We recently chronicled ways that robots are already becoming human and subtly hinted that this would someday lead to the destruction of humanity.
"But Cracked!" some of you said, "The development of intelligent, humanoid robots doesn't mean that they're actually dangerous or Terminator-like in any way! ERROR! ERROR! MUST REBOOT." (Note: We are implying that you are secretly a robot.)
Well, let us now detail five real technologies that, according to our calculations, are 100 percent certain to drag us into a nightmare future infested with killer machines shaped like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
5Drones That Can Think
You've probably heard about Unmanned Aerial Vehicles like Predator drones, the pilotless aircraft the CIA loves sending to places like [REDACTED], [REDACTED] and of course [REDACTED]. The evolution of the UAV's role is similar to that of all robots -- they were originally created for noncombat reconnaissance missions, but over time we just couldn't resist strapping missiles onto them and teaching them how to kill. President Obama alone has ordered at least 192 targeted drone attacks during his term.
"Hope and change are all well and good, but sometimes you just need to blast a motherfucker."
But really, UAVs are just big remote-controlled planes, with dudes operating them from the ground. What's creepy about that? It's the same as a regular plane, only the pilot doesn't happen to be on board, right? Did we mention that they're now teaching those bastards how to think for themselves?
Via Wikimedia Commons
"LOL, someone drew a dong in the sand."
Right now, the military is developing new AI patterns that allow drones to "recognize the intent of other aircraft" -- that is, accurately predict what they will do next and decide if they should change their flight course based on that info. These drones will be able to connect to air traffic stations and look up information in databases, then cross-reference that data with the images captured by their cameras to get a "read" on the other aircraft.
"Hey, you wouldn't want us to trust a dumb machine with big, scary missiles."
The military says this technology isn't meant to be used in battle ... but again, neither were the drones, at one point. If they can teach a UAV how to recognize hostile aircraft, the next logical step would be teaching it how to fight them.
"I learned this from you, dad!"
Now, these future independently thinking flying killbots will surely have oversight from the ground, in the form of a human who can take over control if it starts firing wildly at friendlies. This seems like the right time to mention that we've lost control of military drones more often than you think (sometimes over American soil). When that happens, we have to dispatch a manned aircraft to blow it out of the sky before disaster can strike. Fortunately, that's easy because the drones aren't smart enough to sense the intent of the pursuing aircraft and take evasive action. Which of course is the very ability they're trying to add.
Cold robotic efficiency is just one more step in the Navy's war on "Top Gunnery."
But even if a drone outright rebelled against its human masters, we just have to wait for it to run out of gas, right? Fortunately, the Air Force is developing new UAVs that will be powered by their own nuclear reactors, so they can stay aloft for months at a time.
Are we being alarmist? Possibly. Are we extrapolating a Terminator-like future based on the shakiest of evidence? Maybe. But we aren't the only ones who worry about this sort of stuff: The British Ministry of Defense recently released a study warning that continued use of military drones could lead to a "Terminator-like reality."
Via Wikimedia Commons
Seriously, military guys. Making super-smart robots and giving them access
to nukes is pretty much exactly the plot of the Terminator movies.
Thankfully, these things are still relatively easy to take down, because it's not like someone has invented such a thing as an "indestructible robot" yet.