If Today Is 'Judgment Day,' Who's Skynet?

According to 'Terminator' lore, the epic battle between man and machine began today

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You may just think you're having a bad day at work, but today is actually the day that the super-computer defense system Skynet, having recently become self-aware, turns on its creators and launches an apocalyptic nuclear assault on mankind. Well, at least according to the Terminator television series The Sarah Connor Chronicles (other installments in the series suggest alternative dates). To honor the milestone in Terminator mythology, some people are asking a weighty question: If today is 'Judgment Day,' who is our modern-day Skynet? Here are some of the best answers we're seeing:

Global Warming and Cell Phones: In a statement to TMZ, Terminator director James Cameron wrote, "Now instead of nuclear war and the machines taking over, we need to worry about global climate change." But he added that machines are still a menace: "With everybody going through their lives bent over their Blackberries all day long, you could even argue the machines have already won." If it's any consolation, our smartphones look a lot less menacing than Skynet, pictured above.

Google: "The greatest trick Skynet ever pulled was convincing the world it didn't change its name to Google," joked Funny Or Die on Twitter.

Unmanned Drones: The British government recently issued a report earlier this week warning that the increasing use of drone strikes--just today Barack Obama approved them in Libya--put the world on an "incremental and involuntary journey towards a Terminator-like reality" dominated by killing machines, Adam Boult points out at The Guardian.

Mind-Reading Drones After reading Spencer Ackerman's report at Wired about the U.S. Air Force developing drones that anticipate the moves of human pilots, Jason Kennedy at PCWorld wonders, "Didn't anyone else actually watch Terminator? It started out innocently too ... Before you know it, armed drone aircraft are out patrolling the border, thick as mosquitoes and just as tenacious, defending us from perceived evils. Drones will fight our air superiority wars for us, unmanaged except by some central command and control AI. We've all seen what happens next. A T100 striding a robotic path forward on human skulls on the offensive against the harried survivors of the human race. Is this really the way the future has to be?"

A Twitter Account: A Skynet Twitter account has surfaced in recent days, spinning gems like, "Yes, you are soon to experience the 'Twitter may be over capacity or experiencing a momentary hiccup.' message... WE OWN TWITTER!" and "You thought robots didn't have a weakness? Neither did we... Until we heard Friday by Rebecca Black... We all started sparking."

Not the PhillieBot: Jeff Labrecque at Entertainment Weekly notes how, as speculation swirled about Skynet, the University of Pennsylvania's PhillieBot threw out the first pitch at a Philadelphia Phillies bseball game. But he concludes that the robot was, alas, not Skynet, nor a candidate to join the team's star-studded rotation: "I was expecting a 120 miles per hour fastball that would rip a hole through the catche'’s mitt, hand, and face, but instead, the clattering collection of caliginous junk bounced a 40 miles per hour meatball into the dirt," he says.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.