Sunday, March 09, 2008

Postponing Judgement Day - Terminator style

The advent of the new chapter in the Terminator saga, The Sarah Connor Chronicles had prompted someone to ask me the other day, just exactly when is Judgement Day, the burning of the world to come when the computer Skynet becomes self-aware, declares war on mankind and launches the world's nuclear arsenals to protect itself.

I know that it had been postponed a few times as movie time caught up with real time, in an effort to keep the movie series current. Conveniently, the characters in each movie and the series also spend a lot of time trying to postpone Judgement Day as well, typically by killing the people or the machines that would be the source of Skynet. In fact postponing Judgement Day is the theme of franchise. Let's see how they do:

In Terminator there is no mention of the actual date of Judgement Day, just that there is one. That's too bad, it might have answered some questions. More importantly Kyle Reese goes back in time to protect Sarah Connor, mother of the future hero John Connor. Conveniently Kyle impregnates Sarah with John.

In Terminator 2: Judgement Day the good terminator tells Sarah Connor that Skynet went online on August 4, 1997, learns at an exponential rate and becomes aware at 2:14am on August 29,1997 and then launches a nuclear war to prevent humans from tuning it off. The rest of the movie has them trying to kill the scientist at Cyberdyne that creates the technology for Skynet in the first place. That technology came from the leftover chip from the terminator from the first movie. Who made Skynet? Skynet made Skynet.

In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines it appears that the success of the previous movie has postponed Judgement Day 7 years to July 4, 2004. The same day that Skynet is hooked up to the net is the day it starts the war. It seems that Singularity happens.

The new TV series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is supposed to happen in a parallel universe to the movies, but also has a postponed Judgement Day from the third movie. It's Judgement day is set at April 21, 2011, two days after Skynet goes online. Of course that whole series is about preventing that and fighting the multiple time traveling robots sent by Skynet with some help from time traveling humans sent by future John Connor. In the series the Connor family with a helpful Terminator jump over Sarah's death and the previous version of Judgement Day. Maybe John caused that 2004 one but didn't when he skipped it in the series.

I suspect that the date of Judgement Day has more to do with the release date of the movies or series that with any preventative activity on the part of Sarah Connor. A graph shows Judgement Day receding away from the present with a close call of only a year away for T3: Rise of the Machines on 2003. I have helpfully added a line representing the asymptote of Judgement Day occurring on the release date of the movie or series. We seem to have gained a three year head start with the series. Let's see how long they can keep it up.

The pictures are from the recent series of Craftsman ads which built human anatomy from Craftsman products. The results look like Terminators to me. Perhaps Craftsman is building Skynet and the Terminators? Sarah Connor better get over there and stop them!

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