The T-X might be one of the most advanced Terminator models Skynet has ever built, but a modern-day technological feature provided a crucial element in its mission to eliminate the John Connor-led Resistance.
The comic tie-in issues Terminator 3 #3-#4 by Miles Gunter, Mike Hawthorne, Rick Remender, Giulia Brusco, Richard Starkings, and Jimmy Bentancourt retell the story depicted in the 2003 film Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines, wherein Skynet sends its most efficient killing machine to the past to target John Connor’s future friends and allies. However, in the comic book all the scenes in which the T-X is present are told from the perspective of a Terminator. In fact, the only dialog uttered is what the T-X would have likely heard or observed from its own vantage point.
T-X: Why Use Advanced Tech When Simpler Options Are Available
There are a number of subtle reveals that provide crucial context. In fact, these reveals explain how a mech from over 30 years in the future could so easily navigate Los Angeles circa 1997. In one of the most revealing moments, readers see that the T-X, when approached by or engaged in conversation with a human, uses dialogue prompts in the style of Google’s “Smart Compose” feature. This tool offers her common phrases that suit the context of her situation. Hardcore fans will remember this from the very first The Terminator movie, when the T-800 uses the same tech to dismiss someone asking about his rotting flesh-covering. It turns out, this modern-day tech is so effective, Skynet includes it in everything from the basic T-800 to the super-advanced T-X.
For a rare model on such an essential mission, Skynet would surely have installed a better option for communicating with humans if it found something more effective. Indeed, it’s rather humorous that such an advanced piece of AI and robotics has to resort to such a basic technology. On the other hand, it also suggests that perhaps Skynet’s use of Terminators might be overkill. Maybe advanced machines aren’t necessary when there are simpler technologies that might do the job better – or at least just as effectively – as a T-X.
The Model T-X Stands On The Shoulders Of Giants
Though the comic tie-in was published in 2003, its ideas are particularly timely in a contemporary world where AI in general – and generative AI in particular – is producing significant fears about the danger of a technology that “learns” through its communication with humans. The T-X’s means of responding to human questions does not seem much different from how one now interacts with an AI chatbot. The conceit is that the feature involves a massive-yet-speedy search of data that the T-X has access to, which can then generate a plausible answer to the human’s words.
But what the comic book shows is how advanced technology can use commonly-available technology to ultimately harm humanity. Moreover, it shows how Skynet and its Terminators would never be possible without the development and spread of simpler technologies that slowly get better with each iteration. These are two key premises of the Terminator franchise that are adeptly summarized in a few comic panels.