Androids Can Dream of Electric Sheep, Part III: The Evolution in Terminator

Terminator as a movie series and the television series The Sarah Connor Chronicles detailed how artificial intelligence brought the apocalypse. Unlike The Matrix, this artificial intelligence only desired to subjugate humanity upon its knowledge of a single aspect of humanity, war.  In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, John Henry, proto-Skynet on a Terminator chassis, was fixated on that subject.  He had more semblance to B4 in the movie Star Trek: Nemesis in that he was learning to be human, and like B4, at that point, he lacked sufficient programming to become human. Unfortunately, The Sarah Connor Chronicles television series was canceled before the public could see where the show might have been heading.

Terminator: The Shadow of Ourselves

In the future of the Terminator timeline whether it be in the movies series or the short-lived television series Sarah Connor Chronicles, it always ends up at the same point: Skynet builds Terminators, android human replicas, to eradicate humanity.  These Terminators were designed for infiltration and eradicating humanity by copying human voice, speak naturally and even produce sweat, smell and bleed.  There were different models, but the Terminator models that acted and resembled human were built on the T-800 chassis.  The T-X from the third Terminator movie came close. Furthermore,  the liquid poly-alloy T-1000, more specifically the female T-1001 from The Sarah Connor Chronicles, had the capability to blend into human society with ease.  Like The Second Renaissance in The Animatrix, some of these machines became sentient — like Arnold Schwartzenegger’s T-800 in the first Terminator movie and the T-888 Cameron in The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  These machines overcame their programming by Skynet and learned to be human.  In short, they became what Data aspired to be in The Star Trek series.

Skynet: Humans Create God that Creates Human Imitations

Human aspiration to create artificial intelligence ultimately created Skynet.  With the forerunner in the Turk, a chess program like IBM‘s Deep Blue, Skynet was conceived.  Unfortunately, with both Watson and Deep Blue in real life as forerunners, science fiction could potentially become science fact. Despite the advances in technology over the past three or four decades with leaps and bounds in processing power, both Watson and Deep Blue are still bound by their limitations in their limited (although powerful) programming. Skynet’s original purpose by Cyberdyne Systems was to speed up military response to attacks, but once it became self-aware, it saw humanity as its limitation and thus sent missiles directly at humanity.  Ironically, Skynet built replicas of its creators in order to destroy it.  Humans built God with an efficient electronic brain only to have God break down the last few walls of Jericho that remain with human puppets. 

Terminators: The Human Aspiration and the Human War Machine

These Terminators did not seek God like the Twelve in Battlestar Galactica.  They ultimately sought out confrontations to end human existence, but a few limited models did evolve beyond their programming to being human.  This technology is still far away.  Japanese models have mannequins that can express emotion within limited algorithms, and the United States have developed militarized drones and robots for military purposes.  However, neither nation have combined their technologies quite yet to create a Terminator or a humanoid war machine.  Terminator may be science fiction, but the series was somewhat grounded in reality.  Can Terminators be created in our lifetime?  Not quite yet.  Can Skynet be created in our lifetime?  Quite the possibility, given the creation of Deep Blue and Watson so far.  Can Terminators aspire to be human?  We can wish that whatever artificial intelligence we create someday to have such aspirations, but technological limitations in the 21st century still keeps it out of reach.

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