I loved A.I. but with some reservations

From: john grigg (starman125@hotmail.com)
Date: Tue Jul 03 2001 - 03:09:47 MDT

Hello everyone,

This film may only be rivaled by _Matrix_ in creating discussion here! And
there are so many different things to talk about...

I saw _A.I._ on its first day here in Anchorage with GREAT anticipation
since it was the number one movie this summer I wanted to view. The advance
reviews I had read of it in Newsweek and elsewhere said it was one of
Spielberg's greatest films, if not his best ever.

I was not disappointed. Spielberg was in very top form and I feel translated
the notes of Kubrick into a truly great film. And as critics have pointed
out, there are many layers and aspects to this movie which can make it
appeal to a wide demographic.

The mother/son/pinnochio aspect of the film grabbed my heartstrings and
pulled hard. I felt tears well up in my eyes on during several scenes. I
think it would be hard for any person to not be touched by the depiction of
humankind's inhumanity to his/her own creation.

With this film the public will be getting positive memes about artificial
intelligence and robotics which could really influence longterm public
opinion about the machines which will actually exist in future decades. This
film due to it's greatness will continue to be viewed for many years into
the future. I'm happy about that...


I would consider this film to be a "science fiction fairy tale" both because
of the way it was based on the tale of Pinnochio, and because of how it
ended on sort of a sad metaphysical note.

My heart jumped as I saw the depiction of the posthumans and their
astounding vehicles! I was so impressed by the thought which must have gone
into their depiction in the film. Did anyone else notice a sense of
similarity in comparison to the aliens from Spielberg's "Close Encounters"
film? lol I felt like I was actually looking at the future mind children of

They were obviously the advanced sentient nanotech beings people like
Drexler and Robert Frietas have envisioned. And yet they had the wisdom,
kindness and love Ray Kurzweil speaks of.

The scene where the posthuman talks with the android boy really affected me.
  Audience members may have been somewhat creeped out by the posthuman
physical appearance, but with the deep concern to the android boy which was
shown in warm vocal tones, it would be hard to not be totally won over. I
think an important meme was sent out by that simple scene.

I loved this film but had some problems with the ending. I wish the far
future "machine people" had told the boy that in fact humanity was not gone,
but instead it had simply transformed into what they were! I wish, I wish,
I wish!

Also, I found doubtful the whole idea that a scan of the space/time
continuum could result in a flawed upload program which would result in only
ONE day of life for the resurrectee! I don't see any real science in it.
But then, like I said before, this is more of a "science fiction fairy tale"
and not straight science fiction.

Of course, for emotional impact the idea worked very well. I felt pained as
the android boy had his one perfect day with his once again loving and
devoted mother. As they go to bed and he decides to never awaken himself I
felt so sad.

Often traditional fairy tales did have sad endings to teach a lesson of some
sort. And I think in our real world of pain, disappointment and death you
can see why a positive and hopeful ending would feel untrue to the audience.
  But then again, Hollywood is notorious for happy endings in films, even
when the movie is ruined in a sense by it.

I realize Spielberg was trying to be true to the vision of Stanley Kubrick
who in turn based his notes on the short story by Brian Aldiss. I have not
yet read the Aldiss story but would assume it ended on a sad note as the
film itself did.

I would have ended the film differently(thinking as an extropian!). Starting
off, the posthuman would have explained he was the direct descendant of
humanity and possibly even an upload.

There would have been no "technical problem" with scanning the universe to
recover/simulate his mother's mind. Or else she would have been a total
simulation based on his memories of her.

They would have lived in a replica of their old home, but in time they would
have grown curious about what laid beyond it. The final scene of the movie
would have them venturing forth into the posthuman world with the
spokesperson posthuman as their guide and friend. In my opinion that would
have been the way to end it. :)

Still, I dearly loved this film and feel many great memes are being spread
throughout the world with it. I think Brian Aldiss, Stanley Kubrick, and
Steven Spielberg(along with all the actors and crew) have created something
which will definitely increase the chances of our successful transition to
the singularity. I am very grateful.

best wishes,


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