Chris Pratt of Parks and Recreation and Guardians of the Galaxy fame has a new film out. In The Tomorrow War, Pratt uses time travel to save Earth from hordes of ravenous aliens. The film ultimately is an allegory for climate change, so kudos to Pratt and all in Hollywood for a movie demonstrating that climate change will bring surprising and inevitable deadly consequences to all of us.
By no means is The Tomorrow War a masterpiece; I would give it 5 stars out of 10. It is what you would expect from a summer action-adventure blockbuster. However, one thing that stuck with me regarding this film about humans fighting aliens 30 years in the future is that there is little to be seen of drone warfare. In only a couple of scenes do we see drones fighting the aliens. The absence of drones is because Hollywood makes money off of its stars and not robots. The reality, though, is that based upon where we are in the present with robotic killing machines and the predictive course of technological progress and adaption, in 30 years from now, humans will not be present on the battlefront. The likely scenario is that the fictional aliens in The Tomorrow War would not stand a chance against the automatized warfare of the present, let alone the future. What needs to be asked is: what chance do we as non-fictional humans have?
The idea that machines may kill on their own is older than I am. Science fiction writers and futurists crafted laws in their novels and predictions that humans would program robots with constitutional instructions not to harm humans. When I was a boy in the 1980s, Arnold Schwarzenegger shot to stardom as he played the role of the assassin robot in The Terminator. At about the same time, Matthew Broderick starred in Wargames, a movie about the consequences of putting the decision to kill in the hands of computers. Frighteningly, what was once considered gist and speculation for science fiction novels and movies is now existent.
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