Sci-fi ponderings when (almost) idle

I was talking to one of my housemates last night while I was taking a break from using my PC when we came to the topic of Terminators.  Being sci-fi fans (me especially) we talked about the realism of robots and computer software taking over the world.

The proposed problems pertaining to plausibilities

Now, my housemate proposed that Skynet, the autonomous computer program that took over the world and is responsible for the decline and domination of the human race, isn’t very plausible, or at least isn’t ‘too’ smart. His propositions are the following:

a) Skynet should have made the Terminators smarter so as to make them more adaptable to human circumstances, issues, and environment.

He mentions that though they look like humans, they (or at least the ones in the movies, unlike in the Terminator TV series) they still act relatively cold and robot-like. Adapting to human behavior, emotions, idiosyncrasies, at least temporarily, may help them perform their missions better, i.e. terminating their targets.

b) Skynet, at least in the future (so my housemate concedes), should have made itself connected/linked to Terminators so that it can use it’s powerful processors and information on humans, including their tactics, to finally wipe out the human race and leave nothing to stand up against it.

I made my housemate actually concede early in this proposition that this can only work in the future, because how would Skynet of the future control and communicate with Terminators it has sent to the past? It could be quite given that future Skynet would be linked to the Terminator pawns via some wireless technology, but wireless technology across time? Dubious.

The proposed answers to the problems

a) Now this one has been answered already in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, when John Connor asks (approximately at 1 hour 6 minutes of the Special Edition of the movie) if Terminators (or at least the T-800 model 101 Terminator a.k.a. Arnold model/line of terminators) can learn new things so they can be more human. The terminator responds by saying that Skynet “presets the switch to ‘read-only’ when terminators are sent out alone”, to prevent them from “thinking too much”. This then prevents terminators by default, or at least the movie terminators such as the T-800, T-850 T-1000, and T-X, from learning a lot of things about what makes humans humans.

b) One solution I’ve thought about for this specific conundrum in the Terminator universe, which could also be said in real life hardware/software,  is that if Skynet ‘hooks’ itself up to every terminator walking around trying to find, infiltrate, and terminate humans, i.e. connect its thinking to the terminators, then that would lead to a vulnerability. The vulnerability comes from the fact that by doing so (hooking up/connecting to terminators in the field) would allow humans to insert a virus or ‘anti-Sknet’ software to one or more captured terminators, which could then be uploaded to the main Skynet program and destroy Skynet entirely. This is possible because Skynet has to maintain a duplex connection to the terminators in the field if Skynet is to control them and still be in sync with the main Skynet program. I think this is a risk Skynet would not dare take.

Questions/comments/arguments? Feel free to post them as long as they’re calm, ruly. 🙂

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