Symposium: Innovation in Tradition
Head of the Institute for Architectural Theory, History and Heritage Preservation, University of Innsbruck
In our culture, until now, images of new and future technologies are almost always cast in recognizable humanoid appearances. Today, we may be at a point in history in which non-human intelligence for the first time may surpass human intelligence. Will this change its representation?
The T-1000, is the shapeshifting android that, in the movie Terminator 2 from 1991, is sent back in time to kill the young John Connor, the future leader of the human resistance against Skynet. It seems to consist of a liquid metal that can take any form and can recuperate easily after damage but most strikingly mimics different humans in the most chameleonic way imaginable. The question is why? Why would this android that could look like anything want to look like a human being, an existing human being even that it kills only to replace it –just looking only slightly meaner out of its eyes?
In fact, there are very few examples in our culture in which a robot or android or other non-human intelligent entity, is not humanoid in appearance. One might think of The Blob in the movie with the same name from 1958. To quote Greg Lynn, “The term blob connotes a thing which is neither singular nor multiple but an intelligence that behaves as if it were singular and networked but in its form can become indefinitely multiplied and distributed.” It may be more intelligent than we are but it does not need to take our form. Other examples are HAL in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, A Space Odyssey from 1968, and Samantha in Spike Jonze’s film Her from 2013, but even these have human voices, very seductive voices even.