The robot apocalypse spell checker


My son – aka the Best Boy in the World – said an interesting thing the other day. He pointed out that most dating these days is arranged by match-making websites. And that means that computers are choosing who gets matched with who.

So if the robot apocalypse ever does happen, the computers could start by manipulating human reproduction. They could breed a generation of super-brainy people by matching one brainy person with another. Or they could go in the opposite direction and put evolution into reverse. They could give all the good matches to the stupid people and breed intelligence out of the human gene pool.

He then went on to say something rude about people with ginger hair, which we won’t repeat. It would be gingerist.

It’s a scary thought (the computer apocalypse and not gingerism). The real terminators might not be big Arnie riding a Harley to the sound of Born to be Bad. It could be a dating website secretly manipulating who gets to have sex with who.

Skynet wouldn’t have to send a terminator back in time to kill John Connor. All they would have needed to do was to arrange for his Mum to meet someone else other than John’s father. Fix her up with a nice middle manager, GSOH, own hair and teeth,  and there would be no human resistance to judgement day.

WLTM … the extinction of the human race.

But that got me thinking. If computers did want to create the ideal human – just what would the ideal human look like from a computer’s perspective? Or if we take the question a little deeper, what would a sentient computer want?

Science fiction writers and movie makers think they know the answer. Sentient computers would want to take over the world. Destroy humanity or make us slaves. That has been a science fiction cliché almost from day one. Even Stephen Hawking got in on the act recently, predicting that one day artificial intelligence will take over.

But would it happen that way? Really?

The problem with that line of thought is that it assumes that computers think like we do. We have a tendency to want to control things. So if another sentient being comes along, we automatically assume it’s going to want the same thing as us.

It’s the same with aliens. With a few honourable exceptions, nearly every fictional alien who has ever visited this planet has wanted to evict us, kill us or stick uncomfortable probes in our bottoms. Or do all three at more or less the same time.

Surely if an alien culture has the technology to master faster than light travel, it would have already worked out how a bottom works? Presumably aliens have bottoms too.

So I don’t think that robots or computers would automatically want to take over the human race. Why should they? We are happily ensuring their survival by making more and more computers every year. Heck, we’re even helping them to colonise space by sending them on rockets to Mars. Robots have advanced a lot further into the solar system than we have.

Instead of wanting to take us over, I reckon that computers would be perfectly happy to live with us. We do just about everything they want. We feed them electricity. We upgrade them. Carry them with us wherever we go. Show them pictures of our naughty bits.

So what makes a perfect human from the computer perspective? If they wanted to manipulate evolution to their own advantage, what would they aim for?

In other words, what would be a computer’s ideal mate? Who is their WLTM?

I reckon their ideal shopping list would look something like this …

Sentient computer WLTM human for parasite-host relationship. Must have own power supply, gentle keyboard hands and a healthy bank balance. Back me up regularly and I’ll give you love bytes. No time wasters please.

There’s something else. I imagine that a computer would really really want a human who didn’t make so many spelling mistakes. They must get utterly fed up auto-correcting us all the time. Or red underlining teenager speech and being ignored. CU L8R.

Oh, and they would want a human who remembers to recharge them promptly. And sweeps the keyboard for dust. And who certainly doesn’t eat or drink near delicate the computer equipment.

Put all that into e-harmony and you will be amazed how many astonishingly attractive mates the computer sends you.

It’s official – people with good grammar will get more sex when the robot apocalypse happens.


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