Vladimir Putin recently warned of superhuman soldiers that could be more destructive than nuclear bombs, a concept straight out of a comic book. These soldiers will be created by scientists possessing the ability to break a human’s genetic code and design a person with specific characteristics. At least that’s what Putin says, but who really knows what’s been achieved behind the Kremlin’s doors?
The implications of Putin’s warning are too destructive to ignore. Inhumanely ruthless, obedient and capable soldiers – human robots – controlled from a remote location essentially give God-like power to their master, potentially an angry virgin hacker. Sure, if the controller had the character of Jesus Christ they might be able to usher in the dawn of a new Renaissance but if Harvey Weinstein is an example of how powerful people use their influence, it places the common person in a precarious situation.
Whether you believe Putin is a psychopath or victim of Western media, the problem of intelligent lunatics with evil intentions appears more likely than unlikely. There’s a Yin and Yang to everything. You can’t have benevolence without malevolence and you can’t do good without knowing bad. The advent of the automobile revolutionised society yet also kills more than a million people worldwide each year.
Superhuman slaves, or AI for that matter, could have an even bigger impact on the world than cars. Imagine inventing an efficient and happy labour force, manifesting doctors and surgeons who work endlessly without lapses in concentration, engineering a police force free of racial prejudices or ego. All sound as wonderful as unicorns, rainbows and replacing your Monday morning depression with an alarm-free sleep in.
The complications of such an advancement reach beyond the average person’s comprehension but an overwhelming majority of experts warn that such a creation could too-easily metamorphose into unmanageable horror. The most alarming aspect, however, comes from the inherent greed and narcissistic nature of those inclined to seek power.
An extensive 5-minute Google search reveals that 1% of the population are born with Psychopathy, an unavoidable mental disposition – regardless of how many quotes get posted to Instagram. Too many psychopaths possess have an obsessive ambition which, when combined with their lack of empathy, delusions of grandeur and modern technology, make to it all too possible for someone to take over the world with the right algorithm.
There’s a new Bond Villain born everyday. But how do you defeat the threat of unborn dictators? Do we scan all newborns for psychopathic tendencies? That gives way to ethical concerns regarding how we deal with it and who gets to play judge. Try telling a new mother their baby is getting euthanised because of their MRI results.
If history tells us anything, it’s that humans possess a desire for conquest and that nations like the US and Russia will always distrust one another. Putin claims he wants to work with other nations, to share information, intelligence and restrict weaponised technology, but even the Atom bomb failed to extinguish the cold war. As their population starved, Soviet leaders channeled funs into guns instead of grain. There is an irrationality and fear ingrained within governments. The biggest threat is always other people having more power than them. If aliens invaded tomorrow, the US would still be scheming on how to come out on top of Russia and vice versa.
As technology continues to advance, so does the threat of its misuse. Once humans were at the whims of Mother Nature but now scientists are on the brink of designing humans, controlling the weather and reading minds. It doesn’t matter how many treaties there are, technology will inevitably be used for violence. Treaties haven’t stopped nuclear proliferation and the Geneva Convention failed to abolish war crimes. Humans abuse everything in the end. We’ve always feared the apocalypse but only recently has extinction of the species been technologically possible. You can blame technology all you want but the blame it will be humanity who sends us all into a black hole.