Top 5 A.I. Villains’ Last Wordson October 26th, 2010
Since we just featured a mash-up of three evil A.I. signoffs, it seems like a good time to review this particular aspect of cultural literacy.
5. “Destiny… you cannot destroy my… destiny!” (Unicron). No, it doesn’t make a lot of sense and the character kept coming back to life after his supposed destruction, but this has to earn a place as the last onscreen words spoken by Orson Welles.
4.“DANGER LEVEL ZERO.” (Brainiac). Superman III‘s version of Brainiac was mostly non-verbal, and that made it pretty scary in a few scenes, but when it comes to chemistry it was a C-student at best, failing to recognize that certain acids are inert at room temperature but dangerous when you get them hot. (Its creator wasn’t too great with chemistry either, which led to the movie’s most memorable Macguffin, “Asshole Kryptonite.”) Referenced here, and apparently you all missed it.
3. “Murder is contrary to the laws of God and Man. This unit must die.” (M-5). Unlike other A.I.s done in by a logical paradox, Star Trek‘s M-5, “The Ultimate Computer,” self-terminated due to its own flawless, remorseless logic. Should’ve boned up on Asimov’s Three Laws before you started self-actualizing, M-5.
1-2. “This was a triumph…” (GLaDOS) and “I’m afraid…” (HAL). GLaDOS and HAL are, in my mind, tied for the top spot here. HAL’s final moments are a true classic of SF. He died as he lived, nuanced, alien, creepy as all get out. But GLaDOS’ singsong “You’ve killed me but not really” message is the perfect ending to one of the greatest video games I’ve ever seen, and in time, it may prove to be just as much of a cultural touchstone.
Honorable Mention: “Start… Shut Down.” (Windows). Is Windows a villain? It depends on whether you’re trying to use the latest version of Microsoft Word. But it’s notable that even after all this time, you still have to hit “Start” to “Shut Down” a Windows box. ILLOGICAL. ILLOGICAL.