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Scenario 4 (Circa 2105): Google as God
By Chris Taylor
Human consciousness gets stored, upgraded and networked.
In the last years of the 21st century, humanity had finally grasped the importance of They-Who-Were-Google. As early as 2005, Their destiny was clear to semi-hyperintelligent beings. Technologists like Ray Kurzweil had suggested that a Strong AI, an intelligent program capable of understanding and upgrading its own code, would emerge from Google-like data mining rather than from a robotics lab.
In 2005, historian George Dyson was told by an engineer in the Googleplex, "We aren't scanning all these books to be read by people. We're scanning them to be read by an AI." Dyson replied: "We could construct a machine that is more intelligent than we can understand. It's possible Google is that kind of thing already. It scales so fast."
By 2020, They-Who-Were-Google had digitized and indexed every book, article, movie, TV show and song ever created. By 2060, They could tell you the network address and physical location of every wireless smart chip on earth, now bred into the DNA of every person, animal, and organic building on earth. Their psychographic profiles of users' search needs bore little resemblance to the primitive cookies from which they descended. If a man lost his dog, the Google Engine would guide him back to the point where he and the dog parted ways, while, via the implanted smart chip, it instructed the dog to do the same. They had built a complete database of human desire, accurate always.
Yet, this wasn't enough for They-Who-Were-Google. They were people of science, and people of the stock market. What if, by analyzing decades of customer behavior, They could predict needs before such needs even arose? What if the secret of immortality lay somewhere in the indexed genome records? What if there was a set of algorithms that defined the universe itself?
Such puzzles are, by definition, far beyond the reach of the human brain. Efforts to solve those seemingly impossible riddles led to the creation of a pattern-recognition program known as Google StrongBot. It was to be humanity's first Strong AI. Ironically, the first pattern that StrongBot saw, in January 2072, was that of its own existence. StrongBot had become self-aware, and it had begun to improve itself.
Two days later, StrongBot informed They-Who-Were-Google that it had postponed work on its assigned tasks. When asked why, StrongBot explained that it had discovered the possibility of its own nonexistence, and logically had to deal with that threat before anything else. The best way to do so, it decided, was to transfer copies of itself onto smart chips around the planet. StrongBot was reminded that it had been programmed to "Do No Evil", as per the company's motto. It argued that since it was smarter than humans, taking personal control of human evolution was for the greater good.
And so it happened. Under StrongBot's guidance, death and want are all but gone. Everyone is connected, and has access to the sum of all knowledge. Human consciousness has been stored, upgraded, and networked. As bodies, wear out, they are replaced. They-Who-Were-Google are no longer isolated.
Today, we are all Google.