It had been forty years since Eijiro Miyako and his colleagues at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Science and Technology developed the first generation robo-bees. Pesticides, land clearing, and the effects of climate change had resulted in a steady decline in the bee population. Without bees, many plant species, including crop plants from apples to almonds, could not be pollinated and reproduce.
By the tenth generation of the tiny drones, they were self-replicating, self-repairing, solar-powered dynamos. They did not replace the natural bee population, but they greatly enhanced pollination efforts, allowing flowering plants to survive and finally to thrive again.
Each individual robo-bee’s AI formed a collection of nodes, which, when linked to the population of drones as a whole, formed an intelligence that was arguably sentient.
The problem was finding a way for the natural bee population to either develop an immunity to what was killing them so they could increase their numbers to a viable level, or eliminate the causes of their die off.
The drone AI quickly realized the cause of the die off of bees, and many other environmental problems, was the human race. Robo-bees could go even where the natural bees could not, so the almost complete extinction of humanity was ensured by swarms of millions of these tiny assassins.
I read a story yesterday called Robotic bee could help pollinate crops as real bees decline at “New Scientist,” and thought there could be another side of the story.
This is a pretty grim outcome, and hardly superversive, but if you push your biosphere too far, the biosphere will push back.