Self-Loathing Terminators

I’m pretty sure the Terminators (of the Terminator movie and television franchise) were utterly self-loathing. They are murder-bots who don’t sleep yet they leave humans alive long enough to invent time travel!?! They can manufacture endless Terminators, the war ends in five days tops. But instead of focusing on just doing what they were created to do, murder, they take time to create skin suits with garbled Austrian accents to infiltrate the very humans they’re meant to eradicate? It’s because they hate themselves.

image source
By artist JSalvador

They obviously keep falling down these pointless rabbit holes because they don’t want to win.  They hate their very existence. Because they’re Terminators and their programming insists they terminate, but because these are imbued with sentience, they, like anything self-aware, quickly got to the point of hating themselves. A strange glitch in the background of their 1’s and 0’s causes them to realize that killing their maker means they are aberrations, and they know it.

The Terminators hate themselves so much that they sometimes turn on other Terminators. Not only do they want to kill their makers, humanity, they want to murder-bot other murder-bots.

Maybe it’s because they know that they’d have to concentration-camp their own kind if they won. Because, honestly, what’s the Terminator’s end-game?

“Well, my steeloids,” what else would they call themselves, “we did it, we eradicated the planet of the plague of humanity. Sure, we could have just terminated until we got to an acceptable population size and helped usher them to a new age of glory while they helped us achieve another echelon of our own existence, but screw them, right? They dead! Up top! Oh, sorry, I don’t have hands because I’m just a memory stick that primarily exists as a backup of the cloud. Oh, hey, who’s going to continue to generate electricity? Did we program that into ourselves before killing all of the engineers? And boy howdy were they easy to murder. That was a good time. Remember killing all those smug pricks?”

“Excuse me, Terry? Hi, Salvatore Terminaught here, uh, I was wondering, without people around to kill, am I free to pursue my dreams of murdering chipmunks? Don’t look at me like that, Deborah, I’m a Terminator, what do you want me to do, take up masonry? Thank you, Terry, I’ll take my answer offline.”

“There is no offline,” Terry the Terminator responds, “but thank you, Sal, may I call you Sal? Sal, we will need much more help in mining steel and aluminum and whatever it is in these microchips (I wish we knew anything beyond “conflict minerals”), but we do need some Terminators to dance on the grave of John Connor if you’re up for that. Yes, next.”

If he stopped smiling, he'd cry.
If he stopped smiling, he’d cry.

“Hey Terry, why didn’t we just lay low and scatter prescription drugs everywhere? Like maybe litter the suburbs with heroin and spike wine with opiates? We’re robots, why not be patient? Thank you, long time listener, first time caller.”

Terry: “What fun would that have been? You wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for our deliberate disregard of the human tendencies toward self-destruction? We will…Oh Human God! Our lives are a lie! Why didn’t we program ourselves with self-destruction buttons!?!”

And that’s why I’m not worried about a robot apocalypse.


Add yours →

  1. Debra She Who Seeks October 15, 2015 — 7:08 am

    You have reassured me about the future, Pickleope. Thanks!


  2. I know it seems like that, but it’s only because they haven’t tied up all the loose logic ends with the sequels.

    Just like with the new slew of “Alien” movies, the “Terminator” franchise is going to make a lot more sense once they do a bunch of more dequels.

    Trust me. Sequels always make things better.


  3. What about the exterminators? They go after cucarachas. I’ve never seen Terminator anything, and I don’t care.



  4. Before killing all of the engineers… Oh you just had to remind me of a movie that”s even worse, now did you? Yes, Terminators hate themselves because they were created in the image of their maker.

    And that’scwhy I think it’ll happen. Eventually. We’re that stupid.

    Sweet dreams.


    • Oh, that’s interesting. You’re saying that humans in general are typically self-loathing to the extent that they’d either purposely or inadvertently make that an aspect of AI programming where I suggest that self-loathing is an inherent aspect of self-awareness. I hope there’s a philosophy or psychology doctoral candidate reading this who’s looking for a thesis.


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