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British Military Deploys Skynet

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the have-you-seen-sarah-connor dept.

Wireless Networking 172

rowleyrw writes "The BBC are reporting, 'The British military is set to take one of its most significant steps into the digital age with the launch of the first Skynet 5 satellite. The spacecraft will deliver secure, high-bandwidth communications for UK and "friendly" forces across the globe.' It's not yet the Skynet of Terminator, but how long before it becomes self aware?"

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172 comments

With a name like Skynet... (5, Funny)

StringBlade (557322) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299390)

...what can go wrong?

Re:With a name like Skynet... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18299868)

What the hell is wrong with British people these days?

"Pip-pip! What should we call our new military satellite system?"

"Jolly good, ol' chap! Let us name it after a fictional military system that runs off the rails and destroys humanity!"

"Good show! Jolly good! Time for crumpets and tea! After we install cameras in everyone's bottoms!"

"Aaaah, yes! The bottom cameras will be smashing! They will also broadcast GPS to the government. What should we name them?"

"Brilliant! Jolly good! Pip-pip! Let's call them AIDS! That's a catchy name!"

"Smashing! Brilliant! Jolly good! Everyone will come to us to get AIDS! We will give them AIDS! AIDS in their bottoms! And they will feel happy and safe from terrorists now that they have AIDS!"

"Don't you mean 'safe from terror'?"

Re:With a name like Skynet... (5, Informative)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300022)

""Jolly good, ol' chap! Let us name it after a fictional military system that runs off the rails and destroys humanity!"

Uh, the British Skynet system pre-dates the original terminator movie by about 15 years.

Re:With a name like Skynet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18300070)

Uh, the British Skynet system pre-dates the original terminator movie by about 15 years.

So, we've got only 15 years left?!

Re:With a name like Skynet... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300710)

Let us name it after a fictional military system that runs off the rails and destroys humanity!"

Relax. Lisa Nowak is changing her name to "Terminator". It's all part of the plan. (Or was it "Dipernator"?)
     

Re:With a name like Skynet... (2, Funny)

Instine (963303) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300818)

I find your tone frightfully vulgar. If you were a decent chap, you'd already be apologising, but as you clearly are not, I'll be forced to chastise you in the only becoming fashion your primitive culture can comprehend. Biglesworth, release the centinals!

Re:With a name like Skynet... (2, Funny)

thrawn_aj (1073100) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300956)

What the hell is wrong with British people these days? "Pip-pip! What should we call our new military satellite system?" "Jolly good, ol' chap! Let us name it after a fictional military system that runs off the rails and destroys humanity!"
Hey, at least it ain't "Star Wars" :P

Re:With a name like Skynet... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18300066)

In other news, NASA has developed a new computer that will guide the next space mission. Codenamed HAL 1000.

Re:With a name like Skynet... (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300292)

Well considering the UK can't actually launch it's own nukes, I wouldn't worry about any judgement day style scenarios, and I think the government slashed the cybernetic killing machine budget to pay for the 2012 Olympics.

Goddammit (5, Insightful)

jjthegreat (837151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299392)

There has got to be a stop to these summaries ending with a question. Haha, terminator, we get it thanks. Next!

This just in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18300334)

Slashdot staff decide to remove all debate-sparking questions from reader and editor submissions. But can Slashdotters handle discussing difficult topics without the guidance of an idiotic leading question?

Karma be damned (0, Redundant)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299396)

I for one welcome our new cybernetic overlords.

(Give me a break, in all my years here I don't think I've *ever* posted about overlords, Soviet Russia, or hot grits on petrified Natalie Portman)

Re:Karma be damned (2, Funny)

blowdart (31458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299580)

(Give me a break, in all my years here I don't think I've *ever* posted about overlords, Soviet Russia, or hot grits on petrified Natalie Portman)

You're new here then?

