7 Ways Technology Could Kill Us All, As Told By Hollywood

We have bestowed technology with the task of improving our lives, and as technology becomes more intertwined with our lives, it becomes a danger to mankind as well. So what happens when technology fails us? Could technology really result in the end of all humanity?

If you’ve watched a few Hollywood flicks lately, it might not be too difficult to envision. A popular theme focuses on highlighting the consequences of technology, usually having technology posing all of humanity with a serious problem while our hero is tasked with saving all of us from extinction.

But even though Hollywood tends to throw in many over-the-top elements with mind-blowing explosions and jaw-dropping acts of heroics, these movies do portray serious potential issues that humanity may face in the future.

Will we be prepared and can we handle the consequences?

 

1. Nuclear War – WarGames

In WarGames, a computer geek and hacker meets up with a cute girl, and he, of course, impresses her by hacking into a military game system, WOPR, which runs games that simulate various war scenarios. Little does this juvenile know that he is putting the U.S. government on high alert, ready to go to war with an artificial enemy. Thankfully, seconds before an all-out nuclear war becomes reality, our hacker manages to convince the government that it is all a game and peace is restored.

In 1945, an estimated 200,000 people perished as a result of two atomic bombings in Japan. Today, the United States and Russia have promised recently to reduce the amount of active nuclear warheads in the world to around 1,500 total. That’s a great amount of progress, but that is still at least 1,500 opportunities for something to go horribly wrong. There is also no telling how many nuclear weapons have been lost, sold to other nations, or simply failed to be accounted for. All it takes is one person (or hacker) to change the world forever.

 

2. Global Warming – The Day After Tomorrow

In The Day After Tomorrow, a small group of paleoclimatologists discover that polar ice is melting, ocean temperatures are dropping, and currents are changing. This ultimately leads to a series of events that forever change Earth’s landscape. Unable to convince governments around the world of the danger, mother Earth unleashes her wrath on civilization. As it turns out, it wasn’t the end, but those who were spared are left with a grim reminder of how fragile our planet can be.

The most talked about problems with our planet lately involve Global Warming, an issue that is hotly debated. But regardless of what side you’re on, it’s obvious that Earth’s people and technology are doing more damage than good to the only planet we know of that can support human life. From oil leaks in the Gulf by failed drilling attempts to increased amounts of emissions from gas guzzling vehicles on the road, it’s not looking too good and surely won’t get any better anytime soon.

 

3. Pollution – Wall-E

In Pixar’s Wall-E animation film, the robot Wall-E, a robot that is left on our planet to clean up humanity’s mess, is surprised by a visit from another robot that is searching for plant life on Earth. After finding proof of plant life, the task of returning it turns out to be more complicated than one would imagine. However, the humans eventually return to Earth to start over, hopefully learning from past mistakes.

Take a look on the side of many streets leading to a city, and you will see trash. Take a look at the sky in any industrialized city, and you will see dirty, polluted air. Take a look at a lake right in the middle of that very city, and you will see dirty water. It’s all pollution, and it is all a result of our laziness when it comes to properly managing and discarding technological waste. Earth has been giving warning signs, but people seemingly ignore them. How bad does it have to get before people and governments change?

 

4. Genetic Testing – I Am Legend

In I Am Legend, a cure for cancer turns into a nightmare of global proportions. After a failed attempt to contain the virus, Robert Neville is the only man left alive, endlessly searching for a cure to turn the infected back to human. The cure is found, but the ultimate price is paid.

Technological advancements in medical technology are astounding: the amount of things we have been able to do is quite impressive. But those same people developing all these cures could just as easily create a global pandemic. It is only a matter of time before a widely used drug turns lethal (or worse). But there is no telling how bad this pandemic will be.

 

5. “Skynet” – Terminator

In Terminator, Sarah and John Connor are the two people who know what is in store for the future. A defense system — “Skynet” — goes haywire and our own defensive technology against us. Eventually, the world suffers from nuclear fallout while the few humans left lead a resistance against the machines to take back control.

Computers and technology currently relays information and orders to military units around the world. Without computers, the ability for armed forces to operate is severely diminished. However, governments are quick to allow computers more control over making decisions. What happens if the computer system malfunctions or the computers turn against us? What if we have a “Skynet” on our hands. Could our military be prepared for such a thing?

 

6. Machine Takeover – The Matrix

In The Matrix, Neo, the chosen one, is brought into the real world to help defeat the machines that have overrun the planet and turned humans into power farms. But as with all computer software, there are glitches and anomalies. This is what allows Neo and friends to come in and negotiate with the machines to leave earth and restore the peace.

