A new Centre for the Study of Existential Risk has been opened at Cambridge University by the Astronomer Royal, Lord Rees, who has previously written at length on threats posed to mankind and the rest of the world in his book Our Final Century which he wrote in 2003 The “usual suspects” include nuclear war, an asteroid hitting the Earth, and biological risks e.g. naturally occuring or man-made pandemic diseases. There is one other to add to these three horsemen of hte apocolypse: artificial intelligence which can control war machines and robots.
Already, in this era of computer-controlled military hardware such as UAV drones and missile launches, the weapons for such a take-over exist. Likewise, with networked facial recognition CCTV and GPS tracking systems, computers now have the means to track and hunt down their enemies. All that is needed now is the conscious will. However, with experiments into artificial intelligence coming on leaps and bounds, it is predicted that soon machines will have a conscious soul. While robots as portrayed in space science fiction films, can be happy and helpful types such as R2-D2, C3-PO, etc. others have famously had more malevolent plans for mankind e.g. the Terminator robot and his Skynet artificial intelligence controller.
The tabloid press, have, of course, dubbed the new centre, the Centre for “Terminator Studies”. Skynet is, by chance, also the name of the UK Ministry of Defence’s satellite communication system.