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Stuck on a smelly refugee boat with Dutton

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18.09.2019

Governments were warned about the dangers of autonomous weapons, but those warnings were ignored. Now I find myself, at age 72, sitting on the crowded deck of a rickety wooden boat.

We are off the coast of eastern Australia, travelling north. It is nighttime. Australia, like large parts of the world, is engulfed by flames; it's major cities destroyed by killer robots - AI weapons that went rogue en masse in 2040, a year ago. I divert my gaze from the distant conflagration. I can't recall seeing so many stars. A meteor blazes.

Males and females of all ages are crammed together on the deck. The engine clunks. People sob. Babies wail and nobody talks. We have been travelling for a day. My spot on the boat cost $20,000. On my lap is a small bag containing all my worldly possessions. I was told we were headed to a safe port, but I don't know where.

Even before the AI strikes, Australia was in deep decline due to climate change: endless droughts and other extreme weather events such as super-cyclones and floods. Megafires, rising oceans and acute water scarcity, to name a few more.

THE DESPERATE: Even before the AI strikes, Australia was in deep decline due to climate change: endless droughts and other extreme weather events such as super-cyclones and floods ... Artwork: Marco Mana

A man sitting near me is about my age. He is naked except for an adult........

© Canberra Times