Humans flips the robot uprising trope on its head
Welcome to the scary brave new world of Humans (Tuesday, TV3, 8.30pm) following hard on the heels of Stephen Hawking’s dire warning about the perils of developing artificial intelligence.
In this sci-fi creepy, Joe Hawkin is sick of looking after his family of three kids while wife, Laura is away on business. The house is a mess and the kids don’t help out so one day whilst out shopping he buys a ‘synth’, a synthetic robot to lend a helping hand.
Laura’s not best pleased when she comes home to find a tidy house and one very hot looking humanoid that’s already made itself indispensable. Teenager Toby, whom his sister calls “crusty sheets”, is clearly thrilled, as are Joe and Sophie, the baby of the family who likes “Anita” as she has been named (I wanted them to call her Synthia) because she reads stories to her slowly rather than in the rushed manner that Mummy does.
Bolshie teenage daughter Mattie hates the robot because she resents that the synthetic workforce has done her out of any decent kind of a work future, while Laura feels deeply uneasy and skeptical of the artificial intelligence intrusion.
And with good reason because Anita aka Mia is part of a core group of radical robots who have developed emotional intelligence. They are being pursued by the head of a special technologies task force, who suspects that the break away robots could be on the brink of an uprising so the ring leaders have to be taken out.
Laura hears a noise in the middle of the night and gets up to find Anita staring at the sky pondering: “The moon is very beautiful tonight don’t you think?” the question uncalled for and just the sort of independent thought that rings alarm bells.
A few hours earlier Laura was in the kitchen trying to have a philosophical discussion about classical music with Anita when she stopped mid-flow, realising out loud she was talking to a dumb robot. The next thing Anita causes Laura to burn her arm, which should never happen as the robots are hard wired to protect humans at all times.
Nothing new here in the notion of a robotic take over, but we know that this sci-fi is a cut above others because William Hurts is the cast playing George, a retired engineer who is deeply fond of Odi, his companion robot and doesn’t want an update when Odi goes on the blink.
Odi has memories that George has forgotten and the two have been rubbing along nicely together as Odi takes George’s blood pressure, checks his prostate gland and plays chess with him.
Humans is skilfully scripted so the audience has some sympathy for the synths as they become more human, while many of us in the real world observe humans become increasingly remote and addicted to technology.
Who will win this classy sci-fi war as we feel repelled by the chilly robots and disappointed in the humans. I wouldn’t like to bet on it but one thing I do know, the synths have won over the daleks.
ONE TO WATCH
My Reggae Song showing the evolution and continuation of Kiwi reggae starts tonight on Maori TV at 9.30pm, while Justin Bieber mimes on Lip Sync Battle on TV3 at 7pm.
Source: Humans flips the robot uprising trope on its head
Via: Google Alerts for AI