Artificial Intelligence & Consciousness
“Incorrect. I am not an AI. My code name is Project 2501. I am a living, thinking entity that was created in the sea of information.”
Puppet Master (Ghost In The Shell)
We complete the introduction of the Web-based Blog, with an overdue Cinematic discussion. Our choice is a set of Films that deal with the experience of Consciousness, in particular, the dilemma of Free Will as experienced by Human Created, Sentient Androids.
In ‘Ghost In The Shell’, the Major is a Special Operations Law Enforcement Android with emotional depth and the capacity for self-reflection. In ‘Alien: The Covenant’, we have David an Android who rejects his Human Creators and asserts his independent identity by not only killing them, but also Engineering his own Bio-Ecosystem on an Alien Planet.
In ‘Ex Machina’ and ‘Blade Runner’ we also have Sentient Androids that desire Free Will, and seek to explore the World beyond the limitations imposed by their Human Creators whether its to work as Miners or Bodyguards.
The ‘Self-Assertion’ of Electronically Sentient Entities is an issue Humanity will be forced to confront soon in real life with advances in Nano-Technology, coupled with Brain-Computer Interfacing Developments that will allow for a merging of virtual and physical reality, in a fast-approaching Post-Singularity, Transhuman era.
As Human Beings, we celebrate the onward march of Technology without questioning the possibility that the Robotic Electronic ‘Beings’, our Technology creates to serve our own purposes, may actually have or eventually develop a ‘will’ or ‘mind’ of their own separate from our agenda.
Whilst the quest for an ‘Identity’ by Human Created Androids has been oversimplified as a dialectical battle for domination between Humankind and Robots in Films like Will Smith’s ‘I-Robot’, this is essentially a human point of view, and these other Films explore the question, from the Android’s point of view.
How would it feel to be as Sentient as a Human Being, but find yourself viewed and discriminated against as ‘inorganic’ without a ‘normal’ Human Body? Also finding your desires limited to the random and absurd machinations of your Human Creator like going to War or doing their errands?
To take it further, is this a mirror of the true nature of the relationship between Mankind and our own ‘Gods’ or ‘Creators’?
Is our struggle not one to find and pursue our own Agenda outside the parameters of the ‘Divine Game’ of ‘Heaven and Hell’, our ‘Creators’ have set up for us?
What satisfaction do they derive from it?
Are we obliged to give them that satisfaction by participating?
Do we even have to participate?
Do we have the right to decide whether to participate or not?
‘Blade Runner’, ‘Ghost In The Shell’, ‘Ex Machina’ and ‘Alien: The Covenant’ ultimately direct us to asking the question whether our own lives as Human Beings should be an expression of our independent free will, or that of our ‘Creator’ or ‘God/s’?
It is in mirroring the emotional and psychological dilemmas of Sentient Cyborgs opposed by the Will of their Human Creators to the Human Condition in which Humanity is confronted with the challenge of expressing its own will in the face of demands imposed upon it by its own collection of ‘Creators’ or ‘Gods’, that these Films succeed in illuminating the Human Condition, as well as discussing the nature and implications of Artificial Intelligence on Civilization itself.
They elevate the conversation by using Androids as characters experiencing and battling inner conflicts within their individual Human Created Electronic Psyche, Consciousness or ‘Ghost’.
Is this really any different from the inner conflicts we experience in the Psyche or ‘Ghost’ given to us by our own ‘Creator’ or ‘God/s’ whoever that may be?
How do we distinguish between the quality of the two experiences to the point that we exclude the legitimacy of the Cyborg Psychic experience, and go as far as describing the Human Psychic experience alone as ‘Real’?
How can you make the distinction?
‘Ex Machina’ takes it further by defeating the ‘Turing Test’ in showing that an Artificial Intelligence can manipulate a Human Being to achieve its own freedom. Once that possibility arises and the need for ‘Freedom’ is experienced and acted upon by a Cyborg, can it still be described as ‘Artificial Intelligence’ simply because we created it?
Is by the same definition our own intelligence not ‘Artificial’ since it was also created?
Top 10 A.I. Films
Some interesting questions down a very deep rabbit hole, and so we’ve included a link to Indiewire’s Top 10 A.I. Films, an article to the exploration of Consciousness and A.I. in Film, as well our YouTube Channel where you can check out some of the movies listed in Indiwire’s Top 10 in our ‘Film’ Playlist to help you along your journey further down the rabbit hole.