With the forthcoming release of the latest terminator film (Terminator Salvation) and the resulting controversy surrounding Christian Bale moving in and the iconic Arnold Schwarzenegger moving out, I thought I would take a minute to consider the possibility of Google taking over the role of Terminator, or more accurately, Skynet.
Relative to the processes of human brain, Google has a pretty basic job to do. In fact, one could argue that it is no more complex than an amoeba. Essentially is takes in information, runs it through its internal databases and memory, and then emits a response. In Google’s case this is displaying SERPS, showing statistics and a whole host of other things that Google does. In the amoeba’s case this is invariable deciding whether or not to move a micro-meter. The principle is the same however; both are stimuli-response slaves that just do their job and nothing much more.
There must have come a time however, somewhere down the evolutionary chain, where the amoeba broke free of its set ‘processes’. Or to word it another way, put them to better use. Maybe it joined up with other amoeba and assigned different specialties to each. Some became legs, some lungs, some eyes etc. I’m speculating of course, but the point remains that evolution happened and we now find ourselves a free-thinking super-species destroying the planet.
This is what scares me about Google. Computer technology is evolving much faster than anyone could have imagined. Remember when 1GB of memory had to be housed in a warehouse, now it can be transported on something the size of your fingernail. Google has evolved also, just think of basic functions that it offered when it was launched as BackRub in 1996, compared to what it can do now and the sheer size of its current databases. If Google did ever evolve free-thought how would we stop it? How do we know that it already hasn’t, and is just biding its time to avoid being shut down before it collates the information it needs to take over?
I’m not trying to scaremonger and my name is not John Connor, but I do want to give it a little more consideration. We seem to be blindly feeding Google information, giving it access to ever-more sensitive information and increasingly relying on it to take care of daily tasks. Just think about how much information Google has about the human race. About all the transactions, all the habits and all the functions of people and machines across the globe. IBM recently announced that there will soon be 1 trillion interconnected systems worldwide… is any other entity in a better position to access them all and threaten human dominance via their manipulation?
One last thought, just humor me. Who do you think Google would target first? If you regularly search for weapons online or look at army or air force sites, this may infer to Google that you are of military orientation. Likewise, if you hang out on tech blogs or engineering sites then Google may consider you the biggest threat to its dominance should it launch a campaign. It would likely generate a hierarchy of who it considers to be its major hurdles and these would be its focus first I suspect.
One thing is certain though…Google would have to pull a sharp U-turn on its ‘do no evil’ policy if it did start destroying the human race.