So is all intelligence created equal or are some forms better than others? Where things stand, computers are way better at doing computations and humans are way better at doing critical thinking. But, change is immutable, time is unyielding, etc., etc., and so the way things stand now is almost certainly not the way they will stand in the future.
That’s the question the upcoming short film Watch Room asks. Written, directed and produced by mostly Brooklynites, the film imagines a (near) future when artificial intelligence is really intelligent.
“The film is not a hollywood picture of ‘AI is evil,’ it’s more cautiously optimistic,” coproducer Scott Amenta said in an interview. “The dialogue is around the ethics of creating this AI and doing it in a responsible way.”
In the script, scientists create artificially intelligent software that exists as an avatar in virtual reality. So rather than dealing with humanoid-looking robot-y things, the characters in Watch Room are virtual and look like people.
The scientists in the real world, worried they’re going to make something dangerous for humanity, debate turning her off. But back in virtual reality, Kate (the AI) reasons with them, asking them about what intelligence even is and whether or not they’ve also been created by another intelligent being. After all, if she has been, they could have been, too.
“I think the larger question is: are we living in a simulation?” Amenta explained. “If you think you’re talking to a human and they have emotions and it’s actually AI, would you not start to question, ‘Well, are we AI also in another being’s or another life form’s reality?’ Not to bring in ‘is there a God?’, but at the foundational level that’s a question that all humans are asking themselves.”
Sexy! But! the team needs some moolah to make it all happen. So they’ve started a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising enough money to cover the expenses for a short, looking to raise $45,000. With a week to go, they’ve raised over $20,000 from nearly 200 backers.
Amenta said the team, which consists of director Noah Wagner and writer Michael Koehler, hopes to produce the short film, send it around the film-festival circuit and use it as a proof of concept for a feature-length film. But they need your help!
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