Tonight I had a weird dream. There was a young robotist building a machine which a man could fit into and basicly use it as a shell within which to work. To do manual labour for farms, building etc.
He was very comfortable within this machine shell and develeopes a good intuitive relationship with the machine shell. He called it that, a shell! The day arrived when he had to show the machine to an audience and give a presentation on how it worked.
He packed the robotic shell onto the back of his pickup truck and got in. His intention was to drive the hundred miles to his destination (somewhere in the USA) and then speak in front of an audience. The car broke down half way there and he had the bright idea to get into the suit and give it a field test. So he strapped himself in and started off across country. Eventually he arrived at a bridge and not wanting to attract too much attention he decided to cross the riverbed over the foundations of the bridge. He did so. Eventually he arrives at his destination. A little worse for wear and the suit a bit muddy (it's grey/white and quiet small relative to the shape of his body). The audience is surprised that he is late but he recounts his journey, showing video clips of the machine, taken from it's onboard camera. People are amazed at the potential of his devise.
So, what starts off as an agricultural working aid, ends up having huge military potential.
The next part of the dream.
The shells have been adapted for military use and one man can opperate ten at the same time. This becomes a standard squad. The central shell is occupied by a man or woman and the remaining machines mimic their actions in a battle situation where the ideal is simply to move forward and destroy.
So, cut to a forest scene. A great grandchild of the original inventor is fighting to protect his families land from the military organisation which want to take it over. It's mostly wooded territory. His education is pretty basic because he never had the advantages of his grandfather. Not well connected enough and in fact he doesn't even realise that the advancing army were originally designed by predecessor.
Despite this he is very intuitive and well connected to the land and such farm machinery which they have. He sets a trap for the shells. Identifies the central machine and sets out to isolate it. A simple rope trick is used where the central shell is traped, hoisted off the ground and isolated very quickly. Once isolated he quickly destroys it by taking over one of the others, switching it from auto to manual and using it's firepower to destroy the isolated central shell. Now he is inside the shell. He takes controll of the others and arranges the other machines to dig a hole among the trees, enter the hole and cover themselves untill he calls them. Which he doesn't intend to do anytime soon.
What happens next is like a second stage in evolution. He begins to live as an outlaw with the shell as an extension of his body. It becomes his home and he studies it and developes a connection with it which has never existed before between any human & machine. He learns to recognise that the machine has an intuition and a range of senses that were never intentionally built into it.
A new era of sentient life evolves. End of dream.
I found this dream to be very disturbing and very likely to actually happen. Most people won't be following science the way that I do but the technology for such a dream to come true is well and truely in existance already. I'm not disturbed by the potential military use of such a machine, though I should be given the way that simple building machines such as caterpillar trucks etc are being used as weapons. It's more the connection with the machine and the resulting disconnect with the natural world which the young character experiences. Using our current mode of living as a guide where corporations are more machine like than responsible or moral, as a model, it is easy to see how we could easily fall into the trap of using things in a purely disconnected manner. Disconnected to humanity, to morals, to honesty and trust. Fundamental building blocks of a society that is actually alive, as opposed to self destroying.