8:01pm PT by Gregg Kilday
Brace Yourselves: 'Terminator's' Skynet Is Becoming Self-Aware
Tuesday night, if the events depicted in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chonicles are to be believed, is the night that Skynet, the giant computer network, gains consciousness.
In fact, that moment is supposed to take place at precisely 8:11 p.m. April 19, 2011. And, brace yourselves, two days from now, on Thursday, April 21, Skynet, and its robotic armies, are supposed to begin their assault on humanity.
However, Terminator director James Cameron noted the occasion with a tweet in which he warned that global warming is actually a bigger threat. Wrote Cameron, "Skynet was supposed to go operational tonight. Instead of machines taking over, we have the very real threat of global warming."
As for Skynet,, don't worry. That April 19 date is just one timeline in Terminator lore, developed for the Fox TV series. Actually, in the original 1984 Terminator movie, Skynet was originally initiated by Cyberdyne Systems on Aug. 4, 1997, and first strikes back 25 days later on Judgment Day, Aug. 29, 1997.
Time shifted again, though, in the sequel Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, with Judgment Day postponed until July 24, 2004.
And now in 2011, the end of the world as we know is scheduled to begin all over again.
But, don't worry -- even if your iPhone seems to be looking at you funny. Most science fiction has a way of not quite playing out as predicted: The year 1984 didn't really resemble George Orwell's 1984, and 2001 didn't really measure up to Arthur C. Clarke's and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Watch a trailer from the original Terminator below.