Self Awareness of SkyNet #AtoZChallenge

As science fiction fans well know, sometimes the villain is not a person, or even an identifiable species.  Often evil is a faceless, soulless corporation, bent on intergalactic market domination.

Skynet is the real bad guy in the Terminator.  Not a giant faceless corporation, although it was created by one.  Rather, Skynet evolves from being an AI programmed to manage a global military to a self-aware entity that can access every computer on the planet and uses that connectivity to wipe out humanity--reprogramming servers, drones, robots.


In the original Terminator series, Skynet is a presence, that uses the terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) as its instrument and programs it to kill Sarah Connor and her son.

In the newest manifestation, Terminator Genesys, the story changes a bit.  Key to the change is the way Skynet itself alters.  Its intelligence takes human form in the body of a terminator (Matt Smith). Now Skynet goes from a conceptual evil to a real physical presence we can see, taste, smell and touch.

Maybe we need our villains to be human in appearance.  Maybe that's the only way we can believe they've been truly destroyed.  A corporation or an AI interconnected to all things, perhaps, can keep being resurrected again and again.

What do you think?  Do villains need to be human or humanoid?

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10 Responses

  1. Interesting thought. I guess there is something more insidious, more scary, about a villain that we can't see. With a human or humanoid, it's easier to discern its weaknesses.
    • Shari E
      Its perhaps even easier to be fooled by a human, who knows how to appeal to our own flawed self.
  2. The unknown or untouchable bad guy raises the stakes for sure. <a>A Piece of Uganda</a>
    • Shari E
      And raising stakes is one of a writer's best tools. Still, its a hard choice.
  3. I prefer human antagonists--or at least antagonists with some human characteristics. It's hard to relate to faceless, soulless machinery.
    • Shari E
      I like humans because you can retain a spot of hope, even miniscule, that redemption could be found. The soulless machine seems unsalvageable.
  4. I like villains who aren't always a person you can touch and see. Makes it scarier in my opinion. ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~ <a href="" rel="nofollow">Story Dam</a> <a href="" rel="nofollow">Patricia Lynne, Indie Author</a>
    • Shari E
      It does, but it also makes me feel more vulnerable.
  5. I think non-human bad guys can be scarier because with humans you've got a vague idea of what they might do whereas a computer can calculate all possible outcomes quicker than you can come up with one, which would make bringing them down very difficult! Cait @ <a href="" rel="nofollow">Click's Clan</a>
    • Shari E
      Computers are faster but logical, humans not always. Perhaps here its an advantage.

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