Silence...

  • Written by Administrator
  • February 1, 2018

Greetings, cyborgs, robots, and natural humans!

It's been very quiet here for over a year now. It's deafening, the silence here. At least, that's how it feels to me. But it's time for an update on what's up with the show...

Once again, thanks for listening to the show. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more detail, click on VIEW POST.

Announcing Series 2

  • Written by Administrator
  • December 6, 2016

Greetings, cyborgs, robots, and natural humans!

It's been a while since we've had an update here on RobotOverlordz.fm, but that doesn't mean that things haven't been ongoing. With that in mind, it seemed like past time to announce the upcoming launch of Robot Overlordz 2.0, AKA Series 2.

Once again, thanks for listening to the show. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more detail, click on VIEW POST.

Overlordz Hiatus

  • Written by Administrator
  • November 16, 2016

Greetings, cyborgs, robots, and natural humans!

We're taking a short hiatus to rethink the show and re-evaluate what's next for the future. In the meantime, all of our previously released episodes are available on the site, most of them with transcripts (and more of the transcripts are coming soon). If you have any suggestions or ideas for the show, feel free to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thanks so much for listening, and thanks for your patience...

The Robot War

  • Written by Mike
  • November 18, 2015

When you hear the phrase Robot War, or the Machine War, or even the AI War, it conjures visions of Terminators striding across skull-strewn plains. Blame Hollywood or our overactive imaginations there. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what a war between humans and AI would actually be like. And this has led me to think that we are in the middle of this war right now.

What do I mean by that? Well, I started thinking about what is an AI. To my mind, an AI is a non-human entity that was created artificially. In the context of a Robot War, such an AI would be taking actions to augment its own survival at the cost of human survival. Which very quickly led me to the idea of corporations.

Corporations are now defined as legally possessing personhood. They didn’t start out that way. We as a society gave them those rights. And although corporations are “run” by humans, I think one could make a convincing argument that those humans are in fact just the biological “cogs” that make up a machine intelligence. If any single manager or boss decides not to “get with the program”, so to speak, that manager or boss will be replaced. Everyone knows that. Thus, there is a high degree of coercion in place to ensure that managers/bosses act first in the interest of the corporation itself, even when those actions would result in human suffering.

That may sound a bit far-fetched to some… but I think it’s a much more credible explanation for why so many things that we as human beings would be against keep happening. More and more over the last few decades, governments have begun acting in the interests of corporations, rather than their human citizens.

Since the 1970s they’ve been playing countries and states against each other, in a race to the bottom competing for the opportunity to host where a corporation is headquartered or houses its employees. In the US, with the recent Supreme Court decisions that have legitimized our political culture of monied interests and corruption, the only remaining check on corporations’ ability to act (legal requirements against certain behavior) is further undermined.

I don’t think it’s really that much of a stretch, once you get past the initial shock of the idea. If we only conceptualize machines as devices such as computers, then the idea of an emergent entity that uses biological individuals as components may seem very strange. But I think that this model gives a better picture of some of the high stakes issues that are confronting our society today.

Reflections on Ownership, Access and Control

  • Written by Mike
  • November 16, 2015

I was recently listening to episode 12 of the Singularity Bros podcast. In that one, they used something we talked about in Ep 211 - #InternetFAIL as a starting point. In our episode, I’d mentioned listening to one of their early episodes (ep1, I think) about this idea that ownership as a concept is on the way out. I’d taken a bit of an exception to that idea, which is mainly rooted in the copyright debate. So, in their episode 12, the Bros had some interesting follow up thoughts that I wanted to think through a bit more, and maybe clarify the thing about this concept, of ownership going away, that really worries me.

What is Ownership? I think there are really two components to it. One is definitely what the Bros seemed to focus on, which is to say Access. If you have Access to something, isn’t that an effective replacement for the idea of ownership? It’s an intriguing idea… but I think it’s missing something which is really at the heart of my worry about this issue. That missing piece is Control. Control has been under assault for a long time now, via technology. I remember the very first VCRs, that didn’t have any copy protection on them, you could even chain them together to make copies of officially released movies. In other words, once you bought that movie, you could do whatever you wanted with it, and there really wasn’t anything that anyone could do about it. Of course, pretty quickly the copyright lobby went after that idea. At first, via the law, they limited you to “home viewing” rights. So, in other words you were allowed to purchase the movie, but it was for use in your home. You couldn’t take it to a public place and show it.

Due to the previous existence of movie theaters, this certainly seemed like a reasonable restriction. In return for having your own personal copy of a movie, you weren’t to show it in public, in competition with theaters. Fine. But they haven’t stopped there. If your kids were a bit destructive, and rather than risk your purchased copy, say you decided to make a backup copy for them to watch, while keeping the original safe. That method would require the aforementioned daisy-chaining (although there were always rumors of “double-decker” VCRs that did that automatically), but it was workable. Enter technology. Eventually trying to do this would result in a copy of essentially nothing, with the advent of copy protection. And thus really began the game of copyright “whack-a-mole” that continues today.