Lyle Burkhead (
Mon, 30 Sep 1996 18:47:20 -0500 (EST)

Many years ago I read a science fiction story which went along these

Dr. Paget was a mad scientist who found a way to create animals
with human intelligence. By "human intelligence" I mean the animals
have a causal model of the world, as we do. A Paget-dog (or padog)
can cross the street without getting run over, just like we can.
It understands its situation, it can make plans, it can communicate
(using improvised signals and gestures) with other Paget-animals.
Dr. Paget used horses, dogs, cats, rats, and mice in his experiment.
So far all this is interesting but harmless, yes?

But then the animals escape from the lab.

The horses are quickly caught. Horses are too big to hide and they
reproduce slowly. They never had a chance. But the smaller animals
disappear into the countryside.

Some of the padogs and pacats are caught and killed. The point is
not lost on the other padogs and pacats. They know that humans are
The Enemy, and they act accordingly. Soon there is a state of open
warfare between humans and Paget-animals (usually known simply as
"pagets"). Dr. Paget is lynched, and his son, who narrates the story,
changes his name to avoid the same fate.

A pacat who encounters a human will simply jump up into the human's
face, scratch his eyes out, and jump back to the ground before the
human can react. Padogs run in packs and become expert at killing
humans. Parats and pamice learn to chew the insulation off wires, thus
starting fires and making any kind of electrical equipment unusable.
Cars and trucks are also unusable, because the pagets chew up the
fuel lines, v-belts, hoses, and tires. Civilized life becomes impossible.
Humans revert to pre-industrial society. Back to the jungle.

The pagets reproduce much faster than humans, especially after
parats discover how easy it is to kill human babies.

After a few decades, the human population is reduced to a few million
(in the whole world!) living in a state of siege.

Unfortunately, Dr. Paget didn't find a way to create insects or bacteria
with human intelligence. That would be even more fun.

As I said before, I don't think it is possible to miniaturize humans.
But if I am wrong, I don't see how the Paget-scenario can be avoided.
Small creatures (or robots) with human intelligence won't be our
slaves, at least not very long. Assuming they really do have human
intelligence, they will soon find a way to escape (perhaps with help
from sympathetic humans, or humans with more schadenfreude than
sense). Then we will try to hunt them down, and war will ensue.
How else could it turn out?