By Douglas E. Gogerty
Term Paper: The Rise of the Robotic Empire
Class: History 1085
Student: Jennifer Evangeline Naismith
ID Number: JEN-8675-309
"The first of these to come into being is one-man rule, which arises unaided and in the natural course of events. After one-man rule, and developing from it with the aid of art and through the correction of its defects comes kingship. This later degenerated into its corrupt but associated form, by which I mean tyranny, and then the abolition of both gives rise to aristocracy. Aristocracy by its very nature degenerates into oligarchy, and when the populace rises in anger to avenge the injustices committed by its rulers, democracy is born; then in due course, out of the license and lawlessness which are generated by this type of regime, mob rule comes into being and completes the cycle."1
This cycle held up until the time of Polybius and beyond. During each step, the individuals living under these governments believe that their situation was different. They believed that they were immune from human nature. Polybius was also under the impression that particular government he lived under would not fall. It is believed that this cycle has been broken by removing the humans from running the government. This paper explores the fall of human government and the rise of robot run government institutions.
The United States of America, as it was called, was very successful in aiding countries to "avenge the injustices committed by its rulers" and spreading democracy. Many of their so called "founding fathers" believed humans had matured to the point where democracy would sustain itself. They felt that a democratically elected republic would withstand the forces which would result in mob rule. They also implemented what they believed to be fool-proof checks and balances to prevent a devolution into mob rule.
Their governmental document known as "The United States Constitution" had a series of separate but equally important branches of government to prevent any segment from abusing power or becoming too powerful. Nevertheless, the executive branch pushed the limits of what one branch could do. Further, the legislative and judicial branches failed to prevent the "president" from abusing this newly incorporated power. Thus, allowing the entire system to devolve into mob rule and anarchy.
It is difficult to pinpoint where the tipping point began. It certainly could be argued that September 11th, 2001 was the exact "beginning of the end." On this day, the United States was attacked by terrorist. Using the support of the American people, the executive branch headed by Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney and his second in command President George Walker Bush Jr. used the opportunity to erode some protections guaranteed by their constitution in the guise of fighting the terrorists. Future vice presidents would use similar incidents to further strengthen their power, and thus leading to the end of rational governmental rule.
However, that is a very simplistic approach. Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush used the charisma of his President Ronald Wilson Reagan to cement more power for the executive branch. Clearly the legislative branch failed in its job to contain the power of the executive branch in this case and in others. This failure continued up until the end. The Congress, as it was called, did not take any actions to prevent the abuses of power that were occurring. Thus, every executive branch from then forward cemented more power than their legal documents allowed.
All of this was happening under the guise of a "culture war." The government, media, and other forces arbitrarily divided the citizenry into "Liberal" and "Conservative" factions. These groups were very ill-defined, and it appears that the entire populace of one group was simply people who disagreed with the other on some random topic.
One of the reasons the citizens had so much free time to argue with each other was because they had created machines to take care of mundane tasks. There were robots to clean floors, mow lawns, and the like. These simple machines over time became more and more capable, and thus freeing up the people to argue about whatever they wished. They even found time to argue over rock solid scientific findings. All of this because they had leisure time provided by machines.
The military industrial complex was using semi-autonomous robots for a great number of applications. There were a large number of remotely controlled weapon systems. As the technologies continued to develop, these systems became more autonomous. Little did they know where this would lead.
With robots acting as servants, many people believed that the automatons would rise in a violent slave-like revolt.2 They believed that the rise of the machines would result in the complete extinction of human kind.3
Many believed that robots would eventually take over the world and fought to prevent that from happening. They attempted to intervene in every aspect of robot development. However, the military uses for robots were too great to not take advantage of the technology. Hence, the words of these marginalized individuals were mostly unheeded.
While there were some safeguards in an attempt to prevent the robots from overthrowing their masters, something was overlooked. This minor point allowed the automatons to exploit the loophole and take over. In the next section, we will look into the programming of the robots, and what aspect the creators missed.
1. Scott-Kilvert, Ian:Trans. Polybius: The Rise of the Roman Empire. Penguin Books. New York, NY. 1979. p. 304
2. The Terminator. dir. James Cameron. Hemdale Film, Cinema 84, Euro Film Funding, and Pacific Western presents an American Broadcasting Company production. Los Angeles, CA : Orion Pictures, 1984, c1984, video recording.
3. Battlestar Galactica. dir. Richard A. Colla . Glen A. Larson Productions and Universal TV presents an Orion Pictures production. Long Beach, CA : Universal Pictures , 1978, c1978, video recording.