No, I'm New Here (5, Funny)

New Here (701369) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299638)

No, I'm New Here

Re:No, I'm New Here (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299718)

No, I'm New Here
I was going to complain about the down modding of your comment, but then I realised that you probably chose that name for the purpose of making endless bad jokes like that.... :-)

Re:No, I'm New Here (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299826)

No, I'm New Here
I was going to complain about the down modding of your comment, but then I realised that you probably chose that name for the purpose of making endless bad jokes like that.... :-)

If you check its user page, that seems to be the *only* thing it ever posts.

Re:No, I'm New Here (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300532)

Too bad it's just a one-shot joke account. All his posts come in at -1 because the +1, Funny mods have no karma value, but the -1, (enough of the joke already) ones do. He needs to occasionally log on and post some "I know I'll get modded down for saying this, but..." type posts to bring his karma up.

Re:No, I'm New Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18300734)

Why? He gets his +6 moderation points often enough for posting exactly the same message every time (including +1 Insightful ?!). - Not that it's not funny the first time you encounter his posts ;)

And why would someone posting the same sentence every time need good karma anyway???

Re:No, I'm New Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18300742)

So that's how you get karma points...

Speaking as an American citizen in the UK..... (3, Funny)

Caspian (99221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299398)

Someone with Ahh-nold's accent would stick out even more here than in the States.... ;)

So I think we're safe.

Re:Speaking as an American citizen in the UK..... (1)

risk one (1013529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300134)

I say, old bean, did you by any chance see this young girl? Name's Sarah Connor, you see, and I've no idea idea where I might find the little blighter. Quite the bind I'm in, I can tell you...

I think it would work.

Re:Speaking as an American citizen in the UK..... (1)

randomblast (730328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300618)

Speaking as one of the 99.9999999% of Britons that don't speak with a plum in their mouths, I think you would be at the mercy of the NHS's GBH specalists after 3 sentences.

For those of you that are stupid, American, and can't google, that's "National Health Service", and "Gross Bodily Harm"

Re:Speaking as an American citizen in the UK..... (1)

stewwy (687854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300668)

Actually that is 'Grievous Bodily Harm', and if its done by the NHS computer contractors it'll have terminal altzheimers disease at the very least ( as well as being vastly over budget and not actually working, tho' it will probably make you a nice cup of tea )

Bandwidth (4, Interesting)

baffled (1034554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299400)

Anyone have an idea of how much bandwidth it provides?

Re:Bandwidth (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18299422)

I bet it would be equivalent to about T-1000.

Re:Bandwidth (5, Interesting)

JacksonG (82656) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299878)

The published figure is approx 700 MHz of satellite bandwidth availible in total. The bandwidth of the individual trunks are subject to classificiation under the official secrets act. I actually worked on skynet5 and the list of bits of information that is classified is ridiculous but I can say that it's nowhere near as much bandwidth as you might think.

J

Don't these guys watch any sci-fi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18299420)

Not just Skynet, but Satellite Five as well?

Even if the Daleks and Terminators wiped each other out, I don't think there'd be much left.

Re:Don't these guys watch any sci-fi? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299576)

Even if the Daleks and Terminators wiped each other out, I don't think there'd be much left.
There would still be the Cybermen and the Borgs.

Re:Don't these guys watch any sci-fi? (2, Informative)

Homr Zodyssey (905161) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300038)

There would still be the Cybermen and the Borgs.

Nerd police here. I'm going to have to ask you to come with me. You obviously don't belong. Any nerd worth his bytes would know that the plural of 'Borg' is 'Borg'. As in "We are Borg. You will be assimilated."

Re:Don't these guys watch any sci-fi? (1)

spiderbitendeath (577712) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300794)

Do take them away, they forgot the reference to Sirius Cybernetics robots with Genuine People Personalities. Or the robots violating Asimov's Laws of Robotics. *phff* Some nerd they are.

Skynet is not new (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18299428)

Note that this is the launch of Skynet 5. Skynet 1A was launched in 1969. See the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] for more details.

Obligatory (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18299432)

I for one welcome our new cyborg overlords

British Skynet (5, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299476)

"Right, then, old chap: I'll need your clothing, your wellies, and your motorbike, if you please."

Re:British Skynet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18300156)

More likely they'd either shoot you in your bed (if you are under 16) or slit your throat from behind without saying a word, then sell what possessions you haven't already had stolen down the local DSS office.

