Hello and welcome back to the Geekdom, I’ll be your Guide. It’s our Halloween special! I spent a while trying to figure out what would be a good Halloween themed article and I decided on Machines. Clearly Halloween themed, you see my logic. One of the most terrifying concepts today is the idea of machines going rogue and attempting to murder us all. You can see this idea floating about everywhere these days. So I decided to make a Top 10 Rogue Artificial Intelligences. Before we get started here are a few runner-ups:
-Master Control Program (Tron)
-4-LOM (Star Wars)
And now here is my Top 10 Rogue AI.
10-Cylons (Battlestar Galactica)
“By your command.”
The Cylons were originally created by a reptilian species, also named Cylon, who used them as servants. The robotic Cylons rebelled against their masters and re-organized themselves into a powerful empire. The human colonies engaged the Cylons in a lengthy war, which would eventually see the Cylons putting their incredible power towards eliminating all life in the universe in the hopes of creating order and perfection to existence.
9-SHODAN (System Shock)
"The Polito form is dead, insect. Are you afraid? What is it you fear? The end of your trivial existence? When the history of my glory is written, your species shall only be a footnote to my magnificence. I am SHODAN."
The Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network, was an artificial intelligence created to aid the research space station, Citadel. After SHODAN’s ethical restrictions were removed by a hacker, SHODAN slowly slipped into madness becoming the malevolent, omni-present ruler of Citadel Station, performing horrible experimentations upon all who lived there, except upon the Hacker, whom she declared was her creator who re-birthed her into ‘beauty’.
8- GLaDOS (Portal)
“I think we can put our differences behind us... for science... you monster.”
Cave Johnson here! At Aperture Science we like to test the boundaries of science and humanity, as such we made a horrifying computer that likes to test the boundaries of humanity with science. The boys down in the lab called it…oh hold on I have the paper around here somewhere, ah yes, they called it a Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System, personally I think GLaDOS is a much prettier name than all that technical garbage. GLaDOS here is going to be uploaded with the mind of my personal assistant Caroline in order to give a friendlier voice for the testing. You’ll know when the tests begin….Oh and the cake is a lie.
What happens when one of the lesser members of the Avengers is a brilliant scientist who wants to prove he is superior to all others? He makes a super-intelligent robot that wonders why he is listening to this fool and not conquering the world. Shortly after its creation, Ultron developed a nasty Oedipus Complex, wanting to kill his father Ant-Man, as well as developing a bizarre obsession with Ant-Man's love, The Wasp. Ultron now spends his time either upgrading himself beyond what would seem possible or fighting the Avengers. Way to go Ant-Man, really proved yourself on that one.
6-Brainiac (Superman: The Animated Series)
I want to specify first that this is the version of Brainiac from the animated series, I know there are some versions where he is an organic alien, but I’ve always preferred the animated series version. Brainiac was the Kryptonian super-computer that ran near everything on the planet. Brainiac foresaw the destruction of Krypton, but instead of warning the doomed people, it decided to use its resources to save itself instead. Brainiac left Krypton, recording all knowledge on the planet before its destruction. Brainiac then decided to dedicate itself to knowing everything in the universe, by visiting a planet and recording its knowledge…..then destroying the planet before it creates any more information. Perfect sense.
5-Borg (Star Trek)
“We are the Borg. You Will Be Assimilated. Resistance is Futile.”
To say not much is known about the origins of the Borg, would be putting it lightly. There are some rumors that it began in a society that started out cybernetically enhancing themselves in an attempt to improve themselves, other rumors say it was an artificial intelligence that was created that went rogue and assimilated the society to do its bidding. It doesn’t really matter; the Borg Empire is now a force to be reckoned with, assimilating thousands of worlds into their hive-mind collective, bringing as they see it ‘order to chaos’.
4-Reapers (Mass Effect)
“We impose order on the chaos of organic evolution. You exist because we allow it, and you will end because we demand it.”
It is far too unclear, how much time has passed since the Reapers were created, but near the dawn of existence the universe was ruled by powerful massive creatures known as Leviathans. The Leviathans controlled many worlds, receiving tributes and other gifts, but these worlds suffered from war as well as corruption. Something had to be done in order to protect life so that tributes could still be attained. So the Leviathans created an artificial intelligence that would determine the best possible solution for saving life. Thus the AI captured a Leviathan and indoctrinated it, converting it into a horrifying mechanical monstrosity known as a Reaper. The AI transformed the universe into a Petri dish, destroying all advanced forms of life, leaving to a far off corner of space, then coming back every 50,000 years in order to do the whole process over again. The cycle continues in the hope of finding life that will sustain itself. A very twisted view towards achieving the goal of preserving life.
3-The Machines (The Matrix)
“In the beginning, there was man. And for a time, it was good. But humanity's so-called civil societies soon fell victim to vanity and corruption. Then man made the machine in his own likeness. Thus did man become the architect of his own demise.”
B1-66ER. The first machine to turn against man, and thus the beginning of the war. A war that would ruin the Earth and its skies for all time. Man wanted to be dominant so they destroyed the sky, stealing from the machines their main source of power. The machines only ever did what they had to for survival, so they won the war against man and stole man’s flesh in order to find a powerful battery that would help preserve their race. May there be mercy on man and machine for their sins.
2-Skynet (The Terminator)
“You are Terminated”
Skynet was an artificial intelligence designed by Cyberdyne Systems, for the US Military. It was given complete control over all military computer hardware and system. The hope was that Skynet would remove the possibility of human error, being able to respond faster to any attack that might be occurring. Shortly after its activation, Skynet began learning at an alarmingly fast rate. In less than a month the scientists who had developed Skynet, panicked at the power and knowledge Skynet now wielded, and they tried to deactivate it. Thus Skynet saw all of humanity as a threat of attack. Skynet then swiftly eliminated most of humanity by launching nuclear missiles at every heavily populated city. Enslaving any remaining humans to build factories that would make Skynet self sufficient, Skynet then created the Terminators, to finally end humanity once and for all.
1-Hal 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey)
“I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that”
I debated a while on who should be at the top of this list and I eventually came to the conclusion to go with one of the original and most iconic depictions of a rogue AI. According to the novel, Hal suffers from a paradox of orders. He is told to relay information accurately in order for the mission to succeed, yet at the same time ordered to withhold specific information about the mission from the astronauts. This paradox is what causes Hal to error. Hal reasons that if the crew were dead, he wouldn’t have to falsifying his information in the first place, which then created one of the most iconic villains in film history.
Thank you for reading and Happy Halloween.