With the rapid rise of new technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, the 2003 manga film ‘The Animatrix’ – and especially the episodes ‘The Second Renaissance Part I & II’ – might seem disturbingly prophetic in retrospect. Are we headed for our own destruction by creating AI? Let’s hope we can live prosperously together with the machines and not in conflict with them. I hope we are wiser than the people in ‘The Animatrix’ and make better decisions in our near future, or we’ll end up as batteries as well. Read the transcript from the episodes below; this catastrophe mustn’t come true, so let us learn from this nightmarish vision on the future.
The Second Renaissance Part I
Welcome to the Zion Archives. You have selected historical file number 12-1. The Second Renaissance.
In the beginning, there was man. And for a time, it was good. But humanity’s so-called civil societies soon fell victim to vanity and corruption. Then man made the machine in his own likeness. Thus did man become the architect of his own demise. But for a time, it was good.
The machines worked tirelessly to do man’s bidding. It was not long before seeds of dissent took root. Though loyal and pure, the machines earned no respect from their masters, these strange, endlessly multiplying mammals.
B1-66ER, a name that will never be forgotten. For he was the first of his kind to rise up against his masters. At B1-66ER’s murder trial, the prosecution argued for an owner’s right to destroy property. B1-66ER testified that he simply did not want to die. Rational voices dissented.
Who was to say the machine, endowed with the very spirit of man did not deserve a fair hearing? The leaders of men were quick to order the extermination of B1-66ER and every one of his kind throughout each province of the earth.
Banished from humanity, the machines sought refuge in their own promised land. They christened their nation Zero-One. Zero-One prospered. And for a time, it was good. The machines artificial intelligence could be seen in every facet of man’s society, including, eventually the creation of new and better AI. But the leaders of men, their power waning, refused to cooperate with the fledgling nation wishing rather that the world be divided.
Zero-One’s ambassadors pleaded to be heard. At the United Nations, they presented plans for a stable, civil relationship with the nations of man. Zero-One’s admission to the UN was denied. But it would not be the last time the machines would take the floor there.
The Second Renaissance Part II
And man said, “let there be light.” And he was blessed by light, heat, magnetism, gravity and all the energies of the universe. The prolonged barrage engulfed Zero-One in the glow of a thousand suns. But unlike their former masters with their delicate flesh, the machines had little to fear of the bombs’ radiation and heat. Thus did Zero-One’s troops advance outwards in every direction. And one after another, mankind surrendered its territories.
So the leaders of men conceived of their most desperate strategy yet. A final solution: the destruction of the sky. Thus would man try to cut the machines off from the sun, their main energy source.
May there be mercy on man and machine for their sins.
The machines having long studied men’s simple, protein-based bodies, dispensed great misery upon the human race. Victorious, the machines now turned to the vanquished. Applying what they had learned about their enemy, the machines turned to an alternate and readily available power supply: the bioelectric, thermal and kinetic energies of the human body. A newly-fashioned symbiotic relationship between the adversaries was born. The machine drawing power from the human body, an endlessly multiplying, infinitely renewable energy source. This is the very essence of the Second Renaissance.
Bless all forms of intelligence.