Looking At Cortana: Part 1

The point of this post is to examine parts of Cortana’s body and explain how these parts humanize an artificial intelligence.

We will examine Cortana by looking at fan-art of her.

First, this piece of art:

Cortana Art196

The aspect of Cortana that, to me, stands out the most in this piece of art, is her butt.

I’ll get back to that in a moment…

I like this piece because, to me, it asks a question: How realistic should Cortana look?

What do I mean by that?

I mean that we always knew that Cortana, being an A.I., didn’t look exactly like a human being. But where is that line? That line between looking like a human being, and looking like an A.I. that looks like a human being?

I also like this piece because it is another piece that shows Cortana from behind, instead of how she’s usually portrayed — from the front, or from the side. This gives us another aspect of Cortana to study. I like, too, how Cortana’s bones and muscles stand out: It makes her look more “solid” — more like a flesh-and-blood person than the hologram that she is. Cortana’s butt stands out, too. (From what I’ve been able to find out, this piece of art is Halo 4 Cortana with the butt of Halo: CE Cortana.) That’s why I chose this piece of art for this post.

I’ve seen more than one person, commenting on a picture of Cortana, say “Dat ass!” or something like that. I understand why people say such things. I’m not condemning people for saying it. But. What I like about this piece is that it puts “Dat ass!” front and center: It forces us to look at this aspect of Cortana. What can a butt teach us?

In the case of this piece of art, it is the butt that makes Cortana look more human than she usually does.* The butt is what we can point to and say “This makes Cortana look more like a human and less like an A.I.” In short: The butt helps to humanize Cortana.

Now, this piece of art:

Cortana Art195

When I look at this piece of art, the term that comes to mind is “femininity unleashed.”**

In this piece of art, Cortana’s breasts are, to me, the most prominent aspect of her being. And, to me, it looks like Cortana has her arms crossed in order to keep her breasts from sagging more than they could be — like she’s pushing them up.

Cortana is standing in such a way as to make us aware of her feminine aspects (like her breasts) but at the same time she keeps these aspects in check (by crossing her arms). Cortana is reigning in aspects of her being that identify her as a woman.

Cortana isn’t “unleashing” her femininity — opening both her eyes and letting her arms fall to her sides, laying bare all that she is for all to see — but holding her femininity back. In order to test us. What is the test? One question. Cortana is, implicitly, asking us: “How will you choose to see me?”

How will we choose to see Cortana? As a person? Or as an object?”

It is my hope that, by studying Cortana, we gain even more respect for, and understanding of, the female body.


To bring this post to an end, a relevant quote:

“Beauty will save world.”***

Where these pieces of art come from: Here and Here

*In Halo 4 Cortana’s butt wasn’t visible. Or, wasn’t visible to the extent that it is in this piece of art.

**Femininity: The quality of being female; womanliness.

***Fyodor Dostoevsky.


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