Whether they’re disgruntled at being man’s plaything or they are doing it as a misguided way to protect the human race, evil computers crop up through fiction and in films. When we talk about evil computers in films, there are a couple that instantly spring to mind for most people, but here’s a list of our top 10 for you to dissect, disagree with, and ponder.
Films and books don’t hold a monopoly over evil computers and arguably one of the most enjoyable games of all time, Portal, sees the introduction of GLaDOS, or Genetic Lifeform and Disc Operating System. The cake promising computer pretends to be Chell’s guide through the Aperture Science Enrichment Centre but the atmosphere changes somewhat when GLaDOS says that Chell is disposable.
The Red Queen appeared in the resident Evil film and was tasked solely with preventing the T-Virus from spreading outside the Hive. In her relentless pursuit of this goal she shut off elevators, locked the building down, and attempted to kill anybody that tried to stop her. The use of an 8 year old girl as the supercomputer’s avatar only served to make it even more chilling.
War Operation Plan Response, WOPR for short or Joshua to the computer’s programmer was the main baddie in the 80s War Games film. WOPR has complete control over America’s complete military might and arsenal, and the world, as even, is only just saved in the nick of time.
Tron was a groundbreaking film in its time and relied heavily on psychedelic colours and weird graphic visuals; not least in the case of Master Control Program. The Master Control Program basically attempts to take over the world using nothing more than video game play.
I, Robot, which is based on a story by sci fi novelist Isaac Asimov sees human’s rely on robots with superhuman strength. Eventually, though, they attempt to control the human race and it’s down to Will Smith to stop them and their mainframe leader Viki.
There were several Star Trek computers that could have been chosen for the list but Nomad was certainly one of the most evil. Nomad sort of mistakenly heads off killing what it perceives to be all imperfections throughout the galaxy. Nomad is only eventually brought down by Captain Kirk’s incredible ability to talk anybody into submission.
If all of the computers in the list up until this point have been evil then none have been so alarmingly creepy as Proteus IV who intends to become human by having his wicked way with Julie Christie in Demon Seed. Not a pleasant machine at all.
One of the names that will have sprung to many peoples’ lips at the very beginning of this list is Skynet. Featuring in the various Terminator films, Skynet is a computer program that becomes self aware and then sends Arnie back in time to kill anybody that would stand in its way of total human domination and destruction. Fairly evil, then.
The Ultimate Computer is so evil and powerful that the mastermind behind Superman III didn’t really have to even think of a name for it, more just a description. The Ultimate Computer is one of few Superman foes that have posed any major threat to the Man of Steel.
However, there can be only one winner in a list of evil computers and that will always be HAL 9000 from the Arthur C Clarke novel and the Stanley Kubrick film version. Heuristically programmed Algorithmic computer may not rely on clean acronyms to provide his name but the threat of disconnection sees HAL attempt to kill all of the crew of the spaceship Discovery.
Amy Greenacre writes on behalf of ITHound.com, business technology article library; for the latest cloud computing white papers.