I am currently planning a dark-humor story about the robot apocalypse (Mostly inspired by Robopocalypse and other robot uprising works, of course), and for a while, I’ve been struggling with just how the apocalypse itself begins, but now I’m coming to a good conclusion. While I have a good frame for the “before” and “after” parts, it’s the “during” part I’m stumped with.
I’m not too concerned with reality since it’s a dark-humor story. I want to have a pop culture-esque “robot armies overrunning military” story, but I still want to keep realistic weapons instead of plasma rifles or flying cars or human fun pods.
The basic backstory is that in the near future (2030s-40s), people use automated and robotic devices like autonomous cars, smart appliances, and robots in everyday life, which all come from a large tech company called MaxMind. MaxMind’s founder created a benevolent and intelligent AI in his college years, which created schematics for efficient robotic systems, allowing the company to grow exponentially.
MaxMind’s co-founder uses his colleague’s work in secrecy to create a super-intelligent AI which labels mankind as a threat, and plots to wipe it from the face of the planet. The novel follows the lives of multiple characters both human and robot (more specifically, a line of androids resembling anthropomorphic animals called Anidroids who aren’t affected by the AI’s control) as they witness civilization collapse before their eyes, and try to survive in a world full of evolving killing machines.
For how the AI causes civilization to fall, I’ve blocked out this timeline:
Day -105: The AI is activated, but pretends to be unintelligent.
Day -100: The AI’s supervisor brings his personal laptop to work; the AI uses it to escape the facility.
Day -100–-90: The AI spreads a computer virus throughout all automated networks.
Day -90–0: Isolated incidents of malfunctioning machines begin to happen every few weeks. This is the “Silent Phase,” where the AI remains in the tech grid without drawing mass attention.
Day 1–5: The true robot uprising begins. While I haven’t decided exactly how it transpires, whether radiating from certain cities of origin, exponentially rising incidents, or happening across the world at once, I do know that what is initially believed to be a cyberattack escalates into mass chaos.
Day 5–15: Chaos reigns as robots and devices run amok. Local law enforcement struggles to contain both the robot hordes and looters taking advantage of the emergency conditions, meanwhile citizens try to defend themselves in their own home, or leave the city.
Day 15–30: The military gets involved in the crisis, trying to deter the machine army while protecting civilians. Unfortunately, the military fails, being overrun by the relentless machines. With the collapse of the military, the governments of the world fall as well. Families are separated, cities turn into war zones, and millions of Anidroids are without owners.
Day 30-ish: The full burnout of civilization as we know it. The “after” part begins.
I do realize that for a “super-intelligent AI causes end of world scenario” it’d have to be a “day-one-and-done” thing, but I still want to have some sort of transition between the “pre” and “post” apocalypse, rather than do something like “I ducked from the window and didn’t look out until the screaming stopped.”
I’m asking for advice or suggestions on what would happen on certain days or how the world would respond.
However, I am open to change the initial uprising’s story if necessary. One idea someone gave me was a “voluntary” uprising, where robots are updated, glitch out, decide humans have got to go, and begin to manipulate other robots, which would result in a slow-building war (like the Second Renaissance but without the machine rights stuff), but I still don’t know how I would execute it (like, what characters in areas not yet affected would experience) or how it would build up, and I’d probably have to remove the AI’s character, unless they were adapted into some sort of robot inciter of war.