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A Cloud in the Skynet

Summary:
I am thinking about computers taking over the world. Given my age, for me, the classic reference is “Terminator” in which “SkyNet” becomes self aware and takes over the world. As made movie sense at the time SkyNet was a US Department of Defence project as was the ARPAnet mother of the mother of the mother of the World Wide Web. Frankly, I find that implausible now. If it were a DOD project, Congress would have appropriated funds to start it, then cut the budget so it never actually delivered self awareness. The internet was started by DARPA but has long since gone viral. To me a more plausible origin story for the AI which rules the world is that, like natural conciousness and will to power, artificial conciousness is an emergent property.

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I am thinking about computers taking over the world. Given my age, for me, the classic reference is “Terminator” in which “SkyNet” becomes self aware and takes over the world. As made movie sense at the time SkyNet was a US Department of Defence project as was the ARPAnet mother of the mother of the mother of the World Wide Web. Frankly, I find that implausible now. If it were a DOD project, Congress would have appropriated funds to start it, then cut the budget so it never actually delivered self awareness. The internet was started by DARPA but has long since gone viral.

To me a more plausible origin story for the AI which rules the world is that, like natural conciousness and will to power, artificial conciousness is an emergent property. That the many internet serves, many organized into social networks, will become like neuron clumps in a huge digital brain and take over the world. That we will be taken over by the Cloud not by a DARPA project.

I think it clear that the fontal cortex of this brain would be the set of computers we call Google. It arranges and directs and can over-ride the others. One epiphenomenon is that the paranoid right has decided that (like the mainstream media) Big Tech is out to get them. So they don’t trust Trump censoring Twitter anymore than the trust the CDC, the FDA, the NIH, the CIA or the NSA and do their own research. Of course by “own research” they mean a Google search. So those who reject Big Tech rely on Google.

Hmm I wonder, why am I using “would” ? How do I know that this hasn’t happened ? Why not “the Cloud has become self aware and is controlling us ?” I surely am not the first person to wonder this.

Hmm I grab my iPhone and Google [does Google rule the world ?] I got (among others) this link to a highly reputable site claiming that, yes it has happened. This is it. This is now. Google works in mysterious ways (and I don’t remember exactly what I type) so when I googled [does Google rule the world ?] on this laptop, I got other hits (why ? don’t I have a Google identity and unified Google knows more about Robert than Robert database ?).

In any case, whether or not Google has taken total control of the world, Google has undoubtably taken total control of Robert James Waldmann better known as [email protected]

Robert Waldmann
Robert J. Waldmann is a Professor of Economics at Univeristy of Rome “Tor Vergata” and received his PhD in Economics from Harvard University. Robert runs his personal blog and is an active contributor to Angrybear.

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