Those of you familiar with James Cameron’s classic science fiction series The Terminator may be able to relate with me in my fear that it may someday happen. By “it” I mean the point in time where computers take over the world. You can call me crazy, but as I read Nicholas Carr’s article Is Google Making Us Stupid? I caught a glimpse into Google’s business model and their long term plan.
In The Terminator, the government begins to use a powerful computer network to control its defense systems. This computer eventually becomes “self-aware”—it realizes that the human race is a danger to its existence and it basically starts to make its own decisions. These decisions eventually cause the near extinction of the human race. This point is called “singularity”—the point in time where humans are no longer necessary for computers to function.
With that said, I would like to pose a question. When will Google reach the point of information singularity? When will we cease to control the information that Google provides and when will that information start to control us? I know this sounds far fetched, but consider the following quote by Larry Paige—one of the founders of Google. “If you had all the world’s information directly attached to your brain, or an artificial brain that was smarter than your brain, you’d be better off.” Does that sound scary? It does to me. Now consider the fact that Google is delving into the concept of artificial intelligence.
A vast library of information plus artificial intelligence plus a huge human dependence on Google make me think that something bad may come of this. I will not venture a guess as to what will happen in the future, but when we become so reliant on computers that they start to control us, that is when we have to be careful. I’m not implicating anything specific; I just want to draw a few similarities between a classic science fiction thriller and real life. That’s all I’m trying to do.