Now that AI is the source of much discussion, debate, and controversy – some science fiction movies are becoming more and more relevant. And one of the scariest futures imagined is the one in which a malevolent artificial intelligence wages war with human resistance – in James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Fortunately Sarah Connor, John Connor and their trusty T-800 companion, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger – save the day.
In Terminator 2, the evil AI Skynet is created by Cyberdyne Systems and Linda Hamilton’s Sarah becomes determined to stop its creation. She wants to learn more about how Skynet was created from the T-800 and he tells her; “The man most directly responsible is Miles Bennett Dyson. The system goes online on August 4, 1997,” as the DatesInMovies Twitter account has reminded us.
As soon as it’s created, Skynet begins to learn at a exponential rate. After the system originally goes online on August 4, 1997, human decisions are removed from strategic defense. The system then becomes self-aware on August 29, 1997. When humans panic and try to shut Skynet down, it retaliates by launching nuclear weapons and wiping out three billion humans – this is the day referred to as Judgment Day in one of the best time-travel movies ever.
So that’s just over three weeks between switching on an AI system to humanity being almost completely wiped out – surely a cautionary tale! While nuclear weapons may not yet be under the control of AI (as far as we know), this was a major plot point in Mission Impossible 7. And both the writers and actors strikes have concerns over AI as one of their main points of contention.
We’ll soon be coming up to another important Terminator date – 2029. This is when John Connor leads the resistance against the machines, prompting them to send the T-1000 (Robert Patrick) back in time to kill Connor as a child. All in all, Terminator 2 is one of the best robot movies of all time.