Cool or Scary? 7 Defense Industry Innovations That Remind Us of Skynet

If you had any doubt that Skynet was not among us, perhaps this list could change your mind.
Donovan Alexander

Reality imitating art? Or art imitating reality? Maybe you saw it coming from a mile away but when discussing the exponential rise in artificial intelligence technologies alongside the consistent development of modern warfare, you cannot help but mention Terminator’s Skynet.

There have been numerous films discussing the perils of technology and the potential threats that could emerge if that technology goes unchecked. Yet, James Cameron’s Terminator seems to be the ultimate potential self-fulfilling prophecy.      

And, if you are worried about things like Artificial Intelligence, you are not alone. Thought leaders and tech giants like Elon Musk and Bill Gates have blatantly expressed their fears towards these technologies.


As mentioned by Stephen Hawking, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race….It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded.” 

Today, we are going to explore some of the technologies currently in development or already in use across the realm of the military that take full advantage of the host of tools in this modern age; things that would be amazing if they were not so damn terrifying.

Here are some military technologies that remind us that we are closer to a Skynet apocalypse than you might think.

Skyborg- AI Jets & Drones

Cool or Scary? 7 Defense Industry Innovations That Remind Us of Skynet
Source: Air Force

You definitely would not want any rogue Skynet system getting there hands on this technology, especially Skynet. Recently the United States Air Force announced an Artificial Intelligence program called Skyborg. The program plans on introducing autonomously flying drones and eventually fighter jets in the coming years.


Though we are years away from super intelligence, the idea of creating an AI fighter jet that could eventually be controlled by superintelligent AI is terrifying. Good luck trying to outrun a jet with John Connor.

The Active Denial System

Though the defense industry designed this to not be completely lethal, this weapon is not something you want to be near when it goes off. The Active Denial System transmits an invisible electromagnetic radiation beam that creates a burning sensation on people’s skin.

Dubbed the “goodbye effect” or “heat ray”, the system can heat up the water molecules on a person’s skin to 130 degrees Fahrenheit from a distance of 500 yards easily.

Quantum Stealth

Cool or Scary? 7 Defense Industry Innovations That Remind Us of Skynet
Source: Hyper Stealth

Quantum Stealth either looks like something out of the Harry Potter Franchise or something out of the Predator series, depending on your cynicism. The defense industry cranks out some amazing technology, and Quantum Stealth is no exception. This technology can camouflage people by bending light around the object it is hiding.

If you always wanted an invisibility cloak here is your chance. Aside from AI robots running faster than you and hunting you with jets, you now have to worry about them cloaking themselves completely. Welcome to the Hunger Games.   

AI Bullets

Cool or Scary? 7 Defense Industry Innovations That Remind Us of Skynet
Source: DARPA

DARPA’s EXACTO defense program’s technology is something that you do not want any Skynet AI robot to get ahold of any time soon. As implied in its name the EXACTO program is dedicated to creating a new level of precise bullets by making them “smart”.

Cool or Scary? 7 Defense Industry Innovations That Remind Us of Skynet
Source: DARPA

These smart bullets would be able to counter environmental effects such as crosswinds and air density, directing its own path to the perfect headshot.  


Cool or Scary? 7 Defense Industry Innovations That Remind Us of Skynet
Source: Wikipedia/PHASR

PHASR resembles something you might unlock while going on an extended killstreak in Halo. The massive gun developed by the U.S. Department of Defense is not designed to disorient enemies but rather stun enemies.

The laser lights, which operate at alternating wavelengths, serve to disorient people who look at them, rendering them unable to stand let alone fight.

Weaponizing the Human Brain

In the not so distant future, you could be operating objects with just your brain, or more specifically your thoughts. Though it sounds like something that is way too futuristic, the Chinese Military is already testing brain-controlled robots for the purpose of creating a new breed of soldiers.

The Railgun

Cool or Scary? 7 Defense Industry Innovations That Remind Us of Skynet
Source: U.S. Navy News

If you ever got your hands on a type of mech robot video game, you probably enjoyed taking out an opponent with your railgun. A deadly weapon, different parts of the defense industry are currently developing an electromagnetic railgun that can fire a projectile faster than the speed of sound, more specifically at Mach 8 or 5,000 miles per hour.

Aside from the military use, the railgun is so powerful it could have the potential to launch a spaceship directly into orbit.

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