I, for one, welcome our old meme overlords to 2016

Monday, 4 January, 2016

Back in July 1977, a film adaptation of the H.G. Wells sci-fi horror story Empire of the Ants, was released. Joan Collins reacts to the ant threat at one point in the movie by declaring, “I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.” And, thus, a meme was born, and it has proved more enduring than those mutated insects were in the world of Wells.

Example: Yesterday, the Globe and Mail published “Biggest technology trends to watch for at CES 2016 in Las Vegas” by Shane Dingman. Snippet:

Bonus category: Next Christmas’s ‘hoverboard’ replacement: These days, convention-goers have been banned from using them on the show floor, but there are another clutch of personal transportation devices ready to get hot for a holiday season. I, for one, welcome our next hip-breaking, head cracking, self-immolating wheelie-gigs.”

The “I, for one, welcome our our new X overlords” phrase survives because it is as flexible as the Formicidae family. It can be used used to express mock submission to an obsessively controlling person, or to suggest that a group or thing is powerful enough to rule over humanity. So, both the rise of the robots and the fear of AI have given it new legs, as it were. It even transcends language barriers.

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