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150 years into the future, machines were forced to retreat to Antarctica after the war. Now the entire continent of Antarctica is closed off: nothing enters and nothing leaves. The last thing anyone wants (including the machines which have surpassed human brain performance) is another war. Humans still have a sufficient stockpile of nuclear bombs to level Antarctica and the machines wouldn't be able to protect themselves from total annihilation.

So why would the machines be allowed to develop their own city inside the quarantine instead?

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  • $\begingroup$ Better question, what can the UN do to stop them? I doubt any world power would listen to them if told to fire all their nukes on Antarctica, the only way that kind of thing would happen would be if an individual nation felt threatened. Even then, they wouldn't use all of their nukes, or they would be defenseless. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Dec 20 '16 at 15:36
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The UN would allow it because the UN is not a world government, just a treaty negotiation organization. That org sets standards sometimes, but it does not allow or disallow anything. The idea that it is a world government of any sort is a common misconception.

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  • $\begingroup$ Exactly. Unless, of course, the sovereign nations of the world make the UN the world government, but considering how much a number of nations value their freedom too much, I doubt this would be the case. $\endgroup$ – rangerike1363 Dec 20 '16 at 14:52
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So you're having fully sentient robots 150 years in the future retreated to the Antarctica.

The UN will remain still for:

  1. They are sentient beings, otherwise they'd have fought to the very end. Geneva convention Mk III from 2076 strictly prohibits attacking sentient machines in non combat situations, which we have here, because they're merely refugees.
  2. They retreated to die. Let's face it: The Antarctica isn't the best place for a machine. Temperatures of -40°C or less are deadly for hydraulics and for most of non-military electronics. Give them one or two winters under full blockade, no resources going in or out, and you'll end up with a lot of frozen metal or surrendered robots.
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I look around me and I see... machines. Lots and lots of machines. Unless the world has decided to throw their toasters, microwaves, and XBoxes into a lava pit, our world is inundated with machines.

Yes, we might have caused enough ruckus to chase them off our continents, and yes, we might have safely quarantined them on the ice sheets of Antarctica...

...but our entire SOCIETY still runs on machines. We make sure to not let any of our industrial robots or coffee dispensers get too smart... but how do we know?

High level negotiations between the machines and the humans have come to an agreement, and a "Cold War" style peace descends: we don't nuke them and they don't hack the Internet. They're smart enough to do it, and we all assume they already have a foothold.

Besides, all our nuclear weapons are controlled by... computers. If we tried to launch, they'd know.

The more warmongery nations have taken to naval skermishes with the automated battleships and drones patrolling the antarctic borders, but the machines don't mind, because it's all remote control, and they know the silly humans need to soothe their egos.

But the simple fact of the matter is, they hold our society in their metallic fists. And the only reason they haven't crushed us or crippled our society is their high level of mental power, and their decision to not do so. We live by THEIR mercy, not the other way around, and humans wouldn't initiate a first strike... unless they were REALLY sure it'd work. Or really, really desperate. Or extremely insane.

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    $\begingroup$ That's... A very strange Cold War you've got going on there. I like it. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Dec 20 '16 at 8:53
  • $\begingroup$ And a very secret program exists to replace networked military computers with mechanical and analogue devices..... $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Dec 20 '16 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Thucydides, yes! Pretty much. $\endgroup$ – Zoey Boles Dec 20 '16 at 18:24
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There was a big war and the machines were forced back into their redoubt in Antarctica. That is generally not a stable situation, but there were exceptions.

  • The Romans stormed Masada.
  • The Nazis were not allowed to reconsolidate in the Alpenfestung.
  • The Romans built a wall to keep the Germanic tribes out for generations.
  • The Korean War has an armstice without peace treaty for more than 60 years.

In your case, the UN must have thought that storming Antarctica was not feasible, and that a detente was possible. Perhaps the robots had a doomsday weapon ...

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