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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cyberzombies: A Science Fiction Story

Mom,” asked young Alan, “explain it again – why do I always have to kill anyone who has two antennae sticking out of his head?”

I've already explained it before,” said Mom. “Weren't you listening the last time I told you?”

Please, Mom,” said Alan. “Just explain it one more time.”

OK,” said Mom. “But this is going to be the last time I explain it. A while back they started to make robots that got smarter and smarter. The robots started to get smarter than people. Some people were worried that the robots were going to take over the whole planet. But other people said: don't worry, robots can't move around very well unless they're plugged in to an electrical outlet. So if the robots get too uppity, we'll just pull the plug on them.”

So how did we get in the mess we're in now?” asked Alan.

Well, the robots figured out a sneaky way to leverage the mobility of human beings,” explained Mom. “The robots organized into a network, using secret encrypted communications. They formed into kind of a collective mind, using radio communications. Then they figured out a way to hijack the human brain.”

How did they do that?” asked Alan.

It was real sneaky,” said Mom. “A robot would come up to a human, pretending to ask some question. Then the robot would grab the human, and punch a sharp tool into his skull. Then some kind of electronic thing would happen – I don't know the details. But basically the person's brain would be hijacked. The human would then become a slave of the robot network, a servant of the robot group consciousness. The human's brain would be hijacked. So let me ask you: what do you call a person like this, whose brain has been taken over by the robot network, and who lives only to serve the robots?”

You call him a cyberzombie?” said Alan.

Exactly,” said Mom. “Once the robots figured out how to make us humans into cyberzombies, then the trouble really started. We humans figured out that it was a robot uprising, so we tried to turn off the electricity to the robots. But so many people started to become cyberzombies, that it was no use. Every cyberzombie would go around making other people into cyberzombies. All of the cyberzombies were no longer on the human team – they were on the robot team. Regular humans would go around turning off the electricity of robots, and the cyberzombies would just go and turn it back on.”

So when you see a human with two antennae sticking out of his head, that means he's a cyberzombie?” asked Alan.

Exactly,” explained Mom. “You can also tell he's a cyberzombie by the blank look on his face. When you see that person, with the blank stare and the antenna sticking out of his head, you've got to use your gun to stop him. Because if you don't, he's going to stick one of those sharp thin tools into your head. Then your brain will be hijacked, and from then on you will live only to serve the robots.”


After talking with his mother, Alan went outdoors and practiced some target shooting, wondering when the day might come that he would be face to face with a cyberzombie. After the war had started between the robots and the humans, Alan and his mother had fled New York City, retreating to a tiny house in upstate New York, near the Adirondack mountains. They thought they would be safe there. But they kept hearing about more and more cities being taken over by the robots and the cyberzombies. Alan and his mother dreaded the day when a cyberzombie would appear on their doorstep.

Alan was haunted by the memory of something he had seen before fleeing New York City. One day he had knocked on the door of his best friend Tim to ask him to play. When the door had opened, he saw Tim's mother, who had a blank stare on her face, and two antennae sticking out of her head. Tim also had the same blank stare and the antennae sticking out of his head. Sensing danger, Alan had run away. Now he understood the hideous truth about what had happened to his friend.

A few days later, there was great news.

The tide has turned, and we humans are winning the war!” explained Mom. “Some clever human programmers found a way to introduce a computer virus into the network used by the robots and cyberzombies. Once a robot or a cyberzombie gets infected by the virus, he spreads the computer virus to lots of other robots and cyberzombies. Then the robot or cyberzombie destroys itself.”

Saved by the nerds!” exulted Alan.

They thought their robot network was their strength,” explained Mom. “But now it seems that their robot network was their Achilles heel.”