The talk I found to be most intriguing in class was the one about robots. When our professor showed us the website with all the different robots created many years ago, it left me in awe. In my mind, robots are contemporary, something even we now don’t fully grasp. Realizing that the whole concept of robotics actually came to fruiting many decades ago, it gave me a sense of perspective and made me realize how addicted we as humans are in trying to recreate life in our image. However nice it would be to create our mechanical brethren, I feel the complications of it were never discussed. Now you might be thinking, “ Yes it was! We watched Her,” but that movie is about a nonphysical being, while robots are very much physical. A complementary movie to further fuel discussion on this topic would be I, Robot.
I, Robot, directed by Alex Proyas, discusses human-robot interactions and its complications. Spoiler alert, in the movie there is a full fledged war between the robots and their creators. Aside from being another awesome Will Smith movie with epic fight scenes, great graphics (for the time it was made, at least), and a cool concept, it taps into serious questions we must ask ourselves as we move into this new era of increased dependence on machines. This raises many questions, as what happens when the creations become better than the creators and want more power? I feel that just this question could stimulate much discussion in our class, and people would want to throw in more than just their ‘two cents’!
Watching this movie at a deeper lever we can analyze and argue for the case of ‘should we keep producing highly intelligent and autonomous robots?’. I feel like it would be beneficial for us to create a mock argument of this. Split the class in two groups: one that is pro-robot dependance, and one that is not. Each side could have the weekend to create their arguments and draft their ideals, and then they meet during the next class for the ultimate showdown. Professor Laville would be the mediator, making sure things don’t get too heated up. This exercise would be beneficial because it would give us all public speaking skills, argument skills, and it would change things up and get us on our feet.
I really do think I, Robot would be a good addition to the curriculum. It’s a great blockbuster movie that carries a deep, controversial message. It fits in seamlessly with the ‘technology and the sense’ theme, and includes a fun activity that we could have fun with and learn valuable skills at the same time.
I, Robot. Dir. Alex Proyas and Akiva Goldsman. Screenplay by Jeff Vintar. Perf. Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, and Bruce Greenwood. 20th Century Fox, 2004. Film.