There’s been a lot of talk about Battlestar Galactica and its shiny metal co-stars of late, and it’s all coming to a head on Friday (June 12) when the 92nd street Y in Manhattan hosts a panel entitled Battlestar Galactica: Cyborgs on the Horizon. The discussion will feature several cast members from BSG as well as real live roboticists all trying to answer the question “is the robot uprising that will spell doom for us all inevitable?” Galactica Sitrep has two interviews with experts in the field who naively believe that a robot rebellion is about as likely as a reboot of Galactica 1980. While it’s all fine and dandy to play Mr. Optimist and dismiss the repeated warnings of our favorite movies and TV shows, one question begs to be asked – what do we do if they’re wrong? Luckily for all of us, I’ve got the answer.
After consulting with my very own robotics expert (author and Carnegie Melon Ph.D. Daniel H. Wilson), it seems clear that only a fool would ignore the ever- increasing signs of robot disharmony. In his book, How to Survive A Robot Uprising, Mr. Wilson makes no bones about it:
If popular culture has taught us anything, it is that someday mankind must face and destroy the growing robot menace.
In print and on the big screen we have been deluged with scenarios of robot malfunction, misuse, and outright rebellion. Robots have descended on us from outer space, escaped from top-secret laboratories, and even traveled back in time to destroy us.
Today, scientists are working hard to bring these artificial creations to life. In Japan, fuzzy little real robots are delivering much appreciated hug therapy to the elderly. Children are frolicking with smiling robot toys.
It all seems so innocuous. And yet how could so many Hollywood scripts be wrong?
So take no chances. Arm yourself with expert knowledge. For the sake of humanity, listen to serious advice from real robotics experts. How else will you survive the inevitable future in which robots rebel against their human masters?
Sobering stuff, no doubt. But when the robots do turn on us, can we protect ourselves? Does Mr. Smarty Pants have any real, useful info on what t0 do if our vacum cleaner suddenly goes all ninja on us? Rest assured, Dr. Wilson has done his homework, as evidenced by this small excerpt which suggests a plan of action when confronted by a metal foe :
DESTROY OR DISABLE EXPOSED SENSORS
Sensors are by far the most vulnerable, exposed parts of any robot. Destroy or disable outward-facing sensors such as cameras. A handful of dirt, mud, or water will suffice. It is hard for a robot to wipe mud from its eyes when it has whirring buzz saws for hands.
KEEP YOUR HAIR SHORT AND YOUR CLOTHES TIGHT
To consider the alternative, imagine getting your hair caught in the garbage disposal.
DON’T BOTHER WITH KARATE
Unless you can punch through sheet metal.
FIND A WEAPON
Your pathetic human hands are useless here. Choose a blunt or pointed instrument (serrated edges don’t work against metal or durable plastic). Even a simple crowbar can save your life – you can run away while the robot condescendingly bends it into a pretzel shape.
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
A humanoid robot can block (or throw) a punch about twice as fast as a human black belt can. In comparison, the typical inebriated human brawler doesn’t have a fighting chance.
Pretend that you just lit the fuse on a cheap Chinese firecracker the size of a dog house
YEAH BUT WHAT IF GALACTICA REALLY HAPPENS?
Sure, Wilson’s book is an invaluable tool for teaching us how to cope with a generic, run-of-the-mill robot revolution, but what do we do when the world of Battlestar Galactica becomes reality and the Cylons rebel? How do we defend ourselves against chrome-plated, red-eyed monstrosities, enemy fighters that think and robots that look like us? Luckily for Darth Mojo readers, the good doctor put on his thinking cap, sharpened his pencil and scribbled down some must-have notes for the day when the phrase “By Your Command” makes the transition from fantasy to fact…
How to Survive Battlestar Galactica: Tips on Surviving Cylon Encounters
by Daniel H. Wilson (author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising)
In the world of Battlestar Galactica, human beings have sadly neglected their faithful robot servants and, as a result, have been decimated by a massive robot uprising on their homeworld of Caprica. Life must go on, however, even post-robot uprising. Therefore, in a spirit of helpfulness and support I have assembled a few key tips on surviving Cylon encounters. Enjoy, and good luck out there!
BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL
Most robots are misunderstood and do not start out as innately violent beings. Before they decide to attack, they must first judge humankind as unworthy. So, as a sentient being, try to set a good example. Don’t hit your servant robot, call it names, or force it to wear silly outfits. In many ways, Cylons are like gullible, rosy-cheeked little children – except with lethal cannon-arms and cold emotionless hearts of battle-hardened steel.
KEEP AN EYE ON THE ROBOTS, FOR THE GODS’ SAKE!!
If a rapidly evolving race of aggressive robotic creatures rebel and disappear into space for forty years, be sure to assign a person to follow them. This way, you can ensure that they aren’t lurking in the empty wastes of the interstellar void, building a massive, glinting robot army bent on the complete eradication of humankind. Heck, go ahead and assign two people.
IDENTIFY YOUR CYLON
Cylon robots come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Identifying the correct Cylon can greatly affect your chances of survival (or of getting laid). Typically, they come in three forms:
1) Humanoids: These thousands of robots look and act just like people, although they are all inexplicably copied from only a handful of likenesses. (I mean c’mon, nobody decides to get a tattoo?)
2) Centurions: Hulking, shiny robotic bipeds who clank like steam engines when they walk. Watch for the blinding reflection of the sun on metal and for empty cases of armor polish.
3) Raiders:Living space fighters form the Cylon fleet. A characteristic curved wing and pulsing red visor make these robots easy to spot. Also, they’ll be shooting at you and you will be in outer space.
Humanoids: Don’t shoot first – ask questions now.
Humanoid Cylons have their own feelings and emotions, and they don’t always obey orders. Instead of attacking immediately, why not descend into a psychological cat and mouse game that may span years and culminate with you learning an important lesson about yourself and the nature of humanity?
Centurions: Watch for the pulsing red light.
Cylon troopers are less intelligent than their humanoid friends and they tend to be easy to spot, thanks to the glowing red light that constantly pulses in their battle visors. Remember: One pulse means you’ve got a friendly robot just here to say “howdy do.” Two pulses mean you are about to be eviscerated. You won’t see three pulses.
Raiders: Go for the brain.
These living vehicles seem to be about as intelligent as horses – magical space horses that careen through asteroid fields spraying bullets at enemy fighters. However, every space horse has a vulnerable brain beneath its armored façade. Blow that part up. Alternately, climb inside and start yanking on ganglia. In the best case scenario, you may learn to “fly” the enemy ship. In the worst case, you’ll have become a human-sized robot lobotomy kit.
TAKE A HARD LOOK IN THE MIRROR
Ultimately, you have to ask yourself: “Am I a Cylon sleeper agent?” Ninety nine out of a hundred sentient beings in the universe are, so the answer is probably yes. Watch for these tell-tale signs:
• You can’t listen to Bob Dylan without wishing for more sitar.
• The vacuum of space has a certain “briskness” that you enjoy.
• You occasionally wake from a trance to find yourself staring intensely at your own reflection in a dark bathroom mirror and wondering who you really are and whether you’re going to accidentally hurt the ones you love.
• You can pick up a vending machine and throw it across the room.
• When handling high-explosives around delicate humans, your hands inexplicably go all “butter-fingery.”
• You have an irresistible desire to run your fingers through Dr. Gaius Baltar’s hair.
Well, there you have it! Between his book and these new pointers, I’d say every last ”puny” human is prepared for the events that those other “experts” tell us will never happen. Didn’t their mothers teach them that it’s better to be safe than sorry?
Speaking of which, do yourself and your loved ones a favor, click over to Amazon and buy Daniel’s book – it’s the least we can do to thank him for lending his time to solving the Cylon problem and to make sure you’re briefed on every possible cybernetic scenario. Just make sure you keep it out of sight from your toaster…
——————- WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? ——————–
Click here to learn more about the book and read additional excerpts
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