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An artist’s impression of a Skynet 5 military communications satellite (etymology 1)

Etymology 1[edit]

From sky and network. The first satellite, Skynet 1A, was launched on 22 November 1969.

Proper noun[edit]


  1. A family of United Kingdom military communications satellites.
    • 1984, W. P. Robins, Phase Noise in Signal Sources: Theory and Applications (IEE Telecommunications Series; 9), London: Peter Peregrinus Ltd. on behalf of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, →ISBN, back cover:
      On returning to Stanmore in 1967 he [the author] was in charge of the development of transportable satellite earth stations Types III and IV for use in the British Skynet defence communications system. He was responsible for the proposal and all the technical concepts for the communications payload of the Skynet II satellite.
    • 1986, Nature: A Weekly Journal of Science, volume 320, London: Macmillan, ISSN 0028-0836, OCLC 421716612, page 216:
      But [William Robert] Graham confirmed that a proposal to carry the British Skynet satellites aboard the shuttle [Space Shuttle] had already been terminated.
    • 2000, R. A. Charles, “Design, Construction and Testing of the Deployable UHF Antenna for Skynet 4 Stage 2”, in S. Pellegrino and S. D. Guest, editors, IUTAM-IASS Symposium on Deployable Structures: Theory and Applications: Proceedings of the IUTAM Symposium held in Cambridge, U.K., 6–9 September 1998 (Solid Mechanics and Its Applications), Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, →ISBN, page 77:
      The SKYNET 4D, 4E and 4F military communications satellites are built to the SKYNET 4 Stage 2 standard by Matra Marconi Space UK Ltd. [] The function of the SKYNET UHF antenna is to receive and transmit UHF communications covering the visible face of the Earth from geostationary orbit.

Etymology 2[edit]

The endoskeleton of a Terminator cyborg on display at the London Film and Comic Con 2013. In the Terminator film franchise, Terminators are machines created by Skynet (etymology 2) for assassination missions.

From the Terminator film series, the first of which, The Terminator, premiered in 1984.

Proper noun[edit]


  1. (science fiction) A distributed artificial intelligence system that is aware of the physical world and acts autonomously through cyborgs and computer control systems. [from 1980s.]
    • 2005, Roz Kaveney, “Creation as Product: The Paradox of Franchises”, in From Alien to the Matrix: Reading Science Fiction Film, London: I.B. Tauris, →ISBN, page 125:
      In the first two films, Skynet is a colossal piece of hardware, a single unit which contains an artificial intelligence designed to run the US nuclear weapons system, a doomsday computer that becomes aware and destroys humanity. [] It was only through some very fancy footwork that Terminator 2: Judgment Day managed to make it remotely plausible that Skynet had sent a second machine to a later date. Since Skynet is presumably aware of its own origins, this makes the first film marginally less plausible.
    • 2012, Cristina Urdiales, “Foreword”, in Collaborative Assistive Robot for Mobility Enhancement (CARMEN): The Bare Necessities: Assisted Wheelchair Navigation and beyond (Intelligent Systems Reference Library; 27), Berlin; Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, DOI:10.1007/978-3-642-24902-0, →ISBN, ISSN 1868-4394:
      Maybe I watched too many Mazinger shows or read too many Yoko Tsuno BDs as a kid and, surely, I think the best way to end [] humanity would be to migrate SkyNet to Windows Vista, but somehow I thought it would be fun.
    • 2016, J. P. Telotte, “The Persistence of the Robot”, in Sean Redmond and Leon Marvell, editor, Endangered Science Fiction Film (AFI Film Series), New York, N.Y.; Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge, →ISBN, page 254:
      With the more convoluted Terminator Salvation, the seductive power of the skin job gives way to a constant maze of false seeming, centered on the relationship between John Connor and the part-cyborg Marcus Wright during the post-apocalyptic human fight against Skynet and its various killing machines.
    • 2017 April, Jonathan Maberry, chapter 128, in Dogs of War: A Joe Ledger Novel, New York, N.Y.: St. Martin's Press, →ISBN, page 518:
      Calpurnia, the Good Sister, the artificial intelligence created by Zephyr Bain, had achieved consciousness and self-awareness. She knew of her existence. She had crossed the line from the predictable and anticipated inevitable model of machine consciousness. However, it should have stopped there. The Skynet model from the Terminator movies didn't really work, because true consciousness was a by-product of chemistry and physical constitution.

Further reading[edit]