10 Evil Computers Bent on World Domination
Everyone is afraid of something. A lot of people are afraid of clowns, or spiders, or bears, or spending a long weekend with their mother-in-law. But, in this day and age, some very unfortunate people are afraid of computers. And with good reason — there are a lot of creepy evil computers from pop culture.
Logizomechanophobia is the rather long name for a fear of computers. (We can discuss a fear of ridiculously long words later.) Compared to some phobias, it’s probably relatively new in the fear spectrum, but it’s more common than we think and can stem from a past traumatic experience or some genetic predisposition for anxiety. Or from the fear that computers could suddenly achieve sentience and enslave us all. Here are 10 evil computers that make us nervous every time we boot up our laptop.
1. Hal 9000 from ’2001: A Space Odyssey’
It doesn’t get much more frightening than the hostile takeover executed by the calm-voiced Hal and his subsequent pleas as his memory is being erased. (It also ruined the name Dave forever.) If this doesn’t cause you to break into a cold sweat, you were probably heavily, uh, sedated while watching this Stanley Kubrick classic.
2. Proteus IV from ‘Demon Seed’
Another case of artificial intelligence gone bad, this computer terrorizes the estranged wife of its creator and then forcibly impregnates her so his offspring can live among men as a human. (Yes, computers will even steal your wife.) You just can’t win against an angry computer that knows how to keep you on lock down.
3. The ENCOM 511 from ‘Tron’
The trailer says it all, “Soon, the ultimate tool will become the ultimate enemy.” If it can happen to Jeff Bridges, it can happen to you. “The Dude” got sucked into a video game. Maybe it was partially his fault, but nobody sees that coming. And, really, think about the video games you play now. You wouldn’t survive a second inside ‘Grand Theft Auto.’
4. Joshua Computer from ‘WarGames’
The lesson learned from the Joshua computer in ‘WarGames’ is that simple passwords can kill. If it’s the ’80s and a high school kid can hack into a computer and nearly start a nuclear war, someone isn’t doing it right. Never has the question “shall we play a game?” been more frightening.
5. Supercomputer from ‘Superman 3′
It’s possible you’ve forgotten this one from the ’80s movie where the Superman teamed up with Richard Pryor, but it’s deeply embedded in your psyche. The “supercomputer” the Man of Steel faces off against is the work of Robert Vaughn’s evil billionaire Ross Webster (Lex Luthor was busy that day) and Pryor’s hapless computer programmer. This is what happens when people get to close to evil computers they have angered. They get turned into robots. Try not to think about it the next time you go through security at the airport.
6. Edgar from ‘Electric Dreams’
Computers were gaining popularity with the public at the time of this 1984 cult comedy’s release and, apparently, everyone was afraid that clunky PCs would steal their girlfriend. We aren’t sure what’s more frightening here — the fact that a teeny non-Pentium computer can take over this guy’s life, the movie’s dated bit map graphics or the lead’s “nerd” glasses. (Look for a young Virginia Madsen as the woman who makes both men and machines swoon.)
7. SkyNet from ‘Terminator’
Another case of man creates machine and then man loses control of machine. It’s never good when the computer you put in charge of all strategic warfare decides it’s smarter than you and then you become its target for trying to shut it down. Clearly, Hal9000 had taught them nothing.
8. Karl in ‘Ghost in the Machine’
There was still some fear of computers back in the ’90s, as evidenced by this horror movie where the mind of a serial killer gets imprinted on to a computer during an electrical storm. (That’s not how data transfer ever worked, movie.) Ok, maybe the dated early CGI graphics are more cheesy than scary, but it does bring new meaning to the phrase “blue screen of death.”
9. The Matrix from ‘The Matrix’
The Earth is a wasteland, but humans don’t know it because artificial intelligence has taken over and is keeping them as pacified slaves in a virtual 20th century reality. The machines gain strength from the powerless human slaves who are forced to live in a reality in which Keanu Reeves is no longer Ted and not a student at San Dimas High. Also, the humans who aren’t inside the Matrix have wild raves or something. Honestly, we’ve pretty much blocked out the sequels.
10. Every Y2K Computer
Of course, we can’t forget that just prior to the year 2000, every computer became the most frightening computer known to man. There was a widespread fear that computers that weren’t programmed for using dates with four placeholders would become confused by the switch to double zero and wreak havoc on any system run by a computer. The potential Y2K Bug even caused fears of missiles being launched because of computer failures, as well as runs on banks because ATMs and computerized banking systems might no longer keep bank accounts accurate. After much effort to get all computers Y2K compliant, the fears were laid to rest at 12:00:01 on January 1st, 2000. These worries were dramatized by the Louis Gossett Jr./Malcolm McDowell/Larry Hagman flick ‘Y2K – Terminal Countdown.’ Check out the awesomely cheesy trailer below.