Our reliance on machines and artificial intelligence is constantly growing, with no end in sight. Eventually we will build robots that will do more than walk around and dance: they will be created with the task of helping people with everyday chores. Eventually, they will do our work for us. Furthermore, they will grow smarter and our efforts to make them more human-like will pay off. But the more human they become, the more risk of conflict arises. Could the machines take over?

 

7. Intergalactic Terrorism – Star Wars

In the well-known Star Wars saga, Luke Skywalker is presented with the task of defeating the Galactic Empire and Darth Vader. The Death Star is the weapon of choice that is used to destroy planets with ease, but our hero manages to save the day.

The final scenario I present to people is, if we make it that far, intergalactic terrorism. When everyone and their grandmother owns a space ship and galactic business and trade is common, who is going to police the galaxy to defend against this form of evil? Who is going to prevent Earth from being blown to bits? Skywalker? Starship Enterprise? Doubtful.

So that was the bad news. But the good news is that we are still alive and well — so be sure to tell your friends.

Written by James Mowery

James Mowery is a passionate technology journalist and entrepreneur who has written for various top-tier publications like Mashable and CMSWire. Follow him on Twitter: @JMowery.
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  • http://www.facebook.com/B166ER2000 Erich Bailey

    I love this article.

  • http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com Ryan French

    I’m going to say this in bold so everyone gets it the first time around. It is not technology that is the problem, IT IS MONEY/THE MONETARY SYSTEM THAT IS THE PROBLEM.

    I’m going to run through these movies and explain this train of thought because it is very simple although most have never considered it. It is long, but I promise well worth the read.

    1.) Nuclear War – War Games

    The United States government alone currently has 600 nuclear submarines roaming the Pacific and Atlantic, each one with the destructive power of all the wars in history combined. How can we possibly move forward with that? The answer here is for the public to demand that every nuclear weapon in the world be decommissioned. If we want to kill each other off I’m sure bullets and regular missiles will suffice. But of course this is impossible because they can’t “afford” such an endeavour. These submarines continue to be produced for “profit”. They are controlled by governments who by all means necessary wish to protect their “assets”. It has nothing to do with protecting people from a foreign enemy. As horrible as it would be globally for a nuclear war to ever occur, you can be sure that someone would make a “profit” from it.

    2.) Global Warming – The Day After Tomorrow

    I agree, it doesn’t matter what side of the debate you’re on here. Pollution is a HUGE problem. Just listen to the smog warnings they issue in the summer. “It’s not safe to go outside today” will be the typical warning soon enough. But hey, maybe then corporations can charge us money for fresh air!

    The debate here is not technology. It is money. Currently we have the means to run every car, every home, every business, every gas powered device without the burning of any fossil fuels, oil, coal, gas or even nuclear power.

    What could we use? With improved technology (nano technology) we could use solar power to run the world. One hour of sunlight at high noon has enough energy to run the earth for a year. Using wind power in just 10 states we could power the whole of the US every year. Wave power uses the surface movement of the ocean to produce electricity and has a global potential of 80,000 terra-watt hours a year. While Tidal power uses ocean currents to drive generators that could power 50% of the worlds power needs if harnessed. And last but not least, Geothermal power, discussed in a recently released MIT report, can currently provide for the entire planets energy needs for the next four thousand years.

    So why in hell are we burning fossil fuels? There are two answers to this and both are monetary related.

    First, it is far more profitable to do so. The earths oil and coal reserves are owned by only a few individuals and families. When we’re talking about a 200 trillion dollar piggybank that someone owns, all the alarm bells start going off.

    That is also a huge piece of the economic pie. Considering the global economy is roughly 30 trillion a year, and energy represents between 7-9 trillion of that, if a move away from fossil fuels was to occur it would have a huge economic impact and there would be some very unhappy billionaires. This of course has been shown again and again from the illegal and deliberate suppression of alternative non-polluting energy systems (cold fusion, zero-point, hydrogen, geothermal, wind, solar, wave, tidal) to the White House itself aligning with the oil companies to fight against electric cars.

    The second issue is pure cost. The United States Department of Energy released a document recently, outlining that in order to transition the current infrastructure to one based on alternative energy systems it would cost around 23 trillion dollars. With the entire world currently 54 trillion dollars in debt with itself, who is going to pay for this transition? We will not be seeing a world of non-polluting energy anytime in the future and since we’re currently running out of oil at an unprecedented rate, I predict global nuclear war over the last barrels of oil in the coming decades. With the US ramping up to invade Iran for its oil, lets see how China and Russia, who Iran also produces oil for, will react to that.

    The monetary system is the barrier to our advancement since every resource, material, good and service has a cost, and everything is bought and sold to consumers, 80% of which fall into the lower and middle classes.

