Thursday, May 16, 2013

May Monster Madness #6: Skynet and the Terminators

May Monster Madness is hosted by Annie WallsLittle Gothic Horrors, and Something WicKED This Way Comes.

Writing about the Cybermen for yesterday's post, I got to thinking about how technology plays the role of monster.  While technological monsters may not be the grotesque creatures we pictured living under our beds or in our closets as children, they often represent a monstrous threat in fiction.

When I think of technological threats, though, I shudder when I think of Skynet. Brought to us by the Terminator franchise, Skynet is a self-aware artificial intelligence that uses machinery, including terminators, in its goal of exterminating the human race.

Though Skynet was created by humans, it feels no affinity toward us.  It is not interested in reasoning with us.  And since Skynet does not exist in a centralized location, it is all but unbeatable.  In a world where this artificial menace is in control, machines build other machines, so while humans have become an endangered species, there is no shortage of war machines ready to do Skynet's bidding.

Most monsters will show their face at some point.  Skynet doesn't.  We only see its soldiers, the terminators (which are frightening in their own right), which will easily be replaced as soon as they are destroyed by the human resistance.

Given these facts, I think it's safe to call Skynet a monster.  At the very least, it would be considered a monster to the few remaining humans who have to inhabit that world.

The Terminator films examine the need for responsible science.  Science can do, and has done, exceptional things.  Science should continue to do what it does to make our lives better.  At the same time, we need to consider the potential consequences of the advancements we make.  Otherwise, we may exterminate ourselves by virtue of our own brilliance.



  1. Skynet is definitely a monster, as are the Terminators it creates.

  2. The most terrifying monsters are those we can't see, those whose faces are hidden.

  3. I love the Terminator movies. It is extremely terrifying what science is capable of doing.

    Here is my MMM Day 6

  4. I'm a big fan of the Terminator movies, but I loved the TV series, 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' even more. In my opinion, it delved much deeper into the kind philosophical questions that you pose in this post.

  5. I'm also a huge fan of the Terminator movies (save for number 3 which had few redeeming qualities in my mind) and I've always been fearful of machines that are too automated because of them. Whenever I hear about a new technological advance in robotics a small part of me cringes.