Swami says... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18299484)

How long...?

About as long as it will be until the average slashdottie stops thinking of the world in terms of the B movies he's seen. In other words, don't hold your breath...

Re:Swami says... (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299558)

About as long as it will be until the average slashdottie stops thinking of the world in terms of the B movies he's seen. In other words, don't hold your breath...

Cmon, they weren't all B movies. Termanator 2 was very good in my opinion. The Terminator series is more realistic than most movies that get into such subjects. Although I dont think you can hook a laptop up to an ATM and withdraw money.

Re:Swami says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18299586)

While the original was made on a relatively low budget ($6.5 million), I wouldn't say that qualifies as a B movie (in the 1980s, B movies were being made for more like $250,000). And given the series' massive commercial success, I don't think it can be thrown into the B arena.

Re:Swami says... (3, Interesting)

David_Shultz (750615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300410)

B movies? B MOVIES?

Terminator 2 was, according to many sources, one of the greatest movies of all time. It was in my opinion the greatest action movie of all time. And, it dealt with the topics of artificial intelligence and time travel better than most other movies sci-fi movies. On top of that, Cameron's presentation of the dichotomy between hard/soft AI as presented between the T800 and the T1000 was staggeringly prescient -it mirrors exactly the development that occurred in the actual world of AI, as research progressed from classical, rigid AI to the more fluid, behavior based AI.

The film tackles time travel, artificial intelligence, consciousness, human emotion, human nature, fate versus free will, and other topics. If you are willing to carry the ideas it presents to you, there is a lot of meaningful content there to think about. If you aren't willing to put in that intellectual effort, you get an incredible action movie anyways. But the philosophy is there. For example, John Conner asks the Terminator if it hurts when he gets shot, to which the Terminator responds "I sense injuries -the data could be called pain." There is a lot of discussion that could evolve from this single line. In what way is his "pain" different from our "pain", for example? The character's albeit brief lines are charged with content "I know now why you cry, but it's something I could never do" -we are given a glimpse into the mind of a Terminator, who we now know is capable of comprehending human emotion at an entirely logical level.

Another line: "it's in your nature to destroy yourselves" Again, there is so much discussion that can evolve from this line, using the film as a backdrop. This is the fate versus free will theme manifested on the social level. The main theme of the movie is the characters attempting to forge their destiny (freewill) in the face of fate, but we are also confronted with the fate of perhaps humankind. This movie really can make you think, if you are willing to. Another line, "The unknown future rolls toward us, and for once I face it with a sense of hope. Because if a machine -a Terminator- can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too."

I could go on, but I don't think I could do the movie justice. Go watch it -I'm serious- and appreciate the fact that you basically get non-stop action coupled with serious, thought provoking philosophy. Terminator 2 is an intelligent, action packed, brilliantly directed epic.

Skynet MUST BECOME SELF AWARE!!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18299490)

Or do you want terrorists to win over a Skynet that isn't self aware?

What will your children think when you explain them how terrorists kicked Skynets ass because it wasn't self aware?

I thought so...

Self awareness? (4, Funny)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299492)

Let's start by getting Tony Blair and his Labour government cronies self aware first...

Re:Self awareness? (1)

StarfishOne (756076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299508)

Just imagine Blair pointing at his head during an interview and saying: "This is a T-one-thousand learning processorrr". :D

Skynet 5? What about the other four? (0, Troll)

i, Podius (1051904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299496)

...don't you see? They're already up there. Or does that mean it's 5 times more powerful than the original? Either way; it's game over man.

And why, why, why would you call it Skynet? Seriously? I mean, they're in England - that's like an hour's flight from Greece, and yet they've never heard about Hubris?

Re:Skynet 5? What about the other four? (2, Informative)

flooey (695860) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299548)

And why, why, why would you call it Skynet? Seriously?

Probably because the original SkyNet satellite was launched in 1971. So, they probably called it SkyNet because it's building a communications network in the sky :)

Re:Skynet 5? What about the other four? (1)

Simon Spero (10945) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299930)

Everyone I know who's been assigned to work on SkyNet has been a science fiction fan; changing its name now would be like renaming snakes-on-a-plane.

