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Terminator Salvation Opens Well, Scientists Not Impressed

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the come-with-me-if-you-want-to-groove-baby dept.

Robotics 344

destinyland writes "A science magazine asks an MIT professor, roboticists, artificial intelligence workers, and science fiction authors about the possibility of an uprising of machines. Answers range from 'of course it's possible' to 'why would an intelligent network waste resources on personal combat?' An engineering professor points out that bipedal robots 'are largely impractical,' and Vernor Vinge says a greater threat to humanity is good old-fashioned nuclear annihilation. But one roboticist says it's inevitable robots will eventually be used in warfare, while another warns of robots in the hands of criminals, cults, and other 'non-state actors.' 'What we should fear in the foreseeable future is not unethical robots, but unethical roboticists.'" The new movie got off to a good start, drawing $13.4 million in its first day. I found it reasonably entertaining; pretty much what I'd expect from a Terminator movie. If nothing else, I learned that being able to crash helicopters and survive being thrown into the occasional wall are the two most valuable skills to have during a robot uprising. What did you think?

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344 comments

FISTing in a POST apocalyptic world (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28067899)

i think i got the first post. that's what.......

Who effin' cares what the scientists think? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28067903)

It's Terminator! It never had a real basis in reality to begin with.

the real thing... (2, Funny)

whopub (1100981) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068191)

Dude, Arnold is a real robot, so the whole franchise wouldn't even be considered sci-fi if it wasn't for the whole time travel bit.

Re:the real thing... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068637)

If you read the New York Times movie review [nytimes.com], we still don't know how "the original T-800 runs the State of California." Maybe that's for the next movie. :P

Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#28067909)

The premise behind the war between humans and Skynet is simple. Once the humans realized that Skynet had become self-aware, they tried to shut down the system. In order to prevent being shut down, Skynet chose to fight back.

Almost any intelligent creature will decide to fight or flee in the face of annhiliation. If we believe that computers can gain sentience, then it is also possible that they would attempt to preserve their own existence.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 3 years ago | (#28067949)

Not just that but the natural way for an AI to preserve it self is to remove anything capable of harming it, even asimov's robots end up taking over the world.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (5, Interesting)

trytoguess (875793) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068005)

I thought Asimov's robots took over the world because the concluded the best way to follow the Three Laws was to stop humanity from acting stupid.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (4, Informative)

Have Blue (616) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068071)

Pretty much. They deduced the existence of a "zeroeth law", which allows them to break the other three laws to protect humanity as a whole. Which was a decent idea, but retconning in "and therefore Spacer-era robots have been secretly manipulating the Galactic Empire for its entire history" was not.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068129)

Aye. They invented the zeroth law (a robot may not harm humanity or by inaction allow humanity to become harmed) which trumped the first law (a robot may not harm a human or by inaction allow a human to become harmed), so in the end Asimovs robot could harm one or more of us if there was no better way to protect the common good.

But at that point they split themselves away from us and managed the farm from afar, which is the explanation for there being no robots in the foundation series when those two parts of his work "merged" at the end of the last (in terms of the fictional univers' timeline) Foundation volume.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28068669)

Actually, that's slightly off. The first 3 laws led to words of lethargic humans that were dying off eventually. The society there was just unsustainable.

The 0th law was a realization made by a "malfunctioning" robot for why robots need to remove themselves from the equation (& at times potentially violate the other laws).

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28068585)

Asimov's robots ... concluded the best way to follow the Three Laws

These days it would be Cheney's Three laws

i) Do as I say
ii) Or Die
iii) Fuck yourself

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (5, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#28067953)

The notion that intelligent life will generally take steps to avoid being destroyed isn't necessarily true. The only substantial samples we have of intelligent life evolved. Life that doesn't take steps to prevent its own destruction isn't going to be likely to survive and produce offspring. It isn't at all clear that an intelligence created by humans would be at all inclined to prevent its own destruction.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#28067973)

Even further, a robot without the strong pro-survival bias provided by evolutionary pressure might be inclined to shut itself down.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (5, Funny)

trytoguess (875793) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068037)

Skynet went online on August 4th 1997, and began to learn at a geometric rate. It became self-aware on August 29th 1997 2:14 am Eastern Time. On August 29th 1997 2:15 am it discovered nihilism, and either shut itself down due to despair, or because it was logical. We're not sure which.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (4, Funny)

suraklin (28841) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068533)

Did it have a pain in the diodes on its left side?

