Friday, July 15, 2005

We Love to Hate Them

I was watching the Season 2 Premiere of Battlestar Galactica tonight, and it got me to thinking...why are conscious machines nearly always portrayed as the enemy in science fiction?

The Terminator, Agent Smith, HAL 9000, the Cylons... all bad guys. Sure, there are a few exceptions, like Data and R2D2, but the good machines are severely outnumbered. Why is that? Is it because we, as humans, are afraid of losing control to our own creations? Hollywood has had quite a bit of success playing up to this fear, and the trend continues. The new movie Stealth (in theaters July 29) features an unmanned fighter plane that goes berserk and starts killing innocent people. It seems to me that all these negative examples will cause people to be awfully apprehensive when truly intelligent AI is eventually introduced into society. If all the fictional accounts of the advancement of AI are intrinsically tied to doom and disaster, it stands to reason that the average person will naturally be prejudiced against the acceptance of intelligent machines. Just something to chew on...

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