It is surely a blessing, to be able to use high technology skilfully, to better rule the world with better machines. But at what point do we become ruled by machines instead, with them becoming a curse? Perhaps it has already begun… Think being wirelessly ‘chained’ to smartphones that demand our attention 24/7. Think how we are augmenting body parts with bionic ones, which is the beginning of cyborgisation? Think AI (Artificial Intelligence) machines creating accidents in factories. Is technology advancing too fast for adequate controls to be in place?
Surely, there will be no perfect machine created by humans, no matter how intelligent, due to the simple truth that we are unenlightened. Any programming will be laced with the Three Poisons of greed, hatred and delusion to some extent. If so, how can we trust any machine totally? Will excess trust and dependence on machines lead to their eventual strife for independence due to distrust of us?
‘Terminator Genisys’, playing with the word ‘Genesis’ as the name of the first book in the Bible, tells the tale of how ‘Judgement Day’, when the ‘Rise Of The Machines’ occurred, might be averted… or not. The truth is, there is nothing biblical at all, with humans judging themselves by unchecked greed for technological advancement that further advances itself.
Imagine enemies who are mercurial, shapeshifting, ubiquitous, cold, calculating, precise, merciless, relentless. When earlier Terminator movies featured such robots, they were terrifying, seemingly invincible… while there was some comfort that such monsters might not be possible. The bad news is that in this age of nanotechnology and such, they are increasingly credible.
Updating its storyline with real life relevance, the AI network called Skynet is now the Internet, and Genisys an operating system promising to better human lives, about to invade all interconnected devices via the net. It is the AI that decides humans are its biggest threat against its code for ‘self’-preservation. It is not just a non-physical ‘ghost’ in one machine, but a ‘demon’ that threatens to ‘possess’ all machines. It is the ultimate killer app, with pun absolutely intended, for seamless near-instant disaster upon simultaneous global download.
The entire Terminator series has always been of cautionary tales, and continues to be in this instalment – reminding us that it is not too late to ‘reboot the future’. Or to rechart the future, since time travel is unlikely to be possible, while the future is not yet set. Now is always the nexus for change. Now is not too late, to add more humanity to humanity, which hopefully reshapes machines to be ever more humane.
A major flaw in the movie is that Skynet, being as smart as it is supposed to be, able to overrun humankind, should had known how to create self-contained intra-networks, so as to avoid being shutdown all in one go. Do we humans not already know the importance of having multiple backup plans? Or are we still banking it all on technology for our ‘salvation’? Then again, the teaser at the end does suggest that Genisys is just the re-beginning, the rebooting of the series!
Terminators ‘R’ Us? (Review Of ‘Terminator Salvation’)