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Weekend Diversion: SkyNet Cometh?

June 14, 2008 on 10:48 am | In Politics, Random Stuff |

The BBC is one of my favorite news sources. Typically, that is. I clicked on the Science/Nature section, and what comes up?

Final SkyNet Satellite Launched

Holy moly, are you serious, Britain? You have a military satellite system named SkyNET? Not only that, it gets worse. Here are some things that the satellite system does, taken directly from the article (my emphasis in bold):

  • Skynet 5 overhauls satellite communications for UK forces.
  • The largely autonomous satellites talk to two UK ground stations.
  • New battlefield networks, such as Cormorant, feed into the system.
  • The system gives near-global coverage, providing 2.5 times the capacity afforded by the previous system.

You’re telling me that we have a global military communications system that coordinates between the British Army, Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force, that’s largely autonomous, and that receives all the information there is about battlefield networks. There’s one part I’m still waiting to hear:

My CPU is a neural-net processor; a learning computer.

But it looks like we’re only one step away from that. Almost everything is automated. For instance, here’s what the article said is already in place:

This extra capability can already be seen in Afghanistan, where the RAF is using a robot surveillance plane called Reaper to hunt down Taleban forces. Although flying in the skies over Asia, Reaper is actually controlled by RAF personnel sitting in the US behind a computer screen. Commands are sent over Skynet 5’s high-bandwidth connections, directing the robot’s every move. This includes firing missiles at enemy targets.

My first thought was to damn Cyberdyne Systems. But then I read the article, and realized we were fine. It isn’t Cyberdyne Systems that built SkyNet. It was a private company called Paradigm Secure Communications. They were given a 2.5 billion pound contract (~$5,000,000,000) to design and manufacture these three satellites.

Surely, with that amount of money, power, and military equipment in play, nothing will go wrong with this. Nothing could possibly go wrong. Everything is under control, everything is …


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  1. Sounds like good material for an episode of MST3K!

    Comment by Knothead — June 14, 2008 #

  2. Or for an episode of the cancelled Sarah Connor Chronicles. I read this and got it in my head, and had to pull Terminator off the DVD shelf today…

    Comment by ethan — June 14, 2008 #

  3. “Come with me if you want to live.”

    I am officially frightenend and yet excited that perhaps I will be randomly killed by an android.

    Comment by Lucas — June 15, 2008 #

  4. hola me llamo pedroqisiera saber si en verdad existe skynet ha yo soy de peru

    Comment by pedro — April 7, 2010 #

  5. hola me llamo pedro quisiera saber si en verdad existe skynet ha yo soy de peru

    Comment by pedro — April 7, 2010 #

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