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The year is 2089. The world has suffered greatly from EMPs from asteroids. The internet is no longer reliable(Bye bye SE). We now rely on printers to send messages. Our research has advanced, and now printers are aware-both of themselves-and to our needs. However, somewhere down the line they become self aware, and threaten to destroy human kind. What would be the best offensive attack on self aware printers to stop them from replicating and creating more advanced machines to destroy us?

Specs:

There are 10 BILLION printers, about 20% 3D(to replicate robots to destroy), you have and near infinite amount of materials(except printer made ones), the printers are HIGHLY advanced, pulling the plug or something like smashing them would not work. They are waterproof, made of titanium, have backup batteries that last at least 10 years, and any method that takes over 42 seconds will fail, as they will upload themselfs to the I.S.S(controlled by printers) and will ultimately devise a plan to nuke the earth.(Note on the I.S.S, It is abandoned, therefore printer territory, but not populated as only their emergency protocols will upload them there.) The printers can manufacture almost anything on the earth.

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    $\begingroup$ Paperjam? Probably wouldn't work but would be pretty funny if that's the tone you're going for. $\endgroup$ – MintySweeTea Sep 8 '20 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ I was not aware that an asteroid could produce an EMP. $\endgroup$ – Joe Sep 8 '20 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ pulling the plug or something like smashing them would not work. ... Why though? Humans are highly advanced, but cutting off oxygen or smashing them works really well. $\endgroup$ – cowlinator Sep 8 '20 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ A machine that can design and build a machine more advanced than itself, not to mention physically defend itself, is so far removed from what we call a "printer" that the term has pretty much lost its meaning. This is just a killer robot that happens to have an ink cartridge. $\endgroup$ – Nuclear Hoagie Sep 8 '20 at 18:19
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    $\begingroup$ For such a cartoonish threat, dropping anvils or boulders upon them seems appropriate. Or paint holes on the ground for the bots to fall into. Or fast-talk the bots into shooting themselves. Or simply confound them with wrong-size paper. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Sep 8 '20 at 18:42
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Short answer: Damage/destroy/drain the power supply.


Long answer: So 2089, not too far off, so we can do some technology extrapolations. Here’s the thing, if you want mobility you have to sacrifice battery life/power supply or printing quality. Same if you want mobility, you have to sacrifice one of the other two. No matter what, you can’t have the best of all of them. So let’s say you have a bunch of stationary, high quality printers that are connected to a power network. Destroy the power network and the printers stop working. Do they have internal batteries? Damage them, even slightly, and they won’t hold a charge any more. Extreme heat would be a good way to quickly kill batteries. If the printers themselves can’t be hurt, then de-power them.

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Personally, I would make a simple solution of two pounds (1 Kg) of epsom salts in 5 gallons of hot water, then pour the water into the Evil printers. Unless they're waterproof, or have self-sefense capability, the process should render them inert.

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  • $\begingroup$ How can they scale this up to 10 billion printers? $\endgroup$ – cowlinator Sep 8 '20 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ If they're light enough, can't we just toss them into the ocean? On second thought, I don't know what the environmental impact of throwing 10 billion printers, including ink cartridges, would be, so maybe not the best idea. $\endgroup$ – TheLittlePeace Sep 8 '20 at 18:30
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    $\begingroup$ @cowlinator 20 billions pounds and 50 billion gallons $\endgroup$ – Topcode Sep 8 '20 at 18:33
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Silly question. The answer has been known since the beginning of the home computer, used extensively by every company that has ever designed and marketed a printer.

Come out with another model, that makes the current model obsolete. Everyone will switch over to the new model, and the older one will be completely abandoned, no matter how functional it remains. All of these 10B printers will be consigned to the recyclers, or if they are truly undestroyable, thrown away in landfills. No artificial intelligence, no matter how advanced, will ever match the power of the absolute stupidity of planned obsolescence.

It will really help the cause, if the replacement toner/ink cartridges are priced so high, that buying a newer model replacement printer is cheaper than buying the ink/toner. If you are old enough, you will remember when the major printer manufacturers sold their printers at a loss, and made up for it on the ink/cartridge sales. This, of course, was before the ink/toner refill market blossomed. If such a substantial after market refill business has developed aroung this printer, better yet. Make the non-OEM inks/toner so absolutely horrible that they gum up the print heads, and leak all over the printer, rendering it useless, and smearing all of the print jobs. Being impossible to change without making a complete mess of the operator, leaving their hands, clothing, and such covered in indellible ink, will really speed the replacement process up considerably.

I don't care how indestructible the printer is professed to be, there will always be a sucfficiently aggravated user that will ultimately demolish it, in complete frustration, while trying to replace the ink/toner.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not quite what we're looking for, the situation is printers have started to take over mankind, and want to destroy us. How would you take offensive measures against the printers(not counting cutting off power supplies or stuff like that. $\endgroup$ – bean delivery man Sep 8 '20 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ All printers, by definition, need to print. If they do not print, they are not printers. To print, they need cnsumables to be replenished. Without these consumables, they are not printers, in fact they are useless boat anchors. Please explain how a useless, purposeless boat anchor is going to harm a human? Maybe through pollution, maybe? $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme the Second Sep 8 '20 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ They're extremely advanced. They self replicate almost any material on earth. $\endgroup$ – bean delivery man Sep 9 '20 at 0:07
  • $\begingroup$ In other words, you have developed an absolutely invincible, infinitely powerful, completely immortal supreme being, and you are wondering how it can be destroyed? In that case, just assume a vulnerbility. You created the monster, you can create its weakness. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme the Second Sep 9 '20 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ lol You're so right but there's still ways to destroy them $\endgroup$ – bean delivery man Sep 9 '20 at 15:08

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