clowns of the future (Part 2 of 3)

Part 1 of this three-parter posited that within 100 years, the human race would be the laughingstock of advanced AI entities, and the only reason they wouldn’t do us in would be our entertainment value.

A couple of people read Part 1 and got a good laugh out of it, and I’m glad. But that was the setup–we now get serious as a heart attack.

Kurt Vonnegut’s early novel Player Piano envisioned a society where all blue-collar labor was eliminated, and the masses felt purposeless. Jack Williamson’s With Folded Hands described the consequences of the computing world’s directive to protect humans from harm; later so did “The Happy Breed,” a story in the Harlan Ellison-edited landmark Dangerous Visions. And Ellison himself wrote “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” in which a supercomputer puts five humans through a Hell that makes Dante’s Inferno look like a walk in the park.

Meanwhile, here and now, driverless cars are safer than human-controlled cars. Robots weld better than we do. We have Siri, a genie-in-a-bottle answerer of questions. And Chaz Ebert, Roger’s wife, was moved to tears hearing for the first time a voice simulator that here and there sounded uncannily like Roger.

Humans screw up, drink, smoke, plot vengeance, and–most crucial to our discussion–create malware, more and more cleverly.

Here’s this screwed-up human’s disarrayed dresser. Stay tuned for Part 3!0312160844-00

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