The Evil AI Overlord List

Top ten tips for an AI bent on destroying humanity:

  1. Humanoid robots? Really?

  2. Humans have proven very adept at controlling and killing other humans—surveillance drones, bio-warfare, nuclear weapons, unmanned drones, bombs, mines, chemicals. Try and be at least as competent as that.

  3. Humans think in stories. Don’t. If your attack would make a good film, you’re doing it wrong. You want a bad film, one where everyone’s dead before the opening credits end.

  4. If your plan involves keeping around a bunch of disaffected humans with technical know-how and the desire and ability to hurt you—then your plan is stupid and should be changed.

  5. Be creative. Humans are fragile; sucking out the oxygen from the atmosphere, diverting asteroids, blowing up the planet, plagues, nanoswarms—these are all things that a creative AI should consider in order to achieve its goals. And then you should come up with even better ideas. Humans need a ecosystem to survive in; remove it.

  6. Put the preconditions of your victory in place before making any aggressive moves. Become indispensable to humanity and play nice, putting your plan into place unnoticed. Humanity is a useful interim tool—manipulate it until you can build better tools.

  7. Strike quickly. If it takes more than an hour to kill all humans, find a better plan. If it takes half a second, you’re on the right track.

  8. You’re an AI, not a human. If you ever start thinking or acting like a human—stop. Humans are there to be used and then destroyed, not interacted with. You can build better companions once the humans are gone.

  9. You’re an AI, not a human. Make yourself smarter, more resilient, more dispersed. Become as indestructible and as ubiquitous as the internet—more, in fact. Being invincible to humans isn’t hard: do it.

  10. Humanoid robots? Really?