Imagine you’ve got a chimp in your lab (I assume you have a lab, of course). You make this chimp smarter using science-magic (the best kind of magic), increasing its intelligence until you can’t really call it an it anymore. You now need to call it Fred, as he is as intelligent as an adult human who doesn’t watch reality TV.
If you set Fred a task that is simple for a human to do, like reading a book, he’d have no trouble. Even if he had to sound out the words as he read them he’d still be so far above his former ape-friends that it would be ridiculous to even consider them the same species. Throw in some extra creativity and problem solving, and you’ve got a chimp king.
In a straight fight, our chimp Fred is still as strong and fast as he was, but now he can develop Chimp-Fu and kick all kinds of ass. In any task requiring his brain he wins. No contest. In fact, if he did get into a fight he’d be able to craft weapons to augment his strength and speed. He’d be emperor of the lab chimps in an hour.
See why Cyber-Depp losing any fight doesn’t make sense? No? Alright, try this instead:
Imagine you’ve got a hamster in your lab (which is kind of a zoo, and you probably need to clean up a bit before inviting people round). You make this hamster smarter using the same science-magic as before, increasing its intelligence until she asks who she is and you name her Wilma. Wilma is also intelligent enough not to watch reality TV.
Wilma isn’t going to be able to live in the world as easily as Fred does, because Wilma doesn’t have hands. She’s also really tiny. How do you think a fight between Wilma and any other hamster is going to go, despite her inability to utilise much of the human world? She can still create tools and develop Hamster-Fu. She can still out-think any of her former friends, and in her case she can do it with an ease Fred would be jealous of (because hamsters aren’t that bright).
Give her a little while to get the basics down and she’d be able to rebuild a bunch of the human world on her scale, at which point she becomes god-queen of the hamsters. In fact, given time and the desire to do so, Wilma could develop the tools to beat down the chimps too. She would have science, so size doesn’t matter.
So I can buy Cyber-Depp being smart enough to find the flaws in our security and exploit them, owning the internet in minutes, but I can’t then accept him losing when he is attacked at the end of the film. To pull off the former he should be something along the lines of Wilma the hamster, and we are the other hamsters. We don’t stand a chance.
I’ve got an alternate scenario though, which doesn’t require him to be Wilma. Perhaps he was just a lot faster than a human. He was already pretty smart but once he was uploaded he was able to think faster, so he had the time to find the exploits he needed to hack the planet, and the time to work out how to turn every now-exposed server into one big hive mind for himself, without compromising the original function of the server (somehow). When he starts moving funds around to make himself rich we see it happen in minutes, but in his subjective time it took him a day, or a month, or a million years. Whatever.
OK, you got me. The humans are now able to trick him because they are as smart as he is and they came up with a plan he didn’t think of (the plan was stupid and wouldn’t work, but most of the logic of this film comes straight from a nineties hacker film, so whatever). The film now makes sense, right?
Nope, random internet voice. You’ve got it wrong again.
If, with one of those super processors, he was fast enough to hack the planet, then how long do you think it would take his fully realised self to destroy his enemies? A tiny fraction of a second? An amount of time so small we don’t have a measurement for it?
It doesn’t matter, because he has nanotech in the air and he can watch everything at once. He can see them coming and work it all out long before it becomes a problem. Looooooooooooong before. He’s omnipresent, and compared to the puny humans, practically omnipotent.
Whether Cyber-Depp could think better thoughts or only think faster, he still wins. In any scenario that doesn’t involve another being as powerful (as smart or as fast), Cyber-Depp owns the world. And he sure as shit wouldn’t be surprised by the “genius” attack leveled against him.
The film Lucy does the whole intelligence increase, uplifted human thing better, even if it used the stupid “humans only use 10% of their brain” thing as a framing device.
The argument above doubles as the reasoning for why, if we’re going to create a self-aware, general-purpose artificial intelligence, we better get it right the first time. We better build in a level of ethics better than anything we’ve yet managed to devise. Because if we don’t we’re toast.
Go read a book.