AIs and Mankind Part One: Combat and the Future


The machines are not taking over… right?

Ultimate Computer Star Trek_M5_750

Behold the M5 Computer from Star Trek the original series. It was designed to remotely operate a starship in combat, thus sparing humans from such a dangerous endeavor. What could possibly go wrong? Of course, in the decades since this episode first aired we have seen depicted repeatedly the dangers of machines going amok. Because “evil” machines make such good villains, such plots have outweighed their more benign counterparts.

At a former workplace, the common joking refrain was how the machines were taking over, much like “Skynet” from the Terminator franchise. In the universe of Tethered Worlds mankind is too spread among the stars to be endangered by even a planetary computer gone bad. Additionally, it is implied in Unwelcome Star that humanity has progressed through various eras of human/machine interactions, and now the relationship is settled and mature.

"Why do I have teeth?"

“Why do I have teeth?”

But apparently it did not come without difficult learning experiences. It is said that before the great war that separated humanity into two prominent political regions, mankind went through a disastrous flirtation with androids. That could be the subject of another post by itself. Suffice to say it is quite possible other kinds of incidents also occurred which firmly solidified the boundaries of computer roles in society.

Two centuries after the war, the time of the novels, most of humanity enforces accepted norms for all thinking machines. Combat bots have limited capacity, and are almost always fielded with humans. Greater danger lies in the more powerful thinkers, AIs.  But whole AI lines are unceremoniously pulled from the market if they show a tendency toward unlawful behavior. Profit and self interest keeps large AI creators from endangering their business and/or facing criminal penalty. Society has little tolerance for killing machines, and AIs corrupted to such ends is looked upon even more unfavorably than if done by human hands.

"There's no need for Concern captain. The M5 computer is perfect. It's based on my brain pattern, after all."

“There’s no need for Concern captain. The M5 computer is perfect. It’s based on my brain pattern, after all.”

However any tool (or AI) can be misused, and even with interaction protocols matured, what about war? It’s hard and brutal. Machines “think,” or at least calculate, faster than people. And robots are tougher. We will touch on this and other notions in part II of the post series.

▪ ▫ ▪

Tethered Worlds was not written by machines, nor is it for machines. It is the author’s hope that many humans will go on its adventure, and through the highs and lows come out the other side better for the experience.

The AIs and Mankind Series:

AIs and Mankind part 1: Combat and the Future

AIs and Mankind part 2: Robots and Romance


2 thoughts on “AIs and Mankind Part One: Combat and the Future

  1. I very much appreciate a future set in a “mature” world of machines. Now when I watch any sci-fi movies I steer clear of disastrous AI takeovers, such as “The Matrix”, the self-named movie “AI”, and “I Robot”. When you’ve seen it once, maybe you’re just ready to get back to organic, dynamic human beings. Then you have the more disastrous and morally disgusting relationships with AI’s… and well, I have no time in my life to spare at all for that, unless it is a tastefully-done episode of Star Trek who kept it for the most part family-friendly. But I think your points very real and something to consider for humanity today who is so enamored with their smart machines. Also, considering the type of entertainment that is so popular in America right now (gore, immorality, sex, excessive violence and explosions– basically sensationalizing things we know to be wrong), I don’t see our society coming through the other side of the lures of androids used for many different purposes. Scary, and I hope my generation does not see this come to pass like the poor people of the future in your book series. Thankfully Jordahk has been spared.

    • As long as there is imperfect man and imperfect creations thereof, conflict and misunderstanding will be with us. But noble qualities are all the more amazing originating from such as us. Some of the challenges you mention will still crop up from time to time, but at least a major one like “the machines are poised to destroy all mankind” is not a daily concern for those in the Tethered Worlds universe.

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