At some stage we have to expect the machines to take control”

Alan Turing, Manchester, 1951

We constantly hear these days of the extraordinary progress of integration of AI into our lives, whether in the form of physically taking over our rather mundane jobs or, which is less apparent, the extraordinary rise and application of algorithms in the operating systems that seem to run our lives to such a great extent. Now we hear that the billionaire entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk is currently developing a way of inserting microchips directly into our brains so we will be able to communicate directly with computer systems instead of tapping a keyboard, and I am quite sure he cannot be the only one doing work of this kind. Musk says humans must merge with machines otherwise they will become an irrelevance in the age of AI.

In Greek Mythology Talos was a giant bronze automaton man created by the god Hephaestus to guard Crete from unwelcome visitors and although a far cry from the sophisticated inventions of today, it is not completely farfetched to suggest he could be called the first robot.

In these paintings I have used the metals silver, white gold and 23 ct gold leaf together with verdigris on copper that seem to be insinuating into the very flesh of our bodies, perhaps representing the creeping direction of technology into our very being.

It does strike me as odd that we are looking to computers as a way forward in human evolution when we are only just beginning to discover what our brains are truly capable of without technological interference. I am not against the progress of technology at all but am wary of this new development and wonder where this brave new world will take us with its physical merging of man and machine. Perhaps we should be questioning what it is to be human and perhaps like Talos, ever vigilant on the shores of Crete, we should be constantly on our guard for invaders.