The Microprocessor is Not Trying to Look Beautiful
Performance-beauty already exists in other fields of manufacture and production. Performance-beauty is about a constant and focussed drive to improve comprehensive performance. Nobody cares what microprocessors look like but there is a never-ending effort to improve their performance, eliminate their defects, simplify their manufacture, and reduce their final cost. Performance is all that matters. You won’t find an ugly microprocessor.
There are other things besides microprocessors in which performance-beauty is paramount. It is difficult to appreciate their beauty in terms of anything but performance. We don’t have to know anything about assault rifles to think that the American M-16 looks better than the Russian AK-47 at first sight. However, the AK-47 is far superior in terms of performance. Knowing this, it is no longer possible to look at the M-16 in the same way. The AK-47 is not trying to look beautiful. Knowledge of performance affects our perception of beauty.
Similarly, the ‘Eurofighter’ looks better at first sight than the Sukhoi SU-37 which is probably the best fighter plane ever made. The SU-37 is not trying to look beautiful. Once more, knowing that the performance of the SU-37 is in a class of its own changes our perception of beauty. The shapes of these things aren’t important. Their performance is everything. It is a sad fact that these last two pairs of examples are of machines designed to kill people, but it does show that we can achieve performance-beauty if we put our minds to it. All these things have peformance-beauty. Buildings can too – if we want.