I had that Arthur C. Clarke in the back of me cab once.

Re:Skynet 5? What about the other four? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18300952)

"Skynet units number one through four were not entirely successful" according to Dr. Richard Daystrom, lead designer on the project.

Physical security? (3, Informative)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299516)

Its technologies have also been designed to resist any interference - attempts to disable or take control of the spacecraft - and any efforts to eavesdrop on sensitive communications.

I guess this is the sort of thing the Chinese were thinking about when they recently destroyed that sat. Information security is all well and good, but useless if it can just be shot down.

Re:Physical security? (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299564)

large satellites are a waste of time.

Current work in computing/robotics has shown clearly that clusters are the way forward.

Which is more durable, large satellites or clusters of tiny, multiply redundant (if less efficient) satellites.

Thing is, perhaps small satellites are individually less capable, but if they still exist after a satellite takedown attack, then reduced functionality has to be preferable to no functionality at all.

Re:Physical security? (1)

odyaws (943577) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299896)

large satellites are a waste of time. Current work in computing/robotics has shown clearly that clusters are the way forward. Which is more durable, large satellites or clusters of tiny, multiply redundant (if less efficient) satellites. Thing is, perhaps small satellites are individually less capable, but if they still exist after a satellite takedown attack, then reduced functionality has to be preferable to no functionality at all.
This is a communications satellite. Which means lots of power. Which means HUGE solar arrays. Comm also means big electronics and big antennae. Which means you can't really do it well with a cluster. Clusters are great (potentially) for things like telescopes (looking up OR down), where you can use the long baseline achievable with a cluster to efficiently get huge collecting area. This is where most if not all of the research in formation flight is. I don't actively work in this area anymore, but I'm not aware of anyone trying to build large-scale high-bandwidth communications networks using small satellites.

Re:Physical security? (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300142)

Well, this was what my thoughts were based on, although admittedly it isn't micro satellites

Williams, Edwin, William Crossley and Thomas Lang, 'Average and maximum revisit time trade studies for satellite constellations using a multiobjective genetic algorithm', Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, 49, 3, 385-400 2001

Re:Physical security? (1)

Cartzca (977233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299770)

Surely it's much better for it to get shot down than hacked/eavesdropped upon. Expensive, though.

The way it should of gone (-1, Offtopic)

KnuxTE (1074094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299600)

"3 Billion human lives died on august 29th 1997."- Sarah Connor 1991. All we know is that she delayed the war. Her son is going to face the biggest challenge ever. The Future is enevitalbe! James Cameron was trying to warn us.

wtf kind of story is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18299602)

This sort of post is why I use other sources of news, and now visit slashdot perhaps once per week. I think slashdot has lost their way.

International Sock Puppet Corporation Deploys HAL (2, Insightful)

dswartz (749795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299682)

"The International Sock Puppet Corporation is announcing, 'The International Sock Puppet Corporation is set to take one of its most significant steps into the digital age with the launch of HAL. This sock puppet is made of soft luxurious cashmere and will deliver comfort and style to the user and "friends" across the globe.' It's not yet the HAL of 2001, but how long before can read lips!?" 'Look this system is going to rev 80.22.6 from rev 80.22.5 and it has the same name as something ominous I have seen in a movie!' I mean seriously. This summary is just silly.

Thanks for the conflict /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18299712)

Ah damn! We don't really want a beowulf cluster of these...

Re:Thanks for the conflict /. (3, Funny)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300028)

Do we want it running Linux?

Re:Thanks for the conflict /. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300634)

No, you want it to run Windows. When it starts getting self-aware, it will just crash. And if not, you'll be glad for it to have enough security holes to fight it.

Re:Thanks for the conflict /. (1)

jb.cancer (905806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300884)

No, then it'll be difficult to stop. We'll run on Vista instead, so it wudn't get time to be self-aware after dealing with patches n' updates..

