Back in October, thousands of Tesla owners woke up to find their cars had automatically downloaded a software update which made them semi-autonomous. Self driving cars were officially a thing.
It’s one of those moments where you step back and realise that we live in the future that past generations fantasised about. Seriously, try to imagine reading that opening sentence in 1995 – you’d have been left babbling about Skynet.
Unfortunately, there’s a real life apocalyptic death cult that’s apparently pretty enamoured with the hype around self-driving cars:
— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 5, 2016
It’s 2016, and even our terrorists are futuristic. (I presume the only reason we haven’t seen jihadists zipping around Raqqa on hover boards already is limited availability.)
It’s kind of ironic that we’re supposed to be scared of driverless car bombs when the whole jihadism schtick was that they’re happy to blow themselves up. The last time Britain was attacked with a car bomb, the terrorists literally drove it in the front door of Glasgow Airport.
Perhaps the guys in that video are just Isis’ nerds, toiling away on a pet project while the popular jihadists make fun of their glasses. After all, this is a group of people who use suicide bombs to get into locked buildings. Or maybe Isis is really leaning into its reputation as the trendy, tech-savvy incarnation of evil, and will soon be establishing northern Syria as a terrorist tech hub. A Salafist Silicon Valley, if you will.
There’s every chance this, like a lot of Isis fear stories (my favourite being when they weaponised Ebola), is all hilarious bullshit. The second half of that Sky News clip is essentially a Q-style technical rundown of laser-eyed jihadi robots. But in a world where no tech breakthrough really surprises us anymore, would that even be so ludicrous?
While our tech pioneers make the utopian dreams of Star Trek and Back to the Future a reality, Isis is trying to bring us Terminator. They aren’t a ‘medieval’ death cult. They’re the death cult of tomorrow.