2012-08-03 Leave a comment
I’ve been keeping an eye on Randall Munroe for years now. By which I mean – not to be all stalkery or anything – enjoying his stick-man comic strip. You have to (no, really, you do) applaud a guy who finds enough funny in the idea of context free grammars to make it today’s cartoon.
[audience looks around] ‘What just happened?’ ‘There must be some context we’re missing.’
It’s not so much that you had to be there. Although in this case you do as most of the humour is in the image’s title which you shall encounter only if you hover over it with your mouse (I add, possibly unnecessarily) on the actual website.
But he’s recently started up a new site. His drawings are no longer in strip form. Instead they illustrate answers to questions posed by fans. Here’s a bleeding chunk from his discussion of the robot apocalypse.
He talks about how probably the only large group of people who’d be hurt in such a scenario are those who’d be driving around when it happens:
While the cars might be able to control the throttle and disable the power steering, the driver would still control the steering wheel, which has direct mechanical linkage to the wheels. The driver could also pull the parking brake, although I know from experience how easily a car can drive with one of those on. Some cars might try to disable the drivers by deploying the air bags, then roll over or drive into things. In the end, our cars would probably take a heavy toll, but not a decisive one.
So probably the most at-risk-from-robots bunch of humans on the planet is the same as the most at-risk bunch of humans on the planet. Interesting. Yet, not. Hmmm.