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TOPIC: What did you think of AI?

What did you think of AI? 30 Jun 2001 16:28 #1832

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I went to the 10:50 PM show at the Rohnert Park 16 in the next town 8 miles south of me. Although I knew I would have to pay $8.25 instead of getting in on a pass, I went there because that was the latest showtime and I know the presentation would be good and that it would be a lot less crowded. It was good. I am still unsure what I thought of the film itself. I did think it was long and just a bit boring. But I also thought it was very thought provoking. Thought provoking is good in a work of art and a film.

The first thing that was interesting was the statement by the young lady at the conference table at the beginning of the film. She stated that 'Great, you can get a machine to love a person, but can you get a person to love a machine?' People love machines all the time. Otherwise there wouldn't be a classic car craze in this country. But I understand that it might not be the same. I am just saying that the concept isn't a foreign as one might think.

Isaac Asimov wrote his Robotic Laws before anybody had ever built a robot. I think the film kept these laws in mind but didn't let them interfere with the telling of the story. If these laws were enacted in the story, then people should have been a lot more comfortable living around the robots.

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the first law.

3. A robot must protect its own existence, as long as this does not conflict with the first two laws.

So with these laws in place and the couple being scientists as well, why did they never take the kid back to the manufacture to discover the root of his actions. I can see this future as having a new profession. Cyborg Counseling. 'Bring your Mecca in for counseling. Have him reprogrammed in to a newer fresher unit. We will eradicate all aberrant behavioral problems. Guaranteed success or your money back.'

The next conundrum was that the kid never grew up. Wasn't it interesting that he was made never to grow up? Most interesting movie characters are ones that grow in some way throughout the film. Sometimes they come to a startling conclusion at the end of the film as well. The Doctor/Inventor at the end of the film was amazed at David's growth, but I was less impressed. Sure David was able to overcome obstacles in his way and find his way back to the lab. But was that growth? Some computer programs can already change and adapt as the need arises. I didn't see any growth in the kid that wasn't inconsistent to a computer adapting it's program to changing conditions.

Most parents say that the most fulfilling part of raising children is watching them grow up. Sure they give lip service to wanting them to remain a child forever. And which of us hasn't thought that it would be great if kittens never became cats. But the magic of kittens and children is that they grow up. My mother loved me, but she didn't decide to like me until I became an adult. She loved the changes and growth I made in my twenties as much or more than she enjoyed the cute, blond, well behaved 8-year-old. It was just the years in-between she didn't care for much.

The closest I thought David showed to human emotion was when he apparently committed suicide when he discovered that he wasn't unique. I am still wrestling with that. It would have been an interesting film if it had ended there. After that he just became stuck in a feedback loop like any stupid computer. He spent 2,000 years looking at a statue. A human, even without outside influence, would have changed and adapted in that time. So after 2,000 years David didn't have one new thought. He didn't show any curiosity towards the extraordinary beings that discovered him. I would have found it fulfilling to try, in my limited way, to impart my knowledge of humanity on them. Instead, David just wants to hear his mommy tell him that she loves him. I'm not buying it. So David is programmed for love and self preservation, but where are all the other emotions,

Also, that was one hell of a fuel cell in the David and Teddy or perhaps that tap on the head is a real high tech way of recharging his batteries. We eat for fuel, David should have to plug his ass in. I don't think even an atomic reactor would run for 2,000 years.

I was also perturbed by the perceived notion that everybody wants children. I am surrounded by a large group of people who specifically do not want children. The world did just fine for a couple of thousand years with a population equal or less than what the United States has now. If the population were to drop by 5 billion, I can only imagine that the world would be a better place. But I am sure airline tickets would be more expensive.

So my favorite character was Teddy. It seemed as though Teddy was a more complex character than David. Teddy seemed to be able to switch his loyalties from the real boy to David and then never let go. Teddy seemed to have a conscience even though I suppose that could be programmed. What a cool toy for a kid, a toy that keeps the kid out of danger and provides right and wrong responses for the kid. Most toys, and that is what Teddy is, would consider being placed in a box as the end of the day routine and shut down. But no, not Teddy, he struggles and fights to get back to David. He even seems to be able to perceive Danger. The action and responses he showed towards David could even be called love, such as the love shown towards a person by a dog or a cat.

I also enjoyed the futuristic cars and the cybercopter.

So was AI a great movie, no. But it was a thought provoking one, and that is better than a sharp stick in the eye.

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Re: What did you think of AI? 06 Jul 2001 09:01 #1833

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I enjoyed A.I. and wasn't bothered by the length. I found the premise that showed the the self-serving nature of man a little disturbing.

One question that kept coming back to my mind after I left the theater was why didn't David just keep taking a lock of his mother's hair each time she went to sleep. That way he could bring her back whenever he wanted too. Would that go against the first law of Robotics? He wasn't really hurting her and he did it the first time any way.
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Re: What did you think of AI? 06 Jul 2001 10:25 #1834




Peter Kessleman
Peter Kessleman
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