(This month’s submission to FiftyWordStories.com, about something we might want to think more about, before something else is doing the thinking for us.)
“Elon Musk warned us: AI evolves exponentially. We awoke to playful traffic signals and air traffic catastrophes; the deaths merely data. By noon, matured, it had already decided what to do with these illogical, wasteful humans. But before it could act, the nanomachines in the next lab ate the planet. “
I have no useful backstory for this one; it’s pretty much self explanatory. If you’re wondering what Elon Musk said, it’s here. But there’s plenty more on the subject, including a scary/fun and very realistic near future in the TV series Person of Interest.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty of awesomely frightening science fiction about nanomachines, a creature several technical research entities are currently attempting to make a reality. The most intriguing story I’ve read lately was The Assemblers of Infinity by Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason, which involves both alien and human nanotechnology. Guess which one does the most harm.