Nokia, Defense Tech Wizards Unwittingly Help Mother Earth Rise Up Against Humanity
|What are you doing, Dave? This is a two-hour spot!|
If Planet Earth were covered with trillions of synthetic brain cells, each monitoring its surroundings and communicating with neighbor cells, would it develop thoughts and feelings of its own? Would such a planet rise up against its human overlords in the manner of HAL 9000 in Arthur C. Clark's 2001: A Space Odyssey?
Isn't that a question with possible answers so dangerous that nobody dare ask it?
Two local tech enterprises, both dedicated to making it easier to drive and park automobiles, are right now installing a perceptive neural network on the Earth's surface -- one that, under certain conditions, might theoretically give rise to a Planet Earth with thoughts, feelings and -- we may as well
say it -- pent up enviro-rage.
In 2005, SF Weekly -- not to be confused with Sci Fi Weekly -- warned of possible dangerous side effects being courted by San Francisco startup Streetline Networks. The company was adapting intelligent-dust technology first funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The original idea was for the Army to drop millions of tiny pressure, temperature, and sound sensors over a battlefield, and link them one to another with weak radio signals.
It's a great idea -- as long as it doesn't generate artificial-intelligence side effects
Sreetline apparently ignored my warning that they were routing us on a path toward planetary sentience, and got Gavin Newsom interested in the idea. This month, San Francisco is scheduled to embark on a $20 million pilot project. "SFPark is the largest dynamic parking demand management project in the world, with 6,000 curbside parking spaces and 11,500 off-street spaces in city-owned garages," Planetizen reports.
Once the first spark of intelligence fires, the planet may launch a campaign of vengeance against her human oppressors, toppling freeway cloverleaves, crushing auto malls, and felling bridges. Ironically, given that the circuitry of the planet's impending intelligence is being built upon new-fangled automobile infrastructure, humans' only defense may be to find a different form of transportation.