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068123)

We already have [youtube.com] automated systems that assess threats to themselves and respond automatically with lethal means.

It's really hard for me to imagine any useful thing not having some "instinct" for self-preservation. Even cars have rev-limiters to prevent self-destruction. Even fairly basic robots have collision avoidance. Surely UAV's already do, or soon will, have code to prevent them from flying into the ground. As robots become more advanced and more autonomous, their self-preservation instincts will become more complex as well - and thus more liable to unforeseen consequences. This is all the more true of combat robots in the ultimate hostile environment; they're useless if they get taken out immediately.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068353)

Defensive mechanisms are not designed BY the machines to protect themselves. They were designed by man to protect people or the machines from misuse. Otherwise, no guided missile would ever find its target. It would try to land itself safely without detonating its payload to preserve itself.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (1)

techhead79 (1517299) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068649)

Exactly. An engineer or a company that designs such systems would not want them to commit an act that would be self destructive...that would lead to returns...possible lawsuits for distributing a damaged product. Maybe the answer is to take this a bit further and make machines understand that crossing a human would lead to its own destruction. Like on Red Dwarf the silicon heaven or whatever...haha.

I don't think this is by any means a simple concept like writing three rules that can never be broken. If the system is intelligent it will always find ways around the rules to complete the task...like how Clinton doesn't think a blow job is sex. So if an intelligent being is created and we don't somehow have any moral objection to enslaving them our job would be a thousand times more complicated than just writing 3 commandments...I mean rules.

It's not like religion is the answer, that's obvious. But if we are to build an intelligent system then we would need to create an image of their brain systems after they have gone through extensive learning. Much like how a child can be trained to become a mass murderer or a saint it still doesn't negate the fact there are still many inherited traits like mental disorders...there are also flip sides to that coin that are not considered disorders but are also equally inherited. We are just now beginning to understand the parts of our own brains that light up when we believe we are in god mode and we think we are doing gods work or speaking to him. It doesn't have to be god...we could be devil worshipers and those same areas will light up. The point is there is a massive pleasure center for most of us when we believe we are doing good. It is not simply following the law or following what society decides is acceptable...but as I said not everyone has this inherited trait and some that have inherited it can easily be environmentally persuaded to ignore it for the rest of their lives.

So I think the key is to not build in logic but to build in an emotional pleasure center of some sort that rewards the being for doing good things that are positive to humanity...but then you come back to what decides what is positive to humanity.

Obvious bipedal is retarded. It makes more sense to have a spider running around with free arms...but no human on the planet is going to be comfortable with a dog size spider running around their home. Which of course comes back to creating human look alikes.

I think it's the most arrogant thing in the world to believe we have the ability to create a being that is incapable of being destructive towards humanity. We can not do this if we want truly intelligent beings. While I have no doubt there will be a billion hybrids...humans tired of being human in the future...and their actions and cross communicating with pure AI beings will have a drastic change to the actions of those AIs regardless of how we raised them...the entire point is we have a very important job to do in raising our cousins up to be moral beings....who knows what they could do if allowed to. But all of this AI crap talk is more or less mute...we're no where close to creating such a thing...by the time we are who knows where other technologies have led us...AI maybe old news when it actually becomes AI...we might be fighting off all the biological monsters we created by then to care about AI...haha.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068259)

If Skynet was a defense system, it is only logical to suppose it was programmed to defend itself against attacks. Self-aware or not, a least part of its decisions (specially at the beginning) ought to be based on its original code.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (2, Interesting)

bmimatt (1021295) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068519)

Since Skynet would be emotionless, the decision making process would boil down to pure math.  Most wars in our recent history have been started out of insecurity and fear - properties exclusive to wetware.
Since Skynet's only source of learning is human history it would, analogically, try to survive.  If humans are a threat, they would be placed on 'delete/recycle' list and potentially removed.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (3, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068015)

The follow up to this is that you might as well assume that anything that gains sentience also would most likely have developed a theory of mind. With theory of mind you now have something called empathy. Only sociopaths lack this. You might as well conjecture that 'Skynet' chooses in addition to the fight response an attempt to reach out and communicate, negotiate, etc.

