We’ve been watching the latest series of Westworld and Humans lately. If you haven’t seen either show, they share a common theme. That of robots developing minds of their own.
The sci-fi genre has a pretty good track record of predicting future technological developments, so should we be worried? Will the machines rise up against us one day?
Well, if my recent experiences with tech are anything to go by, we have nothing to fret about. Their ‘behaviour’, if we can call it that, has been less like The Terminator and closer to that of Harry and Lloyd from Dumb & Dumber.
It started last week on what was possibly the hottest day of the year so far. We were all wandering around barefoot in shorts and T-shirts. We were also being very British about it. Having longed for warmer weather for what felt like an age, we were agreeing that it was slightly too hot.
So, naturally, our learning thermostat sprang into action. It hadn’t switched on the heating for a good few weeks but suddenly saw fit to crank it up to 25 degrees. For good measure, it also programmed itself to switch on at two random times in the week ahead. Smart thermostat, my arse!
The following day, I was going through spam comments to make sure that no genuine ones were in there. Happily not but, in among all the frankly bizarre stuff posted by bots were some short, coherent ones. “I’m getting the dressing off tomorrow,” proclaimed one of them.
So the machines are starting to imitate the over-familiar, oversharing strangers who always sit next to me on the bus. I’ve also had religious comment spam – the like of which you sometimes hear from people who knock on doors.
To my mind, this is another act of technical twattery. Impersonating us humans is a stealthy way of taking over, but not by mimicking the kind of people most others want to avoid!
Then there was the curious incident of my Bluetooth speaker. It worked perfectly with my computer at first but now won’t communicate with it at all. How are these halfwits going to overpower us if they’re fighting among themselves? Hmmm?
In further evidence, my smart speaker recently got a simple sum completely wrong and my wireless printer seems to be having an existential crisis. Cretins.
So are we heading for a dystopian future in which the machines rise up and take over? I doubt it. They’ll forget to set the alarm.