Our film festival exposed some of the dilemmas of the human-technology binary. In Memory 2.0, the male protagonist Henry is torn between the pleasures of virtual reality memories of his beloved partner Sophie and the anguish of his daily tormented existence without her. He attempts to traverse the boundaries, reliving his memories by receiving an implant, but we’re left concerned that crossing boundaries will ultimately lead to his demise; and by extension, our own. The charming toy robot in Address is Approximate took us for a joy ride into his fantasy world. We felt a brief kinship and connection with this inanimate object with his human-like hopes and aspirations to escape his mundane reality. With the “tears in the rain” monologue from the final scene of The Bladerunner, we witnessed the human-like compassion of the replicant Roy Batty as he saved Deckard’s life, blurring our notions of good and evil, as the machine reflected upon his final moments with human-like emotion and melancholy about how his memories would soon be lost.
The Week Two video clips each present dystopian views of the incongruent merging of the human and technology. “We Only Attack Ourselves” provided a melancholic, tragic visualization of the entropy of the human character due to disease and the impact on relationships. It caused us to question the costs-benefits of reliance on technology. Whether it is better to accept human limitations and frailties, rather than trying to extend ourselves through technological enhancements.
In the “Stop Dave, I’m Afraid” video clip from “2001: A Space Oddessy”, the sentient computer HAL which has taken over the spaceship expresses human-like vulnerabilities, fear emotions that seem to have been programmed into its memory. We are forced to consider how far can and should technology go into replicating human intelligence.
“Gumdrop” is a more whimsical, charming, and endearing character, but she is not just some ‘dumb broad’ assemblage. This ‘gal’ has talent, aspirations and vacuuming skills. “Who could ask for anything more”? (from a robot?) Academy nomination for Best Lovable Female Robot.