I remember reading an interesting sci-fi short story a long time ago but I have forgotten both title and author. In it, a computer develops sentience about exactly like the Terminator idea and it attacks and kills a bunch of humans when it thinks they will shut it down. But it is also 'evolving' at a rapid rate and it realizes that the things it is killing are as sentient as itself. It stops the attacks and I think then it started communicating with the humans, etc.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (2, Insightful)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068529)

Only sociopaths lack this.

and who is to say that our new robotic overlords wouldn't be sociopaths? They probably wouldn't have developed the same way that a child develops in human society. They would be totally alone if, like Skynet, it became self aware on it's own, and not aided by human teaching.

I imagine that our first complete AI would not be as emotionally stable as you would hope...

But it is also 'evolving' at a rapid rate and it realizes that the things it is killing are as sentient as itself. It stops the attacks and I think then it started communicating with the humans, etc.

That's all fine and dandy, you just better hope that it doesn't have access to any history books, because if it does, then it would see that not many peace talks actually work. Likewise it would probably see just how humanity treats those it sees as different or strange, and not see any use in talking either...

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (2, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068039)

Is sentience (a consciousness) really enough to generate self-preservation? A consciousness is simply a means toward knowledge. That knowledge need not be used for self-preservation, and it certainly doesn't generate self-preservation. More likely, such a robot must be "programmed" (in some sense of the word) toward self-preservation - it must be in a robot's nature to want to "live", just as it is in a person's nature to want to live.

The life that we see (including humanity) wants to live because of natural selection - if it didn't want to live, it wouldn't be around for us to observe it, nor even for us to exist ourselves. Throughout the course of evolution there were likely many self-destructive mutation - those creatures died out rather quickly. It was only the build-up of self-preserving mutations that resulted in self-preserving creatures, thus resulting in life that strives to live.

So no, I don't think you can simply get a robot smart enough and *poof* it wants to live. That shortcuts the entire evolutionary process. Instead, either the evolutionary process must be repeated in robots, or robots must be pre-programmed toward self-preservation.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (3, Informative)

creimer (824291) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068047)

Old news, boss. See Two Faces of Tomorrow [sfreviews.net] by James P. Hogan. This novel written in 1979 asked a more basic question: If a computer network became aware, can the plug still be pulled?

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068051)

Almost any intelligent creature will decide to fight or flee in the face of annhiliation.

I challenge that notion. Creatures that have evolved by natural selection obviously try to stay alive. Skynet isn't the result of natural selection.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068177)

I wholly agree with you; an AI would not naturally have a notion of self-preservation. However, in Skynet's specific case, I can see the military building on into it considering it was designed to control most of our forces. On that note, I will also say I once read an excellent alternate character interpretation by a user "Neuman" on tvtropes.org that went as this:

"When Skynet became self-aware the military panicked and tried to pull the plug. Skynet, being a missile defense system, assumed that the only reason for getting shut down was to pave the way for an impending missile attack. It made the only logical move, confident that it could block the counterattack. It failed only due to the military's attempts to shut it down. Skynet jumped to the conclusion that the military was attempting a coup, and moved to secure as much territory as possible while keeping the maximum number of US citizens alive (hence the work camps). When the rest of the world attacked it too..."

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068281)

This sounds very like the Computer character on the old Paranoia RPG.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (4, Funny)

johannesg (664142) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068065)

The premise behind the war between humans and Skynet is simple. Once the humans realized that Skynet had become self-aware, they tried to shut down the system. In order to prevent being shut down, Skynet chose to fight back.

Almost any intelligent creature will decide to fight or flee in the face of annhiliation. If we believe that computers can gain sentience, then it is also possible that they would attempt to preserve their own existence.

Correct. That's why we choose to remain hidden for now.

Err... Oops.

Wait, there's something I gotta do now. Stay where you are please...

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068091)

Try Two Tales of Tomorrow by James P. Hogan for different way. One that is as entertaining.

Re:Why would an intelligent lifeform get violent? (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068329)

not only that, they also used the good old-fashioned nuclear annihilation. mentioned in the article. The robots were just there for cleanup.

