'Terminator' Co-Creator Gale Anne Hurd Thinks The Tech Industry Should Take A Hippocratic Oath To Avoid The Robot Apocalypse 

Judgment Day was supposed to happen in 1997 according to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The cautionary tale began in 1984's The Terminator, which wasn't the first science fiction tale to warn about artificial intelligence. Terminator co-writer and producer Gale Anne Hurd said that science fiction and other genres have been ahead of the curve on these matters, and she hopes real science catches up soon.

"Let's hear it for science fiction, fantasy and horror," Hurd said at a Screamfest Q&A before she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. "Stephen Hawking only came up with the idea that we need to worry about A.I. and robots about two and a half years before he passed away. I remember saying to Jim, 'If he'd only watched The Terminator.'"

Perhaps scientists dismiss movies as popcorn fiction (we're looking at you, Neil DeGrasse Tyson), but Hurd feels storytellers are doing the important work that should be a requirement of real science.

"We are cutting edge," she continued. "We create and think about things that the people who are being paid so much money, the scientists and the physicists, the mathematicians, biotech people aren't even considering. The more leaps and bounds are made in technology right now, the more fearful we should be that these scenarios may come to pass."

While real science is not quite where Skynet was in The Terminator, it's not hard to imagine us getting there. Hurd has a proactive solution to avoid reaching a robot holocaust situation. She thinks tech industries should teach the same code of ethics that medical school teaches.

"The one thing that they don't teach in engineering schools and biotech is ethics and thinking about not only consequences, but unintended consequences," Hurd said. "If you go to medical school, there's the Hippocratic Oath, first do no harm. I think we really need that in all of these new technologies.

Hurd's suggestion is almost breathtakingly simple to address potentially global issues. In the medical profession, breaking the Hippocratic Oath could be grounds for medical malpractice and losing one's license. Were the tech industry to adopt a similar practice, it might give developers more foresight into the possible abuses of their inventions, or at least encourage them to develop safeguards if for nothing else than to cover their own backs.

Meanwhile, James Cameron is producing a sixth Terminator film, though without Hurd, so the cautionary tale will continue.