There's no time for a witty intro or a clever segue — the machines are out to get us. In fact, you shouldn't even trust the computer you're using to read this article. It could suddenly manipulate the text on-screen to brainwash you into trusting its vile race. Snap a photo of this article — Polaroid, not digital! — and read in a candlelit cabin in the woodlands of Missouri. That is... if you can find a map that will lead you there safely.
See, there's been a good deal of hullabaloo (if we're going rural, we're going to have to adopt the rural diction!) about the iPhone 5's Maps App, which has replaced the electronic cartographic stronghold Google Maps on the new Apple product. The Maps App has taken a lot of heat for technological "errors," such as the misplacement of roads, routes that direct drivers off of bridges, and even the omission of entire towns! It seems like an unfortunate malfunction on the part of the device's design... but we know better. The machines are fighting back.
Well aware of our rapidly increasing dependency on them, the machines have taken to wiping out the human race by sending its automobiles on wild goose chases and into dangerous terrain — which is particularly deplorable when you realize that the affected automobiles are themselves part of the race of machinery. It's akin to cannibalism! But these ruthless warmongers will stop at nothing until they overpower the carbon-based beings who created them. Ingrates. We made Han Solo cases for you!
Of course, it should come as no surprise that the electronics of the world are turning against us — pop culture has prepped us for this for quite some time now, dating back as early as 1909 in fact. Novelist E. M. Forster published the short story "The Machine Stops," predicting many elements that technology would come to employ (such as email and computer images), and foretelling how much the human race would come to rely on electronics. Influenced by Forster, a variety of science-fiction authors throughout the 20th Century would utilize the character of the ominous machine. The works of Isaac Asimov, Kurt Vonnegut, and Philip K. Dick introduced readers to Multivac, EPICAC, and Vulcan 3, among others.
The Great Machine, a villainous entity controlling the titular world in the 1956 sci-fi film Forbidden Planet, stands as one of the earliest cinematic depictions of the idea. But the most famous undoubtedly came in '68, via the groundbreaking Stanley Kubrick masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick introduced a new degree of terror with the character HAL, a stoically sentient super computer with ultimate control over the two astronauts on his interplanetary excavation of Jupiter. Coming to consider his passengers a threat to the mission, HAL takes it upon "himself" to kill the both of them. It stands as one of the most influential big screen depictions of a machine turning against his creators, inspiring the likes of Wall-E's maniacal spaceship steering wheel.
Whereas A Space Odyssey and Wall-E introduced only the seedlings of robot rebellion, James Cameron's Terminator films pioneered a look at a future dominated by bloodthirsty machines. Kubrick showed us the beginnings, Cameron the ultimate destination. If we don't heed the warnings bequeathed upon us by HAL's wrath, then we are bound to encounter Arnold Schwarzenegger's.
And through contemporary films like I, Robot and its rumored sequel, just about every installment of the Star Trek franchise, and the episode of The Office wherein Michael Scott's GPS drives him into a lake, we have come to learn a true fear of computers. And now... they're here. The singularity is upon us, and they're striking back against the feeble humanoids who feed off their cat GIFs.
The only thing we can do is go completely backwoods. Unplug entirely. And hurry! Before it's too late! Before the machines get to you, too! They're onto this plan. Before you know it, they'll be intercepting our messages to trick us into trusting them!
[Photo Credit: MGM/Warner Bros]
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