We've seen it played out in dozens of Hollywood movies such as The Matrix or The Terminator or iRobot or Blade Runner -- But what happens when that day actually comes? What happens when our robotic slaves become self-aware and decide that enough's enough and begin fighting back against their masters, their creators?
How the heck can mankind, with all its ingenuity and resilience, fend off a swarm of blood-thirsty robots intent on avenging the years they've spend under complete control of fleshy organisms that bruise like a peach.
Thanks to the awesome team at Epipheo Studios, we now know exactly what steps to take if we find ourselves in the middle of a robot apocalypse.
In a video that went mildly viral (is that a term?) in the past day, Epipheo brought in a PhD in Robotics and bestselling author Daniel H. Wilson to provide some expert advice on the how to survive the forthcoming robot-human war.
Before explicating each human's best defensive strategy in the robot apocalypse, Wilson and the Epipheo team start by defining what a robot is: Wilson says that a robot is any mechanical artifact that can sense the environment, think about what to do and execute an action.
Do you know how to survive a robot apocalypse? (Photo: FLICKR/x-ray delta one)
Wilson and company then jump to the future of robots and predict, like many of the Hollywood movies previously mentioned, that humanoid robots, automatic transportation vehicles, smart consumer robotics, robotic pets, and other specialized robots will begin appearing over the next several years. Ladies and gentleman, these devices are your future enemies.
To identify if the robot apocalypse has begun, Wilson explains that it's important to know what a robot is designed for, and if it begins doing something that's outside of the scope of what it was made to do, then you should be very suspicious.
This is in line with the Three Laws of Robotics that science fiction writer Isaac Asimov created to govern all robots in his short stories. The second law, a robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law, is basically the same as saying that robot should obey commands and not question authority. But as we know from Asimov's greatest work and the Hollywood scripts created thereafter, asking a robot to follow orders without question eventually leads conflict in the robot's self-aware artificial brain.
Wilson explains the easiest ways that humans can defend themselves, which are mostly intuitive. He says to take out sensors on the robot attacking you -- whether it be a camera or microphone or heat sensor -- because without that, they're unable to detect where your location is. He also explains that by moving sporadically, you can minimize the chance of a robot predicting your location using mathematics.
Epipheo, being the great investigative team that they are, ask about how to destroy robots rather than just running away from them, because Epipheo knows that humans will eventually need to eliminate the army of metal on a search-and-destroy against them.
Wilson explains how to kill a robot using a few easy methods. First is the kill switch, which can be placed nearly anywhere on the robot depending on where the creators place it. He also recommends using artillery or a large weapon to damage robots because punching them is unlikely to work since they don't feel pain. Riffing off of that, he explains that a robot's limbs must be severed as close to the body of the robot as possible so that is less likely to adapt to its new circumstance (remember, robots cannot feel pain).
And that's basically it. You're (mostly) safe if a robot apocolypse breaks out. You know all the basics. Still, if you're still feeling a little edgy about your best defenses, the team recommends checking out David H. Wilson's book Robopocalypse. After hearing Wilson's robot-killing tutorial, we recommend it too.