Values: The solution becomes a problem
Not the human being with 7.5 billion inhabitants and 0.4 billion tons is the dominant life form on this earth, but it is the insects with a biomass of 0.9 billion tons. With the myriad of different insects, it is the bees that are most familiar to us. Although they can sting, and sometimes they do, they are one of the “loving” animals. Exactly that is also in the cartoon of bee Maja expression.
It has been estimated that the bee has existed for 110 million years. She survived the dinosaurs, the ice age and several meteor impacts. Now the bees are facing a huge challenge: “They have to survive the human being”. The species of Sapiens managed to completely occupy the earth within only 70,000 years. This is exactly what has tragic consequences for the bees, which already show up today.
The industrialization of agriculture has destroyed almost all flower meadows and crop protection agents such as neonicotine have a very negative impact on the pollination behavior. In contrast, the Varroa mite is a natural enemy with which the bee colonies have to cope themselves. For that they have to adapt, and that takes time. That is exactly what bees have had in the last 100 million years. A lot of time to adapt to the new conditions in the course of evolution. For the current problem – humans – they simply do not have enough time.
As is known, bees make an unimaginable contribution to plant ecology. Simultaneously with the absorption of the flower nectar they pollinate the plants. This would be a very costly process if the bees did not manage it. It would be quite possible that this would be done by people or machines. Calculation models have shown that this would cost 150 billion euros worldwide.
All the more dramatic and almost apocalyptic would be the extinction of the bees. In the Black Mirror Episode 3.6. is that exactly what happened – at least in England. In order to maintain the ecological balance, technicians have developed artificial bees on behalf of the government. These ADIs (autonomous threatening insects) are digital-mechanical beings, which are hardly distinguishable from bees at first sight.
In the entrance scene you can see bees swarming on a beautiful flower meadow. Only much later do we realize that these are micro drones. Clearly, there is a fundamental difference in individuals. So the bees are organic beings and the threatening digital beings. But there is also another and fundamental difference between these two. Bees live in swarms.
This is a special form of living together, as we know it in fish and birds. The particular advantage of such a structure is the defense against enemies. A swarm of thousands of bees looks more dangerous than a single bee and can also fend off potential attackers much faster. A swarm structure has the further advantage that the individual needs little intelligence. While the whole thing in itself provides services that an individual would not be possible (construction of honeycombs).
The micro drones in the episode make the appearance quite a swarm-like impression. In many swims their attacks against human victims. Nevertheless, this structure is not a swarm, but a centrally controlled drone network. This can be used to control all bee drones across England from a central point.
Whole swarms of bees are then moved and used as needed. The company Granular needs hardly any staff. In the movie you can see a manager and an operator. Actually a very economical substitute for an ecological disaster. Central systems all have a real disadvantage. They are very vulnerable. Once an outsider has overcome the security barriers, he can bring the system under his control. That’s how it happened.
Mr. Garrett Scholes took possession of this system and was thus able to control the drones according to his ideas. Scholes obviously has a problem with social media. He probably had very bad experiences with bullying. He or his family may have been subjected to massive persecution here.
With the hack into the AID, he now wants to punish all those people who participate in such an action. For this he has developed a very sophisticated two-stage system. First of all, he developed a platform with the hashtag #deathTo. So if someone gets bullied for doing “anything,” the network can vote #deathTo. The voting starts every day and who has reached the highest score within 24 hours is murdered by a bee drone. The game becomes known very fast and spreads accordingly. It does not take long until the British Chancellor of the Exchequer already has the highest voting. The followers increase dramatically and quickly reach the hundreds of thousands.
For the police and for the NSA, a race against time is now beginning to save the Minister of Finance’s life. As part of the investigation, they find documents that point to the actual goal of Garrett Scholes. Consequently, he wants to take revenge on all those who voted for #deathTo. That’s 387,000 people in the meantime. The police have been unable to regain control of the system due to the NSA’s covert activities, causing the bee drones to swarm and murder hundreds of thousands of people.
Systems of a certain size, in which the internal components are positively fed back, tend to chaotic behavior. However, knowing the variables of a system that cause interference can cause any system to be unbalanced. The bees survived 110 million years without major problems. Now only a small disturbance comes along – the person with its pesticides could mean the end of this population – a side effect. A small disturbance with great effect. The new “centrally controlled drone system” experiences even a small disturbance, in that a hacker takes control of it. The result: 380,000 dead – was a targeted action.
At the time when the Black Mirror Episode 3.6 “Hated in the Nation” was produced, the bee problem was already known but not yet popular. The episode has used the bee problem anyway only as a framework, the fragility of artificial systems should be shown. Now, two years later, insect threats are well known and politicians are starting to react, as the following link shows: