Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Skynet

"It wasn't a fair universe, nor a kind one. If there was a God, his love and forty-five cents would buy you coffee. No one seemed to be at the cosmic controls anymore. It was every man for himself, until SKYNET became alive and filled the void left by a seemingly disinterested God. Its vision was very controlled. The ultimate dream of man, carried out by one of man's lowliest tools; eliminate evil men. But there was a touch of evil in all men, and SKYNET was having trouble separating the worst of them out. So the totality of humanity, with all of its biologic messiness, wasn't wanted. And to this machine-god, forgiveness just did not compute. Only cold retribution for the sins of the past." - Frakes, Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Skynet, the fictional neural net software construct that propelled Arnold's career into the stratosphere (With the aid of James Cameron) in The Terminator & Terminator 2, Judgment Day, continues to fascinate (and worry) techies like me because we see what happens when computers are integrated with weapons to build intelligent systems with the capability to kill with unprecedented ease. (See Future Weapons & Robot Cannon as reference)

After that, check out an otherwise excellent article unfortunately titled, Killer Robots Pose Latest Threat To Humanity to see why.

"Over 4,000 robots are currently deployed on the ground in Iraq and by October 2006 unmanned aircraft had flown 400,000 flight hours. Currently there is always a human in the loop to decide on the use of lethal force. However, this is set to change with the US giving priority to autonomous weapons - robots that will decide on where, when and who to kill."

[after learning of the Doomsday Machine]
President Merkin Muffley: But this is absolute madness, Ambassador! Why should you *build* such a thing?

Ambassador de Sadesky: There were those of us who fought against it, but in the end we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. At the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we had been spending on defense in a single year. The deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap.

President Merkin Muffley: This is preposterous. I've never approved of anything like that.

Ambassador de Sadesky: Our source was the New York Times.
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