Monsters of Our Making

The Terminator’s Skull

The “Terminator” movie series is predicated upon man sowing the seeds of his own destruction. In each movie the machines, representing mankind’s collective stupidity are beaten back at the last minute by a courageous individual. Movie slouch aside we do seem to be heading down the path towards SkyNet. It would be awful for us humans end up as a B-movie.

Today’s real life killer robots prefer to fly instead of walking bipedally. Predator drones overfly many parts of the Middle East and Central Asia. They are also beginning to patrol the US border and this is all their uses that are publicly known. Predators are as much the cyborg as the Terminator is supposed to be. The main difference between these two cyborgs is the nature of the symbiotic man and machine relationship. The Terminator is an autonomous robot that is clothed in and camouflaged by human flesh. With the Terminator the human contribution is little more than window dressing. At the end of the movie the robot part of the Terminator continues to operate even after shedding its human skin. While the Predator drone is a robot tethered to a human pilot who controls it. The Predator is a more equitable melding of man and machine. This robot can’t operate without the man in the loop and the man is powerless without the machine.

The Terminator skull is part of the “Icons of Science Fiction” exhibit at the EMP Museum in Seattle. I must confess that I PhotoShop added the redeye. Otherwise this prop would have appeared both cold and dead. It wouldn’t have seemed so threatening without some spark chasing going on.

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