Noon — A biannual magazine which explores art and commerce in contemporary culture

Noon is a biannual magazine which explores art and commerce in contemporary culture

Kate O'Brien

Love Me Love Bot

LOVE ME LOVE BOT

Science-fictional representations of the future talk about the present, or as films like Bladerunner and Brazil do, look back to the past, imagining a future where your washing machine will always break and the synthetic clothes you wear will smell, no matter how technologically advanced society becomes. Paparazzi shots showing the mask-like face of Arnold Schwarzenegger with his joke shop cigar on the set of the latest Terminator film embody this déjà vu future; such images distort illusion and reality. Standing by a steely SUV on his cigarette break, Schwarzenegger looked more robotic on a Terminator timeout than he did in the movie trailer with his silicone eye exposed. This superficial reflection holds a mirror to our own perceptions about what is real and what is artificial, and whether the future might be radically different to the one we presently imagine. Marvin Minsky once said that human beings were ‘meat machines’. It is common to describe almost anything in mechanical terms, most extreme is the claim that the human mind is like a digital computer. The computer is no more harmful a metaphor for the brain than a science fictional account of the future is, so long as these trivial representations are not taken literally. So what are the implications of recent predictions that human intelligence will be matched, even surpassed, by artificial intelligence in a few decades? Is this just aspirational hype on the part of futurists, a souped-up science fiction? How can we look to define the differences between man, machine and what it means to made from human meat?