Friday, 5 June 2009

Can robots be artists?

I went to see Terminator Salvation on Wednesday, I REALLY enjoyed it. It was very loud, had loads of explosions, and machines EVERYWHERE! Very exciting ALL the way through, and quite scary, It was only a 12a but.. I am a total wimp. Terminators just scare's the future!

(Incase you have been asleep for the past 25 years, the concept of the Terminator films is that in the near future super computers will have become so intelligent they no longer need humans and will be able to self create and manufacture themselves etc. In Terminator the supercomputer which started it all was built by Skynet, when it became self-aware, humans got scared at its power and tryed to shut it down and failed. The machines started a war against all humans to try and eliminate them to protect it's existance. It began creating super strong autonomous robot soldiers - Terminators.)

terminator salvation

There are quite a lot of scenes within Skynet base which is cool because it was all designed soley by machines [YES I KNOW IT'S NOT REAL] well actually designed by art directors/set directors or whoever of the film but anyway it got me thinking. If machines did take over the world, what would architecture and design be like? This is what the art/set directors would of had to think about, it interests me too.
You would think the machines would go for pure functionality and maximum efficiency, that sounds logical right. There were scenes in the 'Terminator factory' assembly line areas which look probably right, kinda dark and dirty etc. I like that there are wires kinda hanging down and no 'Warning! Hard hats and goggles must be worn in this area' signs etc haha.

terminator salvation

And even though its quite simple and probably meant to be all just for function it all looks really cool. I often wanna make things far too complicated, maybe I should take some tips, simplicity. Thats what everyone always says isn't it 'back to basics'.

terminator salvation

As well as the assembly line, there were also scenes in more bright areas of Skynet base such as:
terminator salvation

I realise why visuals of 'the future' in films/TV don't usually veer too much off the idea we are use to because we don't know what it will really be like and so they stick to the norm so we recognise it and the art/set directors will have been aware of this and playing to this such as bright, clean, clinical looking, futuristic rooms. But would robots and machines 'care' about paint on the walls etc like in these images?

You would think machines would find chrome wall plating fine or whatever, why waste time and energy with paint and wall coverings afterall, so it's more aesthetically pleasing? The machines became self aware, what else did they become are of, beauty?

terminator salvation

Maybe painted walls have other advantages, stop the glare of just chrome walls? keep the place a bit warmer? White/grey wall covering makes the place a bit brighter so the machines can view things more efficiently? Those are the only logical reasons I can come up with off the top of my head.
White/grey walls and fixtures may not seem very adventurous but still the colour is a decision which had to be made. Maybe it was just at the top of the list of colour options? ha! Maybe i'm looking into this too deeply. No i'm not, details matter.
Maybe white/grey pigment is easiest to get hold of/create? It may be easier for them to recycle metal and just melt things down, things wouldn't be perfect and white then though. I think the whole place would be really patchy coloured looking, all sorts of colours!

But of course this all could have been built before the machines took over and the design decisions were made by humans.. doubtful though.

Can the machines understand design and make aesthetic decisions? They would have access to so much information from all over, the internet etc, so sure they can study design I suppose and maybe try and follow design rules just like if you programme something and give it instructions and certain perameters to work within but I don't think they could actually be creative.
Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation is an android and creates art, anyone can, but his decisions in art are based on his study of a long history of art from lots of cultures.
They could maybe think through endless possibilities of design decisions but how could they judge what is aesthetically best.
How can humans actually? No one is right, it's all relative to different peoples opinions. There is no right and wrong, or is there? Some say it's a science, maybe it can be learnt by robots.

It still may be hard for them to apply their design knowledge to new situations, I think they would struggle, I don't think Skynet base would look so nice. They may try and create Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen-bots but will fail. Maybe they will capture designers and keep them as slaves in a cage. We joke that designers are the last thing people need in a recession but we may be the only valuable thing to machines in the future, so hey designers that may be our fate, slaves for robots...

terminator salvation

Once the machines had reached their objective to wipe out all humans, then what would they do? Take up watercolours like retired people do when they have more time on their hands. It is possible!

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