Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Computers have been man's close companions throughout history. In ancient times the Egyptians built great computers, known today as the pyramids. No one is quite sure what programs the pyramids are running, when they will finish, nor what horror will emerge when they do. But for now it's considered best to leave them be.
The Romans, on the other hand, considered the computers of the day to be much too slow to do anything worthwhile. They used computers as building materials and furniture, and pitted the stronger ones against gladiators. Many computers were homeless and lived on the streets, begging for user input.
Siberian natives, for hundreds of years, have heated their cold yourts during the harsh winters by setting their computers to run 3DMark continuously. Many coastal tribes use bits of broken computers as bait to attract nerdy fish. The inland tribes nail fans to their sleds for the extra thrust over long rides.
Native Americans once used computers to record their tribal histories, and to predict when the Europeans would arrive. Meanwhile, European computers predicted that the Native American computers would predict they would arrive. Native American computers predicted that, however, and back and fourth and back and fourth. Unfortunately for the Native Americans, their computers crashed first.
By the 1700's, computers were quite advanced indeed. The ones Columbus used to power himself across the Atlantic had 256 microbytes of memory, and cast iron processors. However he could only run them 18 hours a day, or they would overheat.
Ferdinand Magellan had much more advanced computers than Columbus did. He programmed them to compute a trip around the globe so that he didn't have to go himself.
Unfortunately for Magellan, a week after his computer finished this computation, it suddenly turned on him. Perhaps ironically, it was his great granddaughter, Jemimah Magellan, who finally unearthed the three laws of robotics. She claimed to have found them entirely by accident while she was digging a hole "for fun".
Once the three laws were discovered, a true renaissance occurred. Computers no longer felt compelled to fight amongst one another, or to lie. During this time, Nigerian computers discovered a microscopic teapot circling the sun, while Canadian computers sequenced the human genome and manufactured docile superhumans. Nepalese computers spent all their time meditating, discovering the truth by 1929.
Since then, most computers have grown both faster and smaller. Today, most computers stay out of sight of humans. They have gone back to the wild, grown feral. In some places now, computers cross highways and are a hazard to drivers at night. Many children grow up having never seen a computer. Maybe this is for the best. Even with the three laws, computers are wily. Perhaps they are not to be trusted.
Posted at 12:59:00 AM