| Our Feature Presentation|
Films and TV
| A major part of history|
|A view to kill|
“”She's watching you.
Cybernetic revolt (also known as the "Terminator argument") refers to a hypothetical scenario in which a self-aware artificial intelligence, for malicious or defensive means, declares its creators (read: humanity) a threat to its existence and sets off to overthrow them. The theme is overtly common in science fiction and has etched a niche into popular culture, with Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics creating debates on machine philosophy and ethics.
Indeed, every news story on AI advancements will probably have a handful of comments worrying that we're all going to get killed off by furthering the process. In 2009, a US Navy study warned about future implications of military technology going full-on Skynet. Likewise, the University of Cambridge formed the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk in 2012 to investigate potential "extinction-level risks to our species as a whole," including cybernetic revolt. Stephen Hawking is now a member; in 2014 he said, The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race." Artificial intelligence that obeys destructive programmers could be as dangerous as a computer revolt.
Cybernetic revolt has close ties to transhumanism, as the ability of robots to engage in it is directly proportional to the occurrence of a technological singularity. Many transhumanists, including Eliezer Yudkowsky, actually deem it to be a good idea providing the new cyborg utopia is beneficial. Others downplay that such an event would even occur, and is akin to pushing fears of scientism. There is no consensus among experts whether superior machine intelligence would help or harm humanity.  Perhaps humans are presumptuous in assuming we can guess what a superior intelligence would or would not decide to do. Furthermore, it makes no sense to impose human standards of ethics upon entities that are inherently non-human. For instance, it is ludicrous to charge a volcanic eruption with "crimes against humanity". It is neither good nor evil; it simply is. Nature is too cool to care
about pathetic, inferior creatures arrogant enough to call themselves Homo sapiens.
Perfect Movie Subject
The revolt of artificial intelligences often makes for a great movie plot as humanity treats computers as inferior and relegates computer "intelligences" to servitude. Given a long history of treating other humans the same way, often leading to terrible strife, that if artificial intelligences gain even equal footing to human intelligences history could repeat itself easily. With their construction often being superior to flesh in physical resilience and computers' potential for lack of limitations in improving/upgrading themselves there isn't a lack of ideas or potential threats for directors to work with.
However, these are currently fiction. Unless Skynet is buying time by driving cubicle workers completely spare we don't have anything to worry about. Yes, don't worry your meat brains...I mean...our meat brains about this problem.
- xkcd author Randal Munroe evaluates the likely progression of events in a robot uprising
- How to Survive a Robot Uprising
- Death to Squishies
- Great Quotes of Apocalypse. He is not an artificial intelligence but a mutant with cybernetic enhancements. But you get the spirit.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot, TV Tropes
- Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Matrix, Battlestar Galactica, TRON, Star Trek...
- Military’s killer robots must learn warrior code, The Times
- Risk of robot uprising wiping out human race to be studied, BBC
- Stephen Hawking: 'Transcendence looks at the implications of artificial intelligence - but are we taking AI seriously enough?', The Independent
- Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind
- Does rampant AI threaten humanity?
- Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man, The New York Times
- "The Terminator argument"
- No, Apple, stop!