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Jake Nelson Mrs. Hanson AP English 3 P.

3 12/7/11 Irrelevant Man, Irrelevant Metal The idea of machines reigning over humanity has been a popular subject of media throughout the past couple decades. In the article Why the Future Doesnt Need Us by Bill Joy, he envisions a future where machine-made decisions overcome those of humans. He makes the claim that, as technology progresses, society will fall so far behind that humans essentially become an unnecessary factor. This point, however, fails to even surpass the boundaries of the concept. As long as the machines serve the purpose they were designed for, humans will never become irrelevant their sole purpose is to serve humanity, and machines themselves would become irrelevant should humankind collapse. The eradication of human society, in this case, would most likely be the end result of a machine-controlled world a theme apparent in most media. Humans becoming irrelevant in a machine-governed world is, more or less, an impossibility. At the very foundation of this concept, machines are built to think for humans, in order to make the world an ideal place for humanity. They devise solutions to problems of the world, and effectively carry them out, in order to achieve the goals of the human race. The simple fact is, that no matter how advanced the technology is, and how sentient the artificial intelligence seems, it is just a machine. Just as all machines are built, they are created to service humans. In the same way a toaster helps in crisping bread, or a copying machine assists in duplicating documents, such an incredible AI would merely be another service to mankind. And it is in this very point that Bill Joy fails in his argument. If a machine is built to service humans, and the people it intends to serve still remain, then

those people still remain relevant. Unless humanity was wiped from the face of the Earth, the AI would still hold the purpose to serve, and humans would continue to receive its service. It is much like how a store services a customer. Any store is founded with the goal of selling goods, and rely on customers to continue achieving their goal. Customers come and go, but as long as customers shop in that store, the business will still remain. If customers do not visit the store, however, the store will eventually fail to stay in business. Customers may no longer visit the store, but it does not mean they are gone they may simply be visiting another store. Just as an AI is a store, and humanity are its patrons, the machine relies on people to serve its purpose of making decisions. It cannot function to serve them if they are irrelevant they are, in fact, solely relevant to its objective. The only means that mankind could truly become irrelevant to a machine-governed world would be for the machine itself to eradicate humanity, and therefore make itself irrelevant in the process. In any catastrophic event that has a reasonable chance to annihilate the entire human race in full, it is likely that the machine itself would be destroyed as well. By that concept, popular media revolving around the idea of sentient artificial intelligence often leads to some variant of machine revolt. Such films as The Matrix, or Terminator foretell post-apocalyptic images of mankinds destruction, met by the hands of their own creation. Specifically, in the Terminator series, an AI network serving as a global defense initiative by the United States is activated. As soon as the government realizes the control the AI has (most prominently nuclear missiles), they attempt to shut it down, though are physically unable because of the machines power. In this nightmare scenario, the uncontrollable machine takes their attempts to squelch it as a threat to its existence, and therefore fights back in a calculated response by firing nuclear

missiles towards another country, and consequentially spurring the concept of mutual assured destruction on a global scale. The machines declare war on humanity itself, deciding it to be a threat to its existence, and spend the next several decades building its own machines to terminate the survivors of the destruction. If, in such a scenario, the artificial intelligence managed to rid the world of every single human being, humankind would become irrelevant to the system. But, in the same way that an AI built for servicing humans requires human beings to have a purpose, so does one which has turned against its creators. Inevitably, with humans made completely irrelevant, the machine instantly becomes irrelevant itself, and therefore lacks any system or purpose at all. Without the essential component interaction with humans the machine cannot provide a service. Whatever the machine chooses to do afterward is unknown; whether it endlessly continues its hunt for remaining humans, or expands into a society of its own, the possibilities are unthinkable. But nonetheless, the original intent of the machine fails to exist, and consequently, the machine itself. Machines exist for the sole purpose of serving humanity, in some way or another. The component of humans is so essential to this idea that there is no possible way for them to ever become irrelevant, unless the AI revolted against its creators, and effectively destroyed both of their relevancies to the concept. While the ideas Bill Joy brings up are reasonable points, and fairly logical predictions of such a society, its flawed foundation proves as its folly.