Friday, April 29, 2011
The Human Condition
The film is set in a futuristic world which has been ravished by global warming. Resources are at a premium as major cities have flooded, resulting in drastic social change. Robots now fill major roles in the life of humans. Couples can no longer have children without a license from the government.
Manufacturers start producing child robots to fulfill the need for parenthood. Through a few simple commands, child robots are imprinted to love their parents. Through a series of events, David is forced to fend for himself as he embarks on a 2,000 year journey.
David is certainly intelligent, and his programming has allowed him to feel and express emotions. He only desires his mother to love him. He believes that will only be possible if he can become human. But what makes us different from any other species on our planet? Is intelligence merely enough? David is really not that different than any of us. We are all looking for answers. Is there more than just me?
AI provides a perfect platform to explore such mind-bending questions. It’s a perfect place to explore our own humanity. But where do we start? First, we must see ourselves as more than just a physical being. We must recognize there is something bigger than us. We are only a speck on the backdrop of a gigantic galaxy. Like David and many other Sci-fi characters such as, Data from Star Trek: the Next Generation; the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica; Viger in the first Star Trek movie, and Hal from 2001. They are looking to connect to their creator.
David may very well have been human because of his love for his mother. Without self-sacrifice and the capacity to love, we can never fully understand or embrace what it means to be human. Therefore humanity has nothing to do with intelligence or with being flesh and blood but has everything to do with the spirit.
The next time you watch a science fiction movie, perhaps you will see something more than aliens, robots, or androids. Perhaps, there are legitimate questions being asked about you and me and our future.