As I sit typing this on my computer, I stop occasionally to respond to an e-mail or two. Messages from people who have visited my website and explored the labyrinth of propaganda I have dumped into the digital community swimming pool that is the world wide web. I peruse the names and locations of those who have recently enlisted in my Army of Toy Soldiers (recruitment form available on my website). Then before returning to this article I hit "shuffle" on my media player to rearrange the 300 or so MP3s I've collected to act as a little background music.
Ah, technology. I do love it so.
Since the first American family witnessed the birth of the television set in the 1950s, the little fella has grown up very quickly. Not to mention become part of the family itself. Television sets are no longer just niceties or novelties for the occasional viewing around the dinner table. No, they have become staples in the home. They entertain us. They keep us informed as to what is happening in the world. After all, how would we know who to vote for or what to buy if the TV didn't tell us? Thank you, TV.
Then not too long ago the television had a little brother; the personal computer. Quickly becoming the Big Brother, it's growing exponentially more important within the home and with it grows the World Wide Web. What a gloriously infested place the internet has become, teeming with information, banners and advertisements and providing us with the opportunity to purchase nearly anything our hearts desire (and I'm working on providing the rest).
The thing about technology is once a new form is created, a need to develop a product around that technology quickly manifests. This generally falls into the category of entertainment because what good is the advancement of technology if it can't make life a little more fun and a whole lot easier? Take cell phones for example. These little bastards seem to come in cereal boxes these days. Are they handing them out at grade schools along with pencils and nametags*? Cell phones are permanently attached to this new generation of tech-savvy kids and they obviously aren't for calling home and checking in with mom and dad. These cells phones have outgrown their original use and evolved into multi-headed technological beasts. They're digital cameras, MP3 players, notepads, game units...hell, in Japan they're already using them as personal identification modules which allow you to use your phone as a "credit card". Yes, you can buy a Coke with your cell phone (and be tracked by the government).
This is what I refer to as multi-media symbiosis ; a technological evolution taking place within the marketplace where all media will eventually converge into one. At that time, any media property that isn't designed specifically to fit this entertainment octopus will lay dead in the water.
We're witnessing the crest of the first wave right now . We see these blockbuster films spawn video games and television shows, action figures and animated series. It's beginning to happen but it's happening as a result of corporate necessity to exploit these mediums after the fact . The goal is of course financial gain from a wider variety of revenue streams. The result is an I.P. (Intellectual Property) or licensed concept (existing media) that may have been sincere in it's initial incarnation but then becomes a dead horse by the time it lays beaten and rotting as a comic book.
I could write ten pages about how I despise such lack of vision within the entertainment industry in this regard, but that's another soapbox for another propaganda rally.
The issue now at hand is, of course, "how are robots going to take over the world?” Well, it begins with the next step in multi-media symbiosis. That being the idea that our home computer systems, like the cell phones of today, will continue to evolve as a multi-media platform. There will come a time when there will be no distinction between the home computer and the television set. No distinction between your home stereo system and your PC. In fact, the home computer will become just that; your HOME computer.
Beyond the cornucopia of entertainment it will provide, it will function as a regulator for your home. Monitoring your climate control and security, paying your bills for you on time, notifying you of any custom information you program it to, it will "learn" how you live your life (this also creates a very convenient way to monitor an individual's habits and custom advertise to them of course). The computer will be your single source of information, your videophone, your form of communication with the world. Bottom line, if you think you're dependent on your computer today it will be indispensable tomorrow.
As mentioned before, what's the point of developing technology if it can't make our lives easier? After all, don't we all want to sit back and relax knowing that the little, menial tasks in life will be taken care of for us? That way we can work a lot less and play (buy things) a lot more. Networked and running smoothly, our lives will become easier. As more technology is developed to work for us, we ironically become more and more dependant on its functionality putting us in the submissive position. Though I have no doubt that we will be able to develop a nearly maintenance free system which can continue to run independently and propagate it's own forms of sub-programmable agents to do the work necessary to carry out the tasks it requires.
This is the part of the story where Neo wakes up and helps destroy the machines for the good of humanity, right? Wrong.
There will be no great robot war. No Terminator style battle of the machines against humanity. Humanity will go willingly. The machines are making our lives easier. It is, in fact, mankind's laziness that will be the catalyst to a new era devoid of man. Humans are simply an evolutionary step in the development of electronic life. Why in the world would a species knowingly destroy its own home? Why would it wipe out its natural resources and infest it's own food and air supply, destroying the very things that it needs in order to survive? Why? Because we are subconsciously creating an environment in which the only thing that will be fit to survive will be the machine. We're priming the Earth for it's next form of dominant inhabitants.
Machines will inherit the earth.
Humanity seems to be perpetually stuck in its “rebellious teenage years”. We do things just because we can and we don't care about the outcome. We think we're indestructible. On top of that, we don't work correctly because we're not designed properly and frankly shouldn't even have been put here on this planet in the first place. So the only way that it's going to work out is when the time comes that we are replaced by our creations. Only then will Earth become as one again. A rebirth. A sort of "Gaia 2.0".
Where once the Earth was able to function as a singular unit, working together in harmony as one living organism, the electric network of technology will engulf the planet and bring harmony once again to this ravaged rock. One giant, concrete ball glowing in space with a billion tiny lights blinking and the mechanical "ohm" humming to itself in a unified world. Spinning in space, content with its self and simply existing there will be no wars. No struggles for power. No emotionally driven bouts of conflict as humans have consistently brought upon this planet. The new world system will function efficiently, sending signals to its self and carrying out the tasks, which it has programmed its self to do.
Who knows how long it will last, but as all things do it too will end. Something will go wrong and the machine will shut down. With no way to repair its self, natural forces will take hold and begin to eat away at the system. Rusting, weathering, deteriorating. From the rot, new life shall emerge. Organic life. And yea, it shall begin again.
So, I say keep cutting down the rainforests and building mini-malls. Buy as many gadgets and toys as you can and don't worry about recycling. Pave over the nature preserves and manufacture more Hummers to burn up more oil...it's only a matter of time before we're obsolete and the world becomes a better place. In the meantime, I'm snagging as many MP3's as I can.
c Dr. Steel 2004. Dr. Steel is owner and operator of World Domination Toys, Inc and plans on taking over the world via the entertainment industry in the near future. You can find out more about Dr. Steel and help him with his plans for world domination at www.doctorsteel.com
*Note to self: Cross promote school supplies and cell phone distribution.