here’s how our conversation arrived at this grim conclusion:
Roommate Harry and Roommate Michael are sitting in the living room. I’m in my bedroom, changing. We’d been talking about the election, American intolerance and the future of our country. “So,” I say, “when do you guys think the next Industrial Revolution will be?” (This is a fairly normal thing to ask in my circle of friends. Sometimes, when we get a beer or six in us, we discuss globalization and the social construct of race. Sometimes, we talk about women, but not often.)
There’s a pause. “I don’t know,” Michael says. “I think it’ll be the robots.”
“Yes dude,” Harry says. “Yes dude, yes dude, yes dude.”
“Robots?” I ask.
“They’re scary man,” Harry says, wide-eyed. “They will take our jobs and they’ll run society and humans will be slaves to the robots. Here’s one thing to know about me: I do not fuck with robots.”
(If there’s anything to take away from this odd little piece about the Robot Revolution, it’s that Harry absolutely, 100 percent does not fuck with robots. Got it?)
“Ok. But how long will this be? Technology is progressing faster than ever before, but is there actually a legitimate threat that robots will become smart enough to take over the world?” I ask.
Michael chuckles a little and looks to the floor, shaking his head. “It’s gonna be soon, man,” he says.
Hear me out. Back in the late 1700s, the idea of assembly lines, textile factories and mechanical levers pushed and pulled by the power of steam was totally foreign. Within 50 years, the Industrial Revolution was in full swing. Masses of workers migrated to large cities to work in factories. Primary school systems were modeled to fit the needs of such an economy. Tables and chairs were no longer hand made by the local carpenter. Everything — from mining to agriculture to transportation — moved further and faster than ever before in the course of humanity. The richest men to ever walk this earth came up from nothing to thrive in an industrial society — building great empires of steel and rails and spreading their power up and down the Atlantic coast and westward to the new great cities of western civilization: Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco.
There’s a quote by the rapper Drake, a rapper I don’t particularly like, and this quote is actually the title of his album, an album I thought was pretty decent for a rapper I don’t particularly like, and the title of the album is “Nothing Was the Same,” and that’s a good way to describe the world pre- and post-Industrial Revolution.
Today, we’re in the middle of the technology boom. I don’t have studies to back up this claim. I just think it’s true, and if this election cycle taught me anything, it’s that if you truly feel something, then it must be true. Nine years ago, Apple changed the world when it released the 1st generation iPhone, which could surf the Internet with ease. In less than a decade, owning a smart phone is as common and American as Type 2 Diabetes.
Scientists and engineers are creating machines that can beat the greatest chess minds in the world and dominate humans in Jeopardy. Imaginative script writers are writing movies about humans falling in love with these intelligent programs, climaxing with the most awkward sex scene ever filmed. (I would know. I watched it with my mom.)
Forget futuristic Joaquin Phoenix. Robots are already ruining sex.
It’s only a matter of time. We will build something so smart and so powerful that we won’t be able to control it. The robots will be advertised as house cleaners and cheap labor. Millions of blue collar jobs will go to the robots. The economy will plummet, and before we know it, we’ll be living in the Robot Revolution.
As an American society, we need to stop discriminating against Muslims and other minorities. Refugees and immigrants will come to this nation and there’s a 99.99 percent chance your life will not change at all because of it. It’s time to come together and unite humanity against what will ruin your life: sex-ruining, job-taking, world-dominating robots.