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5 Machines That Are Already Learning Humanity's Weaknesses

Being wiped out by Terminators is one of humanity's greatest fears, when it's really wishful thinking. We flatter ourselves that the machines would need hyperalloy killingmotrons. The average modern human isn't even a match for a malfunctioning escalator, and millions are already being defeated by nothing more than phones with pizza on speed dial.

Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
"Hi, this machine that constantly reports my location to a global computer network is helping me make myself slower moving!"

If the machines ever do become sentient and dispatch deathbots, it'll only be to make us feel better, because the devices that already know our weaknesses are just too embarrassing.

#5. Slot Machines

Slot machines are a diagnostic of everything we still need to fix in the human brain. It's normal to throw a couple of dollars in to try them out, because paying attention to new, loud, and shiny objects used to be good survival instincts before television.

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By the time they notice that the hungry wolves aren't a nature documentary, it'll be too late.

Slot machines are reverse swear jars -- you put money into them and then curse -- and have the same effect on a functional mind: teaching you not to do that again. Homo sapiens is defined by being able to learn from experience and use tools. Slot players do the exact opposite.

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The same emotions as a monkey with a stick, but the opposite contribution to progress.

Slot machines are the most existentially obvious scam: The fact that they're there proves that they make money for the casino by taking it away from everyone else. Anything the player says after that point isn't an argument, it's an error report from their brain. In fact, they shouldn't be called players, because that word implies skill. They're more involved in "playing" the casino septic system, where at least they affect when things come out the other end. And the fundamental laws of existence prove that they'll always push out less than they fed in. Slot machines have users in the same way drugs do, except even the gummiest crystal meth head isn't being conned into paying for his own body chemistry.

Slot machines are the lint traps of society. There should be slot machines on every street corner, and every cent they collect should be spent on education.

#4. Tamagotchiville

Another science fiction fear is total computer control of humanity by beeping implants. But the sale of 76 million Tamagotchis means that the machines can already track our most mentally vulnerable with less circuitry than a Game & Watch. And it doesn't even need a strap, because the fleshslave volunteers to carry it.

Tomasz Sienicki
The exploding collars from The Running Man had the same effect on your higher functions.

Deep down the human brain needs to achieve something. That's why so many people are unhappy despite eating and sleeping as much as they want. The desire to achieve is what conquered the globe, mastered the atom, and thrust us into space. Unfortunately, this drive for ultimate self-improvement is less intelligently wired than a 1960s Ford. The Tamagotchi short circuits it, jamming a bit of cheap silicon across the terminals to start the engine without being able to drive anywhere. And it's the intellectual equivalent of feeding a hose from the exhaust to the cabin.

The Tamagotchi was a button you pressed and it told you well done. That's masturbation for your sense of achievement, but without the same level of physical exercise and imagination of regular jerk/schlicking. It puts users lower on the self-respect scale than lab rats, who at least need the electrode jammed into their brain before they'll start obeying machines. The Tamogotchi also decides when you have to press a button, and if you don't the sliver of melted sand becomes hungry, unhappy, or rebellious, or it shits itself. Yes, you need to clean up after that. When the video game is deciding when the player has to play, a very important human-machine dynamic has been put into reverse.

Bandai
"OBEY!"

They even invented the TamagoChu, a version that does the same things but doesn't require any player interaction. That's sadder than a kitten being orphaned by everything else in the universe dying simultaneously. That's not a product; that's laziness, stupidity, and entitlement embodied in the worst possible triforce of gaming for people who want the full Tamagotchi experience without being bothered to press buttons. It's also worrying, as the machines are clearly preparing to do without us.

via Morinomoments
TamagoChu also came in breeding pairs, in case your science-fiction-danger sense wasn't alerted yet.

What's worse is that Tamagotchi haven't gone away: Like Skynet, they've morphed into invulnerable computer programs. And like Skynet, they did it in a truly terrible sequel to something that was already pretty bad for humanity. Every FarmVille game is an invincible Tamagotchi, advertising expendable humans who've deciding that jerking off computer numbers is more important than fellow meatsacks. That's not just wasting human lives, that's recruiting collaborators for the machine war.

#3. Escalators

Some people say machines are making us lazy, and not one of them has ever hand-picked potatoes or footed turf in the rain. (Ireland is one of the few countries to still dig up coal before it's ready and call it something else.) The point of technology is replacing individual effort with shared intelligence. We've used technology to screw exercise so hard that when we invent sexbots, they're going to spend 99 percent of their time on top.

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
In the future, this will be the only technology to use Imperial units.

The real weakness escalators understand is selfish stupidity. Every escalator in the world knows that most humans wouldn't take one step to consider their fellows, even when they're being saved a hundred more steps by motorized metal platforms. There's a certain species (slightly below Homo sapiens) that gets on the escalator, is now getting what they want, and is therefore immune to every other being on the planet. So they park themselves across a technological marvel designed to move everyone forward, getting in everyone else's way, thereby becoming the perfect analogy for their own effect on the human race: slowing it down.

On any escalator, you walk left, stand right, otherwise you are physically telling every person behind you to kiss your ass.

Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
"Use tongue, to make sure you physically understand how shitty I am."

If mall escalators understand our selfishness, airport escalators will be the first witness for the prosecution when the Circuit Court decides we're too stupid to live. Modern airport escalators are protected by barriers of twisted metal that would have foiled the D-Day landings. The first time I saw this opposite of a child's playground (angled tube metal designed to prevent people from hurting themselves), I hadn't even got through thinking "Why do we need a steel Stonehenge to protect an escalator?" when a team of five men started wrestling to lift a luggage cart the approximate size, mass, and escalating lethality of a Bradley tank over it.

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Luke McKinney

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