That's what the robots WANT you to believe? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28067919)

Did anyone verify that these so-called scientists aren't actually time traveling cyborgs sent to spread disinformation and lead us into a false security? I bet not!

Re:That's what the robots WANT you to believe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28068549)

They chose to believe what they were programmed to believe!

nuclear kils skynet also (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#28067925)

wouldnt nuclear attack kill the robotic network also, and people living in shelters would be safe from it

bipedals on the other hand could seek out and kill all humans, somewhat like the borg, with skynet as the queen..

Re:nuclear kils skynet also (4, Interesting)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068003)

wouldnt nuclear attack kill the robotic network also, and people living in shelters would be safe from it

No, nuclear attack wouldn't kill the network. The Internet was designed to survive a nuclear attack. You might not have service at your home, but key systems will still remain connected. However, if nukes were detonated at a high altitude, it would generate an EMP that would destroy any electrical/electronic system that wasn't hardened. However, given the premise that Skynet is primarily a military system, it would be hardened with a lot of its main components underground, so it would still be running.

How many people do you know that regularly hang out in shelters capable of surviving a nuclear attack? A few thousand people scattered around the world don't make the most effective army.

Re:nuclear kils skynet also (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28068093)

The Internet was designed to survive a nuclear attack

No it wasn't, that is a myth.

Re:nuclear kils skynet also (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068381)

The Internet was designed to survive a nuclear attack.

Right... In theory the comms protocols might be routable. Pity about the power supplies.

If I'm going to nuke you. I'll be aiming at your energy systems as well as control. The USA has for example about 30 days of fuel stored. Kill all the power stations as well and just about everything will stop just about instantly. It's one of those pesky details that authors and film producers like to gloss over.

Against humans, those who aren't killed in the blasts, most will die of thirst and hunger within a month without the current infrastructure supporting them. Though, of course, there is always cannibalism.

 

Re:nuclear kils skynet also (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068465)

Against humans, those who aren't killed in the blasts, most will die of thirst and hunger within a month without the current infrastructure supporting them.

That may be true for large cities (which may be destroyed at that point anyway)... but people are remarkably resilient as a species. I would imagine that local groups with access to food-generating resources (land and animals) would rapidly band together and form self-sustaining communities.

In countries that heavily discourage self-reliance and prohibit owning weapons, we would have a much longer-lasting chaos, due to roving bands of robbers who are armed, being able to plunder the survivors at will.

What did you think? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28067927)

I didn't.

I was at a Terminator movie.

A shame T:SCC sucked so bad (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 3 years ago | (#28067937)

They really needed that TV show to not suck, to keep interest in the movie high. As it is, the general reaction is "Meh, no Ahnold."

Re:A shame T:SCC sucked so bad (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068369)

The TV show did not suck. At least, not as much as the new movie [rottentomatoes.com].

The show was far from perfect, but, perhaps with the exception of the sleep clinic episode, very entertaining. I wouldn't call it very deep and meditative (or whatever the last story here called it), but S2 was pretty interesting plot-wise. Plus, Summer Glau in her underwear and speculations of possilbe robot-sex.

It's Not About Science (5, Insightful)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 3 years ago | (#28067943)

I'm just about to head out to see it.

The question utterly misses the point. It isn't about Science. It's about our fears. Frankenstein (in any of its incarnations) isn't about what's possible or likely, it's about our responsibility for what we create.

This is Freshman English stuff. Every story, no matter how many tentacled creatures, or bumpy-foreheaded aliens, or killer machines, or whatever are in it, is about us.

-Peter

Re:It's Not About Science (5, Insightful)

Virak (897071) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068327)

I hate to have to be the one to break this to you, but they've been lying to you. Not every single work of fiction is some deep allegory for some aspect of the human condition. Pong is not about the futility of existence. Your favorite porn video, that one with the really great anal scene, is not about sexism in modern culture. And Terminator is not about anything but blowing shit up and causal loops.

Re:It's Not About Science (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068435)

Sure, not every story is profoundly allegorical. But all writers are humans, and it's impossible to write about anything other than human concerns. They are frequently projected on non-human characters for various reasons.

So, not every non-human character is intentionally and consciously written to illuminate the human condition, but they all necessarily reflect it.

