The date 21 April 2011 has been prophesied in the Terminator series as Judgement Day, when the machines rise up and bring about the end of human society as we know it.
Artificial intelligence clearly has not developed in quite the way James Cameron’s science-fiction franchise predicted, but how close are we to the technologies he depicted? Central to the Terminator series is the idea of Skynet, the United States’s “Global Digital Defense Network”, which develops self-awareness and begins a nuclear war…
More worrying to would-be members of “the resistance” is the rise of augmented systems and unmanned military technology.
The Guardian reported last week that a Ministry of Defence study had warned this technology could be the start of an “incremental and involuntary journey towards a Terminator-like reality”.
“We should not go down this route, just like chemical weapons and biological weapons are regarded as being beyond the pale, we should be saying this about automated systems…”
The film’s director, James Cameron, told the TMZ website: “Kyle Reese said in the first film that it was only one possible future – clearly, not the one we’re in…now instead of nuclear war we need to worry about global climate change.
“And the machines taking over? With everybody going through their lives bent over their Blackberrys all day long, you could even argue the machines have already won.”
Will someone please go down to the basement and tell the nerds cowering there it’s OK to come out.
It is – isn’t it?