Skynet: Terminator’s Skynet to Become Sentient on Thursday

April 20, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015
James Cameron speaks in Washington, D.C. on Earth Day 2010. (Jeff Nenarella/The Epoch Times)
James Cameron speaks in Washington, D.C. on Earth Day 2010. (Jeff Nenarella/The Epoch Times)

Skynet, the fictional sentient computer system in the Terminator movies and shows, went online on April 19, according to series mythology. On April 21, it will apparently try to destroy humanity.

And then robots that speak with Austrian-German accents will start appearing out of nowhere (or would they have already started appearing back in the 1980s?).

Terminator creator James Cameron alerted the world to Skynet becoming sentient on the day but then flipped it around and raised awareness of a real-world issue.

“Skynet was supposed to go operational tonight. Instead of machines taking over, we have the very real threat of global warming,” he wrote on his Twitter account this week.

However, as Forbes writer Bonin Bough writes, the original lore from the first Terminator movie says that the artificial intelligence system actually became sentient in 1997. The April 21 version is from the television series.

According to a report referenced by the British newspaper The Guardian this week, there is the possibility of an artificial intelligence network becoming sentient in the near future, referencing the Terminator series.

“It is essential that before unmanned systems become ubiquitous (if it is not already too late) … we ensure that, by removing some of the horror, or at least keeping it at a distance, we do not risk losing our controlling humanity and make war more likely,” the recent report, called the U.K. Approach to Unmanned Aircraft Systems, said according to The Guardian.

The report was in particular reference to unmanned drones used by the U.S. and NATO in Afghanistan and Pakistan to deal with militant forces. The drones have also been deployed in Mexico in the War on Drugs.