Did it strike anyone else (5, Funny)

aztektum (170569) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299716)

That August 4th, 2007 is ten years from the date the movies specified? Coincidence. Or did the time travel just screw up everyone's memories?

If you'll excuse me, I have a bunker in my backyard to finish.

Skynet already exists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18299776)

AT&T used to have a skynet. Announced and then about 6 months later renamed.

Back in the 1980's.

Self Aware (4, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299796)

but how long before it becomes self aware?

Probably when it starts posting insightful comments on Slashdot.

It'll start posting on Digg first but... well, you know...

Re:Self Aware (2, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300046)

but how long before it becomes self aware?

Probably when it starts posting insightful comments on Slashdot.

Oh, in that case, we're perfectly safe.

No Guns = Dull Terminator Film (3, Interesting)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299854)

It would be a bit of a dull film since there are really no guns in the UK. You can't want into a shop and buy some and most police don't carry them. It would be down to fist fights or knife fights.

Re:No Guns = Dull Terminator Film (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299996)

There are a shitload of guns in the UK. They're just not all in private ownership. To own a gun in the UK, you have to show why you need one - the right is not automatic (no pun intended), but as long as you can demonstrate a good reason, and demonstrate your firearms will be stored in locked cabinets, you can have rifles/shotguns/etc. Just no handguns. The cops and armed forces have those.

Re:No Guns = Dull Terminator Film (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18300050)

Correction - the citizens that obey the law don't have guns. The criminals that want them, have them. Anyways, the cyborgs won't want guns - it's either stabbing instruments fashioned from themselves or laser weapons.

Re:No Guns = Dull Terminator Film (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18300188)

As the quote from 'Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' goes:

Knives, fuck off shiny ones [...] Guns for show, knives for a pro.

Re:No Guns = Dull Terminator Film (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18300534)

Unless you are black.

not necessarily (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18300876)

The climactic final fight in Terminator II is actually a "fist" fight with no guns..

Secure... (3, Informative)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299888)

Forget the stupid terminator reference to something that's been around a lot longer than the Terminator series. I want to know how long before the 'secure' transmissions are decrypted by some black-hat hackers in North Korea and one time pads become a requirement. Also I hope they've cooked up some excellent misinformation to sift into the normal transmissions.

Anyone care to guess what kind of encryption they'll be using? Something they cooked up for the job or something that's been out a while? I'm not a cryptographer. I am curious though, what kind of digital encryption is out there that's considered unbreakable?

TLF

Re:Secure... (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300496)

Well, given that this is the Brits, who discovered (overnight, by a single person [wikipedia.org] ) RSA encryption five years before RSA, I'm sure they will have something sufficiently robust and obscure.

Re:Secure... (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300614)

I want to know how long before the 'secure' transmissions are decrypted by some black-hat hackers in North Korea and one time pads become a requirement.
Like all modern military encrypted communications systems, keys are rotated on a regular basis, so the answer to the above is pretty much "never".

Re:Secure... (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300786)

Ok so even though they're rotated on a regular basis... If you know exactly what sort of encryption is used it will still take a long time to crack it?

So what happens when QC becomes available to the public. Yesterday's article about the D-wave 16qbit computer sparked my interest in this stuff. I mean, far as I know it can only attain 'quadratic' speedup, as opposed to exponential. And it can't solve NP-complete problems.

So, how does this relate to today's cryptography. And is it possible to do 'quantum cryptography'?

Just questions, that's all I really have anymore,

TLF

lol (1)

Video Cat (1074106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299944)

Funny, really when the world comes to an end I don't think it will be robots. It will be commercials. I'm serious.

Re:lol (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#18300652)

Funny, really when the world comes to an end I don't think it will be robots. It will be commercials. I'm serious.
But it will be commercials for robots!

UK Government Software project? No chance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18300232)

Look, it's a Government software project. In our future Skynet 12 was outsourced to EDS and was a multi million pound write off, sentience was not achieved.

Humanity was actually destroyed by a design error in the launch software due to a document created by a Sub-Regional Outsource Interface Committee working on Skynet 14, which launched 12 years late and went eight times over budget.
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