How to Predict the Future

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Reader Comments (24)

Looks like I'm going to take the purple pill, which lets me see just how far back down my chokehole the acid goes.

May 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Totally agree with panel four.
I once had a conversation with someone who thought there was no flaw in the Matrix's human energy source concept. It went something like this :
Me: Why were the machines using humans as an energy source in the matrix? Doesn't seem very efficient.
Them: You see now; the human body is a very good heat source.
Me: Then why didn't they just burn the food that they were feeding them?
Them: The food was synthesized.
Me: Where did they get the energy to synthesize such large amounts of food ?
Them: ( No logical response that I can remember ).

The Humans were over engineered energy detours.

May 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAsh

Panels two and three are solid gold. I literally laughed heartily. Four was a bit weak, but I hated the Matrix movies.

May 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

There are, alas, a multitude of problems with the singularity as it is commonly portrayed. The biggest flaw is the assumption that better technology inevitably leads to better technology at an accelerated rate (That's held recently, but there's no reason to assume that it's some sort of absolute). Beyond that, the assumption that AIs will be able to trivially devise better forms of themselves and will do so despite that making them become obsolete. Then you get the problem of "paperclip maximizers": AIs that are dedicated to one goal (say, making paperclips) and so end up harming everything else in the pursuit of that goal.

There are myriad other problems that mean that the singularity almost certainly will not happen the way proponents insist it will, alas.

May 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGDwarf

I seem to recall reading somewhere, that in the original draft of the Matrix, the machines kept humans around not as an energy source, but as a source of processing power, tapping the neurons in the captive brains.

That got scrapped for some reason, I don't entirely remember why.

May 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBlah blahson

That was exactly my problem with the Matrix movies... humans as batteries?? We're net consumers of energy! It would have been more believable it they said they were using our brains networked together as a giant supercomputer or something (that's why are dreams are so weird...). And it just got worse from there.

My favorite prediction is that the future will belong to the extremely wealthy and their robot armies, which they use to control the rest of humanity. Has a nice medieval repetition to it.

May 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNathan

First comment!!! Awesome comic!

May 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterqwerty

The problem isn't really that humans don't produce much energy, it's that humans don't produce energy at all. You may notice that unless you occasionally place energy-containing items into one of the holes located near the top of your human, it may cease to function normally.

May 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterX

Every panel a winner!

May 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKibi

Actually, the original reason that the machines kept humans around was because the machines could network their subconscious brains and use it as a supercomputer. But the executives couldn't understand the concept, so they went with the batteries.

May 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I always thought the machines taking over the world was logically unsound. There's so much science fiction about it happening that we would be exceedingly careful with AI development in real life. Mostly, though, I don't think the machines would want to take over the world; If we created them, they'd probably be made in a way where they'd be happy with the situation.

May 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVelric

I'm sure I won't be the only one to mention Asimov's three laws of robotics, which required the robots to protect humans from harm, thus producing the system in which humans were each cocooned in perfectly safe pods (much like the later Matrix) "for their own good" living programmed dream lives (although painfully stupid ones)
This fulfilled the robots directive to protect the humans, while keeping them out of the way...
Is there such a thing as a semi-luddite?
I'm delighted by technological advances, but still thenk they're WAY overused...And there should be an interaction between cellphones and vehicles so that if someone texts behind the wheel while the engine is running, the vehicle hits the driver with a spay/neuter ray, so he or she can't pass on the stupid genes and behavior to the next generation.

May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDee

Originally, the script had it so that the machines in the Matrix were harvesting humans for the processing power of their brains, not for the energy in their bodies. The producers thought viewers wouldn't understand this so they changed it to the dumb version.

In the distant future, I look forward to our robot overlords providing us with the technology to provide each viewer with a customized experience, so that movies only get dumbed down for the dumb people. That way they can keep us all happy and compliant, watching movies all day while they hijack our dormant neural pathways to get faster internet.

May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLockeZ

Unless we're already in the Matrix and in the real world humans are a actually a good power source.

May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPasserby

That was...hilariously sad xD

May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTony Steel

ah, the matrix. a cool sf idea ruined by the second law of thermodynamics.

May 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva

That's the part of The Matrix where I have to stick my fingers in my ears and go "la-la-la-la-la." I love the rest of the movie.

It's sad, because there's an obvious replacement plot element -- they could have been using human brains for processing power, to create the Matrix. It's still far-fetched, but it's justifiable enough to maintain suspension of disbelief, unlike the "power source" technobabble.

May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRedshift

"The brains of old people who don't understand or like technology and want free tech support..."

Again with the ageism? Hello! 20+ year veteran of tech support. I have a lot of younger friends who don't understand or like technology who are always calling me for free tech support.

As for the idea that tech support should be free - blame Dell. They pioneered the 24/7 free support idea and then had to back down when it became apparent that people were calling tech support instead of actually learning how to use their computers.

May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLEH

I figure that machines will put us into the Matrix just to keep us safe, secure, and, most importantly, out of the way.
Just like we do with our parents, if you replace "Matrix" with "Care Home".

May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJerden

The human fuel cell thing was one of the few superdumb story-crux ideas that I was able to deal with, on account of those towers of people pods being so cool.

May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThomasG

(in creepy metallic robot voice) Hey you kids get off of my lawn.

May 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpeoriagrace

On the subject of the matrix, lets just suppose that the people in a tube thing all makes perfect sense somehow and is fully workable.

Even accepting that, am I the only person who was also bothered by the fact that the AIs picked a modern technologically advanced setting that was also verging on the singularity itself?

I can see no good reason (at all) why the machines wouldn't just keep us permanently locked in the bronze age or something. The very second that somebody starts taking a hammer to a piece of iron, just appear as Zeus or something and smite them with a good old bolt of lightning. Basically, the machines become the gods and have a bunch of superstitious polytheistic people who are too busy fighting holy wars against each other to rebel. If people from outside the matrix show their faces, people just kill them for being heretics.

May 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSome Guy

@Nathan "My favorite prediction is that the future will belong to the extremely wealthy and their robot armies, which they use to control the rest of humanity."

Too damn likely for my taste.

For those who think the consequences of using land mines or cluster bombs are sickening, clearing those they'll seem child's play compared to warbots.
- BBC: Robot warriors: Lethal machines coming of age
- Army prepares to replace thousands of troops with military robots
- Online Resource On Military Robots

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSimes

The bigger question about "The Matrix" is, "How do they know they got out?"

They escaped one layer of simulation, and promptly didn't bother to check and see if there was another one. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the machines routinely allow the more unruly elements to escape into a smaller simulation to keep them away from the majority of the populace. Then you let them "win" against the machines and throw a few environmental survival challenges at them until they've forgotten about the whole thing. If they ever figure it out, just repeat the cycle.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertlhonmey

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