    Which means every product produced is made as cheaply as possible…1.) so people can afford to buy it and…2.) to maximize profit and gain market share. How is any of this relevant to our survival on this planet? The question should not be “can we afford it?”. The question always has been “do we have the resources, technology and human creativity and ingenuity to do what we want?” And the answer to that is a resounding YES across all issues.

    3.) Pollution – Wall-E

    I’m going to cover a different aspect of pollution and waste and how it relates to the monetary system. I need to quote the author here cause he is dead wrong:

    “it is all a result of our laziness when it comes to properly managing and discarding technological waste.”

    Such a thing should never be left solely in the hands of everyday people. Just like speed limits, of course the rules will be broken.

    Why doesn’t every product that is created have as close to 100% recycling designed into it before it ever hits the manufacturing stage? Because it “costs” too much “money”.

    Why do we have cars and homes that produce pollution? Because it “costs” too much “money” to replace them with viable, non-polluting alternatives, and people would lose too much “money” in regards to “profit” loss.

    Why do we live within a system that is based on blind consumption, where the same product is reproduced a hundred different ways by a hundred different companies as cheaply as possible minimizing product lifespan? Because that is what is required to keep “money” circulating in the “man-made economy”. It is called Cyclical Consumption and it generates endless waste.

    Imagine for a second living in a world that makes sense. Where every product is designed to be as close to 100% recyclable as possible. Where every product produced uses the highest grade materials available. Where every product incorporates the best known technological marvels at the present time, NOT the best we can “afford” to make. The best we can actually make regardless of “cost”. Imagine eliminating every company on the planet and simply having central manufacturing and distribution cities setup to produce and distribute goods. Imagine that instead of there being a Dell who makes 25 different types of computers based on what the public can “afford”, and then being reproduced over and over by 500 other companies, that we simply build the BEST five computers we can build, based on NEED, and these are available to everyone without a price tag. And this course of thinking applies to every product. Imagine eliminating at least half of what is produced today because either there is no relevance for it, or we use technology to solve those problems.

    I know what you’re thinking…if there’s no money, why would people work? Well, the flip side of removing the monetary system is using technology to relieve human suffering and eliminate the need to have a “job”. Technological unemployment is about to sweep the earth. As of today we could completely eliminate 65% of jobs relating to labour and the service industry on the planet by using computers, robotics and machine automation to do the work for us.

    When we remove money, we remove the other 35% of jobs relating to monetary finance. We would still require engineers and technicians to oversee the technological aspects of the system but we’re talking 5-10% of the total population, and the betterment of humanity would be a driving reason without money. The knowledge that the more productive and efficient we become, the more abundance we create, and therefore the safer and happier all of us become. Not to mention true freedom! I can prove all of this and we’ll get to that soon.

    Very few of us think of machines and technology as being of high quality because we don’t see anything resembling high quality in our society around us. If we build machines to last, not to be “sold”, but to last as long as possible, maintenance for many products could be as often as every hundred years or so. This of course cannot be done in a monetary system because the “economy” would crash as it needs the constant circulation of “money”, based on constant consumption from the public, producing mass products regardless of functional utility and waste.

    It is disheartening to me that people don’t understand that we live on a planet with finite resources, meaning our natural resources will run out one day. Yet our “economic” system is based on “Infinite Growth” in order to continue to prosper, which means our “economic” system will eventually kill us. Tie that in with the people who say “oh Saturday’s are for shopping!” and you begin to see the destructive illness that plagues all of us.

    To tie this section up I’d just like to say that “cost” is based on two main factors. 1.) the amount of human labour required to acquire the resource or produce the good or service and 2.) how scarce the items are in relation to supply and demand….meaning, the more there is of something, the less it’s worth in respect to itself. The less there is of something, the more it’s worth. If suddenly, for no apparent reason we woke up tomorrow and there were only 100 oranges left in existence with no ability to grow more, the price of those oranges would skyrocket because it would now be considered scarce.

    Technology, more specifically computers, robotics and machine automation completely eliminate these two factors. They remove the need for human labour, and as has been noted in every industrial sector that has utilized machine automation (agriculture, steel, mining, manufacturing, service sector, etc) they also drive productivity through the roof while almost eliminating waste completely. They remove scarcity and create abundance.

    Why does this matter? Because technology eliminates “cost”. And removing the monetary system removes the need to generate profit/income. If you combine this with a computerized system of planetary resource management, we could easily erase poverty, hunger, war, pollution, environmental destruction, the endless extinction of animals, slave labour, bad education, bad health care, most crimes, class stratification, and so many other problems we face. It would also raise everybody’s standard of living so high we would look back on todays society and gawk at how primitive and selfish we all were.

