The Speculist: Unlikely Terminator Plot Lines


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Unlikely Terminator Plot Lines

From Glenn Reynolds, some dramatic possibilities that will probably go unexplored on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronices:

Hey, here are two plotlines that won't make it to TV: (1) With the help of Ray Kurzweil, they develop a "friendly" AI that subverts and converts Skynet as soon as it's hooked up; or (2) With the help of Miles Dyson's widow -- a recurring character already! -- they tie Cyberdyne up in endless intellectual-property litigation, ensuring that nothing ever gets built. This would probably work, but Litigator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles doesn't have quite the same appeal . . .

How about a story arc in which Sarah and John elicit the help of the Lifeboat Foundation in warding off the rise of the machines? I'd like to see a heavily armed paramilitary cell within the foundation all decked out in camouflage and talking trash about "tearing Skynet a new memory cache" and the like.


How about ...

(3) An intense lobbying effort by Microsoft convinces Congress to mandate that all cyborgs run Windows, guaranteeing that all Terminators' cybernetic heads-up displays will turn into blue screens of death at least once a day.

Also, Kurzweil's big prediction is that human and machine intelligence will merge, not that machine intelligence will simply supplant human intelligence. I think a more Kurzweilan (though less warm-and-fuzzy) vision would be an army of Terminators imprinted with human consciousnesses (say, for example, from the preserved memories and personae of dying human soldiers) going head-to-head (or minigun-to-bazooka) with the "purely" mechanical models.

The new show may turn out to be reasonably Kurzweilesque if (as some of us suspect) the Summer Glau character is more human than previous terminators. Maybe she's an enhanced human being, or possibly her mind is based on an uploaded human mind. Either way, she would be an example of the merger of machine and human intelligence.

John Connor mentioned the Singularity in this week's show - he put a much darker spin on it than we usually get.

It was something like "its that point when the AI's can build better AI's without our help. That's the time we can kiss our a**es goodbye."

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