We have all wondered which of the many robot takeover films would be the most likely to become reality, so to save you the trouble, we’ve analyzed a few for you.
Religious allegories aside, the main component of this situation is humans’ ability to create robots that are capable of intelligence and emotions, and moreover these machines having a survival instinct. The ability of the machines to think for themselves is a key component in this future rebellion scenario, and while our advancement in robotics technology has been increasing leaps and bounds, it is nowhere near where it needs to be to mirror the struggle and discrimination the robots faced to spark a rebellion as depicted in the Matrix canon*.
That being said though, the program Agent Smith does provide an interesting anomaly,in that he rebels against the machines’ mission because he becomes so focused on his hatred for Neo (or when Neo “removed” him, his functionality got re-programmed and the resulting glitch was revenge). This part of the story implies that a glitch or a virus in the technology could bring something down, which assuming the machines were using technology originally developed by humans, as technically they would have to be since the machines were themselves developed by humans, this would mean a virus could wipe out an entire computer system that humans (i.e. the Matrix) depend on. Which Agent Smith totally did: he was severed from the machine consciousness and he infected literally all humans in the Matrix with his virus, thereby taking over everyone again and enslaving them. He took over humanity and defeated them a second time on his own, completely separate from the machines. So really, it’s two rebellions in one! Now if only the machines would have been spiteful enough to just go down with humans, the end of the series would have actually been super interesting, instead of the “we-totally-saw-this-coming” martyrdom ending.
Likelihood of this scenario happening: 2/10
*note: This article takes into account plot arcs and events of the Animatrix and Enter the Matrix, as they are considered to be canon by the Wachowskis.
A conspiracy reveals itself when the founder and creator of the robot industry as the world knows it appears to commit suicide, and Detective Spooner is notified. This begins a trail of clues left by the founder, Lanning, which eventually reveal the AI program he created, VIKI, is trying to regulate and take over the humans by controlling the new robots through the uplink in the company’s giant tower.
Ignoring the idea that the uplink would not have already been a thing in our world, since we have refrigerators that are internet capable now, this scenario wouldn’t be entirely out of range. The fact is, we already have machines and technology that are connected together through links—without it, you wouldn’t be reading this article right now. Anything that gets the internet or has a signal is connected to satellites from all over the world, so if one central program or person went rogue, so to speak, they could pretty easily shut everyone out and control these things. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The only part of this scenario missing is the fact that we don’t have robot slaves to do our bidding, and that technology is still pretty far away, at least to the scale they have in the movie. And while the robots themselves technically do not have intelligence of their own, as they are very much attached to their strict programming, the fact is Lanning wanted robots to eventually become sentient beings, even going so far as to create one himself who knew the three laws but could break them. That is definitely a direction we are moving in, attempting to create intelligent robot life. And given that people such as Stephen Hawking have all warned against AI and humans playing with robot intelligence, this may be something to potentially worry about in the future. Or maybe like in this movie, the worse-case scenario is the robots will just think they are our parents and want to protect us from ourselves.
Likelihood of this scenario happening: 3/10
While the origin story of Skynet’s self-awareness and takeover changes throughout the franchise, the overall theme is the same: that Skynet wants to just live in its own lonely king on the mountain scenario, never having to deal with humans again. That being said, this scenario relies on Skynet being plugged into everything and having access to it, which we conveniently do in this day and age. Everything is even more connected now than it was when the franchise was starting—now we can can monitor everything from emails, forum postings, what you google, where and when you access things from your phone—and our military defense orchestrates their operations through computers on a network.
Of all the scenarios, this one is by far the most likely to happen not just because it doesn’t require individual sentient robots to group together and rebel, but mainly because of the ‘defense network connecting to everything’ part. It takes one program going rogue and just like that, humanity is done for. And while the first argument against this may be ‘Skynet never evolved past military defense,’ as it was their primary purpose, they totally did. Skynet went on to develop more robotic technology in the future and create a robot army, complete with the failsafe of time travel technology as a fallback in case the unthinkable happens and the humans are on the verge of winning. Technically they could have waited it out a bit longer and had the humans build all their robots for them, but really there is no time like the present to get going on world domination. Currently the military uses drones, similar to Terminator’s HK-Drones or HK-Aerials, that do our dirty work for us. At the moment they are piloted by humans, but drones are potentially capable of operating autonomously with a given mission, completely independent from human pilots. Whether it’s from a laptop supercomputer, it’s basic programming: plug in the commands, and boom, they will get it done. It would not be too far off the mark to say that a military defense program like Skynet could become self-aware right now and take control of these drones and use them for its own benefit, namely wiping out humanity. There would be nothing we could do about it before they were in the air destroying everything. Oh god, it’s probably reading this right now. It knows that I know its plans!
Likelihood of this scenario happening: 9/10
While the Transformers themselves are not really robots oppressed by humans who rise up, the Decepticons’ goal is to take over the world and awaken an army using the Allspark—a device that can create life out of everyday household items like your microwave or a vending machine—and turn them into crazy raging murder machines. That makes this party train (which is probably a transformer) pretty likely if the Allspark suddenly lit up life into all the machines on earth.
But of course the key component of this is an alien race of robots descend on Earth with an object that can create life out of machines. And while there are numerous reasons why alien life is probably not going to make an appearance anytime soon, I think the chances of it being robotic on top of that are pretty slim.
Likelihood of this scenario happening: 0/10
Do you agree with our take on the robot-pocalypse (Robocalypse?) Let us know in the comments below.