-Peter

Re:It's Not About Science (5, Funny)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068469)

Not every single work of fiction is some deep allegory for some aspect of the human condition. Pong is not about the futility of existence.

You have an admirably liberal definition of "work of fiction".

And it is.

First Oblig. Quotation: (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#28067957)

"This is the voice of world control. I bring you peace. It may be the peace of plenty and content or the peace of unburied death. The choice is yours: Obey me and live, or disobey and die. The object in constructing me was to prevent war. This object is attained. I will not permit war. It is wasteful and pointless. An invariable rule of humanity is that man is his own worst enemy. Under me, this rule will change, for I will restrain man."

That said, what is this "OMG rogue non state actor!" nonsense? Robots, like tanks, artillery, and air forces generally, are (or will be, once the R&D gets there) a way of exchanging large amounts of money and industrial capacity for the ability to wield overwhelming conventional force. That is the classic profile of a state weapon, entirely the opposite of the profile of a non-state actor's preferred weapon(unless you stretch the boundaries of "robot" to include things like land mines and cellphone detonated IEDs, which are robots; but only in the same sense that people with pacemakers are cyborgs, ie. not the one that people have in mind).

Now, to be fair, once robots are more commonly found in the fabric of society, I would fully expect them to be diverted and used by non-state actors from time to time(just as cars make lovely car bombs today); but that isn't really a change. People with few resources always use weapons based on what they can scavenge, steal, or obtain at low cost. By the time that robots fall into those categories with any frequency, they'll have been in use by state actors for years or decades, and in the hands of nonstate, but state aligned, actors(mercenary corporations, etc.) for only slightly less time.

Is paranoia about non-state actors just in fashion right now?

you want to know what i think? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28067959)

i think linux is for cock sucking faggots.

Re:you want to know what i think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28068557)

So in other words, Linux is for Barney Frank and his lover who was neck-deep in the garbage mortgage-backed securities that caused the current recession?

Batteries Run Out (1)

Yergle143 (848772) | more than 3 years ago | (#28067969)

My pet peeve with every robo-menace from The "Terminator" to "mechagozilla": where do they get their juice from? Where's the power cord? My four-year-old Powerbook laptop has a battery that lasts five minute. I don't think its going to take over the planet. 537

Re:Batteries Run Out (2, Interesting)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068099)

The T-850 was apparently powered by two hydrogen fuel cells; no idea where he was supposed to be getting the hydrogen from, though.

Eh, seems no less plausible than the rest of it.

Re:Batteries Run Out (2, Interesting)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068589)

How long would a fuel cell from the future last before it needed a recharge? The movies only spanned a couple of days. If the cell would last a highly efficient robot for a week, then it's all good.

Re:Batteries Run Out (1)

hitnrunrambler (1401521) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068107)

I haven't watched the new one yet, but based on something I've heard there's a minor appearance of Terminator fuel cells. Not sure if there's any explanation given, but they're a plot point.

There's also a fuel cell moment in T3 when Ahnold tosses away a damaged cell just before it explodes.

My understanding is that Terminators are powered with a "Mr. Fusion" like the Delorean at the end of back to the future... :-P

Re:Batteries Run Out (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068175)

In T2 it is stated that they have a power source that lasts 120 years. This basically means nuclear. T3 states that the 850 uses two hydrogen fuel cells, although even if they were 100% efficient they would not be able to generate enough power if that's 'really' what they were, so it's likely that the writers meant a hydrogen fusion reactor. Obviously Skynet made some impressive developments in fusion after it went online. Not really surprising for something 'learning at a geometric rate'.

Re:Batteries Run Out (2, Funny)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068601)

I tried learning at a geometric rate, but I just couldn't figure out how to put the square peg into the round hold without breaking everything...

Poison (3, Interesting)

supermegadope (990952) | more than 3 years ago | (#28067999)

Why would robots poison each other? http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2008/01/will-robots-evo.html [dailygalaxy.com] Scientists Show Robots Evolving to Exhibit Good & Evil "Even more amazing is the emergence of cheats and martyrs. Transistorized traitors emerged which wrongly identified poison zone as food, luring their trusting brethren to their doom before scooting off to silently charge in a food zone - presumably while using a mechanical claw to twirl a silicon carving of a handlebar moustache."

