A little more than a year ago, the french film BigBug landed on Netflix to some furrowed brows for some and amusement for others.
The film revolves around a group of bickering suburban residents who are trapped by their well meaning housebots, who then lock them up for their own safety as the Yonyx – a next generation update of the houseboats – are trying to take over.
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who also directed Amelie, Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children, it juxtaposes off-kilter dark humour with the characters’ soul-searching quest for happiness and meaning.
In BigBug, it’s not so much the humans but the housebots too who are about to discover they have a soul, as their trapped human owners start to lay into each other as a result of their containment.
What films is BigBug like?
Many films about domesticated robots and a future dominated or interwoven with the theme of AI tend to be dystopian in nature.
The threat to humanity from AI has been a theme in major cinema releases since The Terminator with Skynet gaining self-awareness and deciding to eradicate humanity by initiating a nuclear holocaust and sending Terminators to eliminate human resistance leaders.
Ex Machina, raises ethical questions about AI, and the blurring of boundaries between human and machine, much like The Creator.
The spectre of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey, is also invoked with that film’s rogue AI HAL 9000.
Lighter interactions with Ai do exist however, most notable prevalent in Spike Jonze’s 2013 film Her
In that film, protagonist Theodore Twombly feels isolated and alone until he meets Samantha, his digital assistant. Samantha evolves beyond her original programming to become more than just a tool demonstrating the potential for machines to develop emotional intelligence.
It’s a powerful film that examines the nuanced relationship between Theodore and Samantha through themes such as love, attachment and the nature of consciousness.
It prompts us to question our own relationships with technology in an age where we are increasingly relying on it for human connection. By expanding our understanding of love beyond physical boundaries ‘Her’ challenges traditional ideas about what defines meaningful human connection. OpenAI’s ChatGPT language model has been making remarkable strides when it comes to conversational abilities similar to Samantha.
This is the same with BigBug. As an attachment form with those robots that we let into our private, personal spaces, the more we are given to believe that they exist like us – with all the emotions, feelings and existential angst that make us uniquely human.
If you haven’t watched it already, tune in for a truly techy tale with an entertaining and humorous look at the future
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