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Dr. Strangelove Wasn’t So Strange After All

Topics: Technology | Add A CommentBy admin | September 23, 2009

Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Doomsday Machines and Autonomous Man Killing Robots

I’m convinced that when mankind finally meets its end at the mercy of machines, it won’t be in an apocalyptic “supercomputer decides human race is dangerous and must be destroyed” manner as in films like Terminator Salvation, The Matrix, or Colossus – The Forbin Project. No, you and I know that when machines finally destroy mankind it will more likely be the result of a programming glitch or faulty equipment containing cheap electronic parts made by slave labor in China. Like maybe a programming glitch in the Soviet Doomsday Machine that no-one, including top US government officials seems to know existed. Yes, it seems that as absurd as the film Dr. Strangelove was in so many ways, even the line where Dr. Strangelove points out to the Russian ambassador that “Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is LOST, if you keep it a SECRET!” had a basis in reality. The Russians did have a Doomsday Machine, and they did keep it a secret. The Wired doomsday article just linked to is not breaking news, in fact Slate and Wired both covered the story in 2007, and the book The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy also apparently chronicles the creation of the doomsday machine in 1984 at the height of cold war tension, when the Doomsday Clock was the closest it’s been to midnight since 1952. And if it isn’t the Doomsday Machine, there are plenty of other ways for us to meet our end at the hands of machines. Imagine if an army of autonomous battlefield devices (a nice way of saying “man killing robots”) that are being developed, like the Lockheed Martin Multiple Kill Vehicle (video clip below) the Robotex AH Battlefield Robot or the Boston Dynamics BIGDOG Robot downloaded the latest Windows Update and went on a mindless man killing rampage.

The Lockheed Martin Multiple Kill Vehicle:

The Boston Dynamics BIGDOG Robot