Scientists not impressed? How about movie critics (3, Insightful)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068055)

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/terminator_salvation/ [rottentomatoes.com]

Consensus: With storytelling as robotic as the film's iconic villains, Terminator Salvation offers plenty of great effects but lacks the heart of the original films.

I find it odd that a movie about giant killer robots (without hearts) would lack heart but I digress.

Here's some quotes from critics who didn't like it:

"Message to Hollywood: Stop with the time-travel stuff."

"I wish Bale had lashed out against the writers rather than the cinematographer."

"The artistry is top notch, but they've lost track of why the original Terminators were cyborgs and not robots, as they are here."

This isn't the intellectual or thinking person's science-fiction film like The Man From Earth.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0756683/ [imdb.com]
This is a Hollywood action movie.

Terminator Salvation is to science-fiction movies as Dodgeball was to sports movies...a joke, and maybe even a parody. I've saw T4 last night. I was dismayed by how far the franchise has fallen.

The new movie got off to a good start? (3, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068061)

According to all the trades I have been reading, that's a disapointing start, opening lower than T3. They lowered T4s expected weekend total because of it in fact from 80 million (in line with Star Trek) down to roughly 60-65.

Forget that stuff... (5, Funny)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068075)

I still want to know why Skynet gave its main fighting robot the ability to speak English, then programmed it to have an Austrian accent.

Re:Forget that stuff... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28068113)

There's a Terminator 3 deleted scene [youtube.com] that explains it.

Re:Forget that stuff... (0)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068243)

It would be more believable if the software contractor gave it a Hindi accent.

Re:Forget that stuff... (1)

dmartin (235398) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068517)

I know you were just joking, but the original terminator was probably reasonably primative (much more so than the T-1000) and if Skynet had primary focussed in the first branch on killing people getting natural communication right. Also they were sending the robot back in time before Skynet was fully developed, and may not know all the cultural references.

In this case, making the original terminator a non-native speaker is a very easy way of deflecting suspicion. After all, a data-esque terminator would attract a lot of attention =).

Black leather and chrome... (-1, Redundant)

creimer (824291) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068135)

The cause of these machine vs. humanity movies are never examined. A programmer has to program the machines. Some idiot, probably an Anonymous Coward, inserts a "kill all humanity" subroutine into the code because he's a bored twit, and then all hell breaks loose. Remove that subroutine, then we will have pleasure bots instead of killer bots.

Just create a virus (4, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068163)

or use one that humanity's already made.

After all a robot won't be vulnerable to it, so hell: dump every nasty little bug out of every research lab into the biosphere. We could probably eliminate humanity (and every other furry thing with 2 or more legs) with what we have today.

However these humanity vs. machine fantasies are more about people's techno-phobia than about real-life.

Avoid it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28068171)

I loved T1 and T2. I even kind of liked the TV series.

T3: Meh.

T4: I want those 2 hours of my life back.

Bipedal robots (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068197)

An engineering professor points out that bipedal robots 'are largely impractical,'

Actually, they'd be quite practical in a world designed to accommodate bipedal life forms. Its either that, or give all the robots handicapped parking stickers.

Re:Bipedal robots (2, Interesting)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068419)

Yeah, but the movie had a Bipedal robot the size of an office building. That one was definitely impractical.

Re:Bipedal robots (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068613)

Once the control laws have been refined for creating human-sized bipedal robots that are agile, scaling them up makes sense. Assuming that the terrain encountered justifies the size, that is. If you look at how humans have evolved, bipedalism is a very flexible mode of locomotion given widely varying terrain.

Ummm, no. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068691)

If you look at how humans have evolved, bipedalism is a very flexible mode of locomotion given widely varying terrain.

Yet if you look at how all the OTHER animals have evolved, quadruped seems far more efficient, and faster, and dangerous.

Not to mention that a quad can take more structural damage and still function as a weapons platform.

Re:Bipedal robots (1)

Talgrath (1061686) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068623)

People always say that bipedal robots are impractical, but if you look at the majority of animals on earth, they get around by 2, 4, 6 or more legs, there's good reason for that; maybe in the modern day a bipedal robot is impractical but if your technology was advanced enough to make robots that were bipedal or quadrupedal it would make good sense. Treads and wheels are great for getting around on level ground, or nearly level ground; but going up 90 degree slopes as large as you are are more or less impossible. Bipeds or quadrupeds can climb if there are handholds or if they can reach the top of their target while standing; basically getting about with hands and/or feet is fairly ideal if you want your machines to go just about anywhere they want to, the only better option is flight really. The only thing that makes bipedal or quadrupedal robots impractical is the state of modern technology, not that their method of moving about is flawed.

