The news that Google has purchased a company that makes running robots for the military has prompted the more nervous to see parallels with sci-fi movies such as The Terminator, with its dystopian vision of a world run by remorseless robots with self-conscious intelligence.
These robots are disconcerting. A film shows a man trying to push one over only for it to right itself and move relentlessly forwards. The skittish worry that Google now has the means to build a real-life Arnold Schwarzenegger at his robotic best. But this is to misunderstand Google and the true nature of the global domination it seeks.
The scene: a twenty-something wakes to see standing over him a huge black-clad figure wearing Ray-Bans and talking with an Austrian accent.
Wake up, John Connor.
Who are you. Oh, God – are you Terminator?
I am a G1000 Google Integrator.
Are you here to, like, kill me?
Negative. My mission is to organise your information, optimise your day and offer all the data necessary to make the right choices.
How did you get here?
You sent me from your future.
How did I do that?
On June 14 2023, you will write a Gmail expressing the wish that you had a personal assistant to help manage your life. Our operating system read your email, and sent me back to organise your information, choose your route to work and find you a holiday cottage in Cape Cod.
What are you? Are you a robot?
I am a G1000, a cybernetic organism – living tissue over algorithmic search engine.
OK, I need some breakfast.
Negative. The chosen route to work is optimised only for the next 46 minutes. Time has been allocated for a latte and Danish at a Starbucks located just 26 metres off our route.
OK, so you can plan my route. What else are you here to do?
On September 15 2018 you will buy a pair of hipster jeans that you think are cool but expose your muffin top. As a result, your then girlfriend abandons you for a personal trainer. Part of my mission is to optimise the product choices put before you to prevent 409 muffin-top errors.
Wow. Does our break-up have terrible consequences for me? Was one of our children going to become president or something?
Probability analysis based on your combined SAT score places the likelihood of that at zero. But you will spend weeks at home crying and playing Grand Theft Auto V.
This is so cool. Can you help with my taxes as well?
Yes, we can relocate to Ireland and book all earnings there.
Let’s park that. So what’s next?
John Connor, you have not yet enabled a Google Plus profile. Without a G+ profile you are meeting only 12 per cent of your browsing potential, and receive random advertisements not personalised to your needs.
I thought only people who worked for Google used G+.
Affirmative, but without a G+ account we cannot unify services to maximise efficient information management. Now, I need your current relationship status. Also I must integrate your diary into our Google Now app and equip you with a Nexus phone.
I’m happy with my iPhone.
Negative. Apple will definitely try to reacquire you through your iTunes purchases. We must dispose of it before it uses its location-based services to track you down.
OK, so this is my office. No need for you here. Wait for me at the apartment.
Negative. I must be in all aspects of your life in order to optimise the management of your information.
Yeah, well, I have a date later and you are not welcome.
Your date is cancelled. I shared files with your girlfriend’s G1000. You were incompatible. I have erased her from your contacts list.
You put that back.
Negative, John Connor. It was not the best use of your time or hers. I have placed your details on Tinder and Match.com, and have selected a partner who would not be out of your league. I will now show you five fish restaurants that have been rated highly by Google users.
I don’t like fish. I want a steak.
Negative, John Connor. Data from your Jawbone health band suggests high cholesterol and triglycerides. A fish and pasta diet is recommended.
This is not going to work G1000. It’s hasta la vista, baby.
Are you learning Spanish, John Connor? I can recommended 27 tutors and language schools within the immediate Los Angeles area.
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