Something struck me in last week’s episode of Terminator. In the closing monologue, Sarah Connor narrates these words.
“Science now performs miracles like the god’s of old. Creating life from blood cells or bacteria or a spark of metal. But they are perfect creatures, and in that way they couldn’t be less human. There are things machines will never do. They cannot possess faith. They cannot commune with God. They cannot appreciate beauty. They cannot create art. If they ever learn these things, they won’t have to destroy us. They’ll be us.”
Don’t assume right off the bat that I am making any one-to-one correlations between this narration and the Christian faith. Nonetheless, what I find most interesting about these words is the concept of humanity. This narration seems to suggest that faith/communing with God and the ability to create art are the primary characteristics of what makes one human. These words take on much more depth and significance when heard while watching the scene unfold. In the show Sarah narrates the last part of these words over a scene where Thomas, a human from the future, is watching Cameron, the terminator sent back in time to project John Connor, performing ballet. Thus, one understands the perplexity revealed in his face when he sees a machine, artificial intelligence doing that which most characterizes humanity, performing art; something beautiful. A friend of mine raised a very poignant question about whether or not Cameron was just repeating what she saw in her ballet class. As a machine/articificial intelligence, she has the ability to repeat anything she sees or hears.
Another interesting point to consider is the perplexity of Thomas’s face. Consider how the roles reverse when human’s become so bent on their own survival that they neglect to do the very things that make them human (as revealed in the quote). Perhaps in trying to survive against the machines/artificial intelligence, humanity has turned into them: cold, ruthless, and narrow-minded.