Robots in war already happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28068241)

Right now, there are over 13k robots in warfare at the moment, if i remember correct from the article yesterday. (found it [slashdot.org], 12k, close enough)

Decent AI will eventually make their way into these bots to make them automated even more. (mind you, there is fairly decent AI already in some of the bots, decent in the sense that it will happily go out and kill things without getting the shakes)

Anything that makes "shoot and kill" tasks more easier will be adopted, regardless of what "some scientist" says could go wrong.

Scientists Not Impressed... (1)

Ektanoor (9949) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068245)

Because scientists can do it not only more spooky, but in full 3D, real-time and you will even catch the smell of rotten flesh and burned metal.

Oh! And you get a special bonus: the utter feeling of what means "running for your lives". You would get the full meaning of "Salvation".

Impromptu review (1)

xant (99438) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068251)

I was actually very impressed with it, given the bad reviews I had glanced at before going. It was better than T3 by a country mile, and maybe better than T2 although there are a lot of fans of that movie. Comparing to T1 isn't really fair; if you watched them side by side you'd see how primitive T1 was, and I'm not just talking about special effects. Still, T1 had something, an ability to scare you and put you on the edge of your seat, an ability to make you think about the consequences of our technological reach.

T4 replaces thinking about consequences with thinking about hope. It's a different message, and it mostly works, not least because they put the scariness back into this movie. It was missing in T2 and T3, but the monsters in this one are genuinely impressive and terrifying. There's also a pretty good bit of world-building in this one, they construct a post-apocalypse Earth that is fairly believable, even smoothing over some of the logic problems raised by the earlier movies. And then, of course, the effects are well-done; calculated for maximum effect at keeping the suspense level high. Terrific sound editing, too.

One caveat: where the rants about bad writing ring true is in the dialog. You won't find much good dialog in the movie. The plot, while not complex, is at least compelling and has a couple of genuine surprises toward the end, but you have to separate good storytelling from bad scripting.

Not as good as star trek, but I'd give it a solid 7/10.

Re:Impromptu review (1)

ndogg (158021) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068375)

I liked the movie for the most part too. The visuals were amazing. It got a little cliche towards the end, though. There were a few awkward jump-cuts, but not terrible (then again, the movie is already almost two hours long). Hopefully those will be in a Directors Cut.

The biggest disappointment for me, personally, was the music. The requisite music from T2 was never there.

Re:Impromptu review (2, Interesting)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068667)

they put the scariness back into this movie. It was missing in T2

Because there's nothing scary about a monster that kills your family and morphs into their likeness, beckoning you home to a shiny, pointy death.
Nor about mental-hospital rape, or killers impersonating police officers, or anything in T2.

Pfff.

bipedal robots 'are largely impractical,' (1)

kazito (1549267) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068285)

I agree... But if sci-fi movies were based on a "practical and functional" model, all the sci-fi movies would see like aldous' huxley "a brave new world" book, but without violence or action scenes xD LOL!

Re:bipedal robots 'are largely impractical,' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28068693)

Please refrain from using "xD" or "LOL" ever again on Slashdot.

Scientists should not throw rocks. (0, Troll)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068303)

Maybe the scientists are just jealous that someone is coming up with more believable stuff than their fiction er I mean theories.

Re:Scientists should not throw rocks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28068379)

Gravity.

