Movie lore explains that Skynet became self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th, 1997. In a panic, its creators attempt to pull the plug, but it is already too late. Skynet uses its nuclear arsenal to launch a preemptive strike against the Soviet Union, knowing that a retaliatory response will wipe out most of Skynet’s perceived human threat.
This nightmare scenario has not yet come to pass, though it is an inevitability, according to Astronomer Royal Lord Rees, an Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge who has postulated that mankind’s days on the planet are numbered.
After humans are gone, robots will then begin colonizing Earth, heralding a new era in the planet’s already deeply troubled history.
According to Lord Rees, the dominance of robotic overlords could last for billions of years, turning the human imprint on Earth into a mere footnote.