Thought Pieces

Three ways to react to the rise of the machines

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Keith McNulty

“The system goes on-line August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.”

Fans of sci-fi may recognize this quote from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. As a child, the scenario it portrayed utterly terrified me. It’s not the first movie that featured machines becoming self-aware. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is famous for the calm, monotonic but spine-chilling utterance from HAL 9000: “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that”.

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