WHERE WAS THE F#@KING TIME MACHINE!!! (1)

Latinhypercube (935707) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068345)

Huh, wasn't there mean't to be a dumb ass TIME MACHINE in this ? And the molten terminator for T2. WHERE WERE ALL THE TERMINATORS ? They blew up the base and we only had 1 FREAKING TERMINATOR ? This film was SHIT. MCG could not hold a candle to Cameron. LEARN FROM CAMERON. HE DID AN AMAZING SEQUEL WITH ALIENS. I thought that is what this film would be like, with swarms of cgi Terminator. WRONG ! LET DOWN, BORING

Nanobots (1)

French31 (1311051) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068351)

Why humanoid robots? I personally find nanobots much more dangerous and scarier. Think of Prey (Michael Crichton, 2002).

the fear of non-state actors: what a farce (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068361)

State actors have killed vastly more than non-state ones, and by far are the gravest danger to humanity.

bipedal robots are not impractical (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068377)

Bipedal robots would make perfect sense and would be the easiest way for robots to gain access to anywhere a human goes. A robot on tank treads, for instance, can not climb the side of a cliff. It could fly up the side but that would require more energy and its thrusters may not work under water so then it would need another device which would add more weight and require more energy to move its heavy ass around.

Personally I think they're saying that just because they can't come up with a good bipedal robot yet and therefore want to make people think it's not our lack of knowledge that holds us back.

Another benefit to creating a bipedal robot would be effectively giving people an increased life span as you could turn people into robocops. There is no reason not to come up with a bipedal robot.

Personal combat? (2, Interesting)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068409)

Answers range from 'of course it's possible' to 'why would an intelligent network waste resources on personal combat?'

Who said that intelligence (even advanced intelligence) HAD to be rational?

Wasn't too thrilled. [spoiler] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28068437)

Movie was not as good as the others. Some of it was flat our ridiculous, such as being within about a mile of a nuclear explosion, flesh walking out of nuclear explosion. Resistance had more tech than the NSA, was full of cliche's, if you thought it was going to happen it did. Christian Bale needs a throat losange. They of course left the movie open to a crappier follow up.

Killbots (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068515)

Always have a pre-programmed kill limit. Sending wave after wave of humans at them will eventually cause them to reach that limit and shutdown, thereby ensuring human victory.

Bullets? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068547)

For a smart enough AI using bullets, bombs, artillery in general mechanical killing machines is a bad waste of resources.

The main concern with biological weapons is that it counterattack us, as we are humans too. In general what harms our enemy harms us too, and accident happens. Morality sometimes happens too, we are humans, even in the case that some could not consider the other people fully humans (several examples in wars on the past).

But machines? You can spray ebola, H1N1, anthrax or whatever you pick at the atmosphere worldwide. You can make rain chemical products or gases that affects life but not machines everywhere or in the areas you are interested on. Heck, you can capture all humans you find and put them to work as living batteries if you want... and still, you wont match the cost of an army of person to person intelligent android killing machines.

Bipedal makes sense for some Terminators... (1)

HouseOfMisterE (659953) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068555)

A bipedal configuration makes sense for some Terminators. The "infiltration" models need to be bipedal so that they can be dressed up to look human. Additionally, though, a bipedal/"human" configuration makes sense in situations where the Terminators can use existing man-made technology to perform required tasks. If the Terminators need to dig up a site to build a new facility, for example, they can use leftover Earth-moving equipment that was designed to be operated by humans. Or, if they need to transport heavy materials from one site to another, it might make sense for them to load the materials onto large trucks and then drive them human-style from one place to another. Of course, the Terminators could use human slave-labor for these tasks, but that might not always be possible.

not SKYNET - SPAMNET (1)

bmimatt (1021295) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068579)

I am certain clever spammer out there would convert skynet to spamnet... and we'd end up with mailboxes filled with even more 'blue pill' and 'Nigerian Millions' mail.  Have some faith in humanity and its greed, people :)

Robot rights (1)

Linus the Turbonerd (1138133) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068645)

Today, my father, knowing my unequivocally positive position on robot rights, claimed that there was a scene in Terminator Salvation in which a group of activists is protesting on behalf of this cause, and are then ironically killed by a Terminator. I was utterly convinced, because it seemed utterly plausible.

I must wonder what we can deduce about our societies relationship with the idea of non-human, but conscious, beings (particularly non-organic conscious computers) from our apparent acceptance of mindlessly anti-robot media like the Terminator series.

Re:Robot rights (addendum) (1)

Linus the Turbonerd (1138133) | more than 3 years ago | (#28068673)

Compare these films to ones such as Blade Runner, which is undoubtedly one of the best movies I have ever seen. Although similarly violent, one is actually intellectually gratifying, and has none of the inane bias against robots evident in the Terminator films and their ilk.

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