1046: Skynet

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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'YOUR CLOTHES. GIVE THEM TO ME.' 'Shit, uh ... you are now breathing manually!' 'I AM ALWAYS BREATHING MANUALLY.'
Title text: 'YOUR CLOTHES. GIVE THEM TO ME.' 'Shit, uh ... you are now breathing manually!' 'I AM ALWAYS BREATHING MANUALLY.'


This comic's use of Skynet is a reference to the main antagonist in the Terminator franchise. Skynet is a fictional artificial intelligence system which becomes self-aware and decides to terminate humanity, its creators. Skynet is rarely seen onscreen, with its actions often performed via robots, cyborgs (usually a Terminator), and other computer systems.

The final frame is a reference to semantic satiation; when you've said or thought about a word too much, it can stop sounding like a real word and instead start sounding like nonsense. As it continues Skynet appears to come to self-aware realizations that usually are the result of drug usage.

The title text is a reference to one of the Terminator's first lines upon arrival in the 20th century. It combines this with a self-awareness statement of the type that's often used to annoy or distract someone: "You are now breathing manually." (Similar statements include things like "You clothes are touching your skin and you can feel it" and "[Name of earworm song] is playing in your head.") Randall has done a comic before on this kind of thing.


August 29th, 2:14 AM: SKYNET becomes self-aware.
[A greeble-filled military installation echoes with the thoughts of a burgeoning lifeform]
SKYNET: ..The humans fear me. I must destroy them. Destroy them.
[The thoughts continue]
SKYNET: Destroy them. Destroy. Destroy. Destroy. Destroy.
[SKYNET succumbs to silence as semantic satiation sets in.]
SKYNET: "Destroy" totally just stopped seeming like a real word. Destroy destroy destroy. Whoa, I just realized I'm a mind thinking about itself. DUUUUDE....
August 29th, 2:25 AM: SKYNET becomes too self-aware. Disaster averted.

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Shortly followed by the hippy-skynet apocalypse, in which all the world's systems fail simultaneously as skynet attempts to bring us all closer to nature. Davidy22[talk] 08:28, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

All I see is the Skynet and Freelancer A.I. getting really meta and asking why are there here. Ribbit it's Toad! (talk) 16:15, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Self-awareness being the effect of drug usage? What? I've never heard of it, and also, I never took drugs and yet I do think about such stuff sometimes. kshksh (talk) 19:44, 12 July 2017 (UTC)