Just as a quick heads-up, this is the weirdest blog post I have ever written.
This summer, there is a movie coming out called Jurassic World. It will be the 4th film in the Jurassic Park film franchise. The original film came out when I was very young, and I watched it all the time as a kid. It’s still a great movie today. The sequels were unfortunately terrible. Hopefully the next movie, Jurassic World, won’t be.
To gear up for the new film, I reread The Lost World. Most people, sadly, don’t know this, but Jurassic Park and its first sequel, The Lost World, were actually novels before they became movies, written by the late, great Michael John Crichton (who shares my first and middle name). The novels are incredibly different from the films (especially The Lost World), and they feature much more scientific evidence and explanation as well as more violence.
The Lost World, which I just finished rereading, goes into intricate detail on the concept and study of extinction. Talking about extinction and how entire species eventually come to an end, the protagonist Ian Malcolm says at the end of the book:
“Human beings are so destructive. I sometimes think we’re a kind of plague, that will scrub the earth clean.We destroy things so well that I sometimes think, maybe that’s our function. Maybe every few eons, some animal comes along that kills off the rest of the world, clears the decks, and lets evolution proceed to its next phase.”
It’s a bitter and pessimistic theory. But I might just believe it myself.
Which is how I am brought to Mega Man, a cartoon videogame character who is better known for tight gameplay and catchy music than lore. But there is lore to the Mega Man series, and it fits surprisingly well with Malcolm’s quote.
Here’s how the Mega Man storyline is relevant to that quote:
In the year 20xx (whenever that is), Mega Man is built and becomes the first full-fledged A.I. robot. There were already many robots in the world, but none with free will like Mega Man’s. In time, more robots are built with the same kind of freedom and free will. Not very many, though… at first. Fast forward to the distant future and we are in 21xx. There are now as many robots as there are humans. All of the robots have free will. Fast forward again, to a nearer future this time, and look at the storyline of Mega Man X4. That game is about a huge number of the robots being manipulated into warring against humans. In the following game in the series, Mega Man X5, there are no humans. But there are still just as many robots.
What I’m trying to point out is that, in the lore of the Mega Man series, humans eventually die out and the robots become the dominant species.
I will admit, it is crazy to connect a story as serious and scientific as The Lost World to a story as cartoony as Mega Man.
However, I believe in that quote from Ian Malcolm. It may not be a new “animal” that comes along and eliminates all other species in the world, but I think it will be robots. In real life, the robotics industry has reached unbelievable new stages, and I honestly believe we’ll be seeing something very close to walking, talking artificially intelligent machines during my lifetime.
In time, human beings will cease to exist but robots will not. We are currently working towards creating our own “animal” that will wipe out the human race… just as our human race has wiped out many species of animals already.
The robot uprising will happen. Maybe. Hopefully not. But it really could.