“You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland…” – Morpheus, The Matrix
This is not about The Matrix.
A long time ago, in philosophy class, there was a long discussion about whether human beings perceived life as we know it and lived in “the ‘real’ world” as it was portrayed in the famous yet plot-declining trilogy of the turn of the century. After long debate, it was concluded that the most common sense option was that “no” – man is not plugged into a massive computer and living in a bathtub in some dark hole, but that what is smelled, seen, and touched is actually here. Now. But that man can never prove empirically that is true and thus never be sure. [Eerie pause.]
This has nothing to do with that either.
The world is becoming more… machine.
“He is more machine now than man.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars VI
A recent update from the world of science reveals artificial wombs (ectogenesis) to be on the brink of actual usage and the widespread use a decade away. Massive controversy has already arisen between supporters of relieved child bearing for the mother, and extended ease of parenthood for same sex couples; countered by those who hold the philosophy of natural childbirth as something sacred and also more nutritional for the child as a whole.
In a world where cell phone companies always know where your phone is – and therefore so does the NSA – driver’s licenses will soon be mandated to carry an electronic chip also making the only way for Jack Reacher to stay “off the grid” is to carry neither phone nor identification. And you thought internet tracking was bad. Soon, a machine, somewhere, will basically know where you are at all times.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, the leading electronic vehicle company, warned the world recently of the dangers of A.I. (artificial intelligence) being “greater than nukes,” naturally, since a Terminator-esque self-propelled life-sized action figure could allegedly detonate bombs as well as manually decimate entire cities one by one. This is serious.
The invention of the self-driving Google car is a huge step forward for society: creating easier and in theory, safer ways of transportation. However, the tech provides lock-down capabilities similar to those portrayed in the Spielberg/Cruise film Minority Report whose futuristic tech world was brainstormed by some of the world’s leading scientific minds.
As technology advances, and the world’s electronic systems become more widespread and “smarter,” the question arises: to what end will man create machines that can potentially dominate him? Is there a fail-safe button for the fail-safe button?
As the Greeks said, “Who will guard the guardians?”
If you can invent a code that cannot be cracked, will there be a chain of events we cannot stop? I think that’s what they call “a matrix.”
Morpheus: “I imagine right now, you’re feeling a bit like Alice: tumbling down the rabbit hole?”
Neo: “You could say that.”
Click here to take the red pill
Click here to take the blue pill
A former Internet Marketing Manager, Joe Cunningham is a dad, a screenwriter, playwright and all-around adventurer. He blogs for Kinani Blue and charms Google at Terakeet. You can follow him on Twitter at @IndianaJoe77 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.