    4.) Genetic Testing – I Am Legend

    I’ll keep this short. Why do we have people who run around a basketball court for a living and they make millions of dollars a year, but someone sitting in a lab trying to find the cure for the AIDS virus only makes fifty thousand a year? Why, since disease kills so many of us, do we rely on “donations” to sparsely outfit our labs with mediocre equipment to work on the problem? All together now!! “MONEY”…..Yay, you got it.

    Anyone ever wonder what would happen to the economy if suddenly a cure for Cancer was found and released? Aside from pharmaceutical companies losing hundreds of billions in “profit”, and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, the economy as we know it would collapse like a house of cards.

    Something to think about. Remove the monetary system and suddenly we can have the very best equipment in labs, the very best people working on the problem because they are interested in it, not getting “paid” to do the work. We would have people interested in solving the problems because of the benefit of saving lives, NOT just to make more “profit”. There would be no reason for “patents” so all information would be available to everyone to improve upon. The list goes on.

    5.) “Skynet” – Terminator
    6.) Machine Takeover – The Matrix

    These two are grouped together because they are the same. I actually find it fascinating that the writer, being a “technology journalist” would consider the possibility that AI (artificial intelligence) can “takeover” and become aggressive and hostile on its own. If you take an artificially intelligent computer, put it in front of 50 other artificially intelligent computers and smash it to pieces with a hammer, the other computers don’t care. It doesn’t matter how intelligent they become. In fact, if you study the world of intelligence you’ll find that the more intelligent something is, the less aggressive and destructive it is. Why? Because aggression and destruction make no sense at all.

    The fear of computers or machines taking over should come from the knowledge that humans can “program” these intelligent machines to be destructive. And why do humans go to war? Not for liberty or democracy. Not for freedom or protection. It is for resource and infrastructure theft. It is to suppress people in order to steal from them. It is to expand empires like the United States and Britain. No one wonders why America has 142 military bases in foreign countries. They don’t care that 1.5 million civilians have died in Iraq. It’s about oil, not freedom and democracy.

    The monetary system has created this powerful anomaly known as greed and using the world bank and IMF countries are deliberately put into debt (as all money comes from bank loans and IS debt) so that infrastructure projects that only benefit those countries governments, can be built using US and foreign corporations. The interest on the loans of course can’t be paid because it isn’t generated from the loan itself and has to come from the countries already frail “economy” creating even more poverty. The World Bank and IMF then refinance that debt when they can’t pay and convince them to sell off their infrastructure and sell off their resources for cheap, or face military action. Iraq and Afghanistan also represent the coming attack on Iran:

    “Understand that Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan represents some of the last low-hanging fruit where oil is concerned. There’s more out there, but it’s under miles of water or meters of perma-frost… or in stable South American countries that wouldn’t stand for a U.S. presence in the region.

    What did the Bu$h administration want to do? Simple: they wanted to use the will of the people after 9/11 to go after terrorists & alleged terrorists in oil rich areas to secure middle eastern oil for America. We were supposed to take over Afghanistan and Iraq and then go after Iran from two sides with the assistance of Afghani and Iraqi forces. Along with Kuwait, Israel and Saudia Arabia, we would have a massive presence in the mid east and be able to secure oil supplies.”

    Remove the monetary system, start building a world from the ground up that represents a positive, intelligent course for our generations to come, and start training soldiers not to be brain-washed killing machines, but peaceful negotiators, and you will see a vastly different world before you.

    7.) Intergalactic Terrorism

    No worries. We will never survive ourselves to get to this stage. Again, take away “money” and you remove greed, selfish behaviour, the need for wars and terrorism, hunger and poverty, crime, abuse, violence, etc.

    JOIN US FOR CHANGE. We have over four hundred thousand members in just over a year, in 203 countries. We are The Zeitgeist Movement and you can learn about us below:

    I recommend the following to bring you up to speed on the movement as quickly as possible. The film Zeitgeist Addendum is excellent and is a great introduction, however the Zeitgeist Movement orientation video is a bit more direct and to the point so I recommend viewing it first and then Addendum afterwards.

    Zeitgeist Movement Orientation (2009):

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3932487043163636261#

    Zeitgeist Addendum (2008):

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7065205277695921912#

    Likely you’ll have tons of questions so if you wish to dig deeper I recommend Peter Joesphs (creator of Zeitgeist) radio show here:

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/peter-joseph

    They started back in March ’09 and I recommend starting at the beginning. The shows cover hundreds of questions from members as well as updates on what the project teams are doing, events, interviews with The Venus Project, and covers tons of information.

    Aside from the radio shows, Peter Joseph has done several live presentations at various Universities around the world and at Z-Day which takes place every March. They are as follows and cover vital information:

    Where Are We Now? (2009):

    http://vimeo.com/6346955

    Where Are We Going? (2009):

    http://vimeo.com/7857584

    Social Pathology (2010):

    http://vimeo.com/10707453