Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Thing: Artificial

Why hasn't anyone written a 'good' AI movie before? We've seen lots of films where creepy artificial intelligences stalk and kill people via food processors (and a few reasonably famous films about AIs using humans as batteries). But not so much with exploring the idea that humans creating another form of sentient life might be a good thing. It's all Frankenstein and dystopias and the dark future. Well, how about having a bright future?

So I want to write that story and I think I've got a way to do it.

Artificial is a low-budget science fiction film - and, in an attempt to not lose a quarter of my readers with that statement, it's got a modern-day, real-world setting and a strong focus on characters.


In fact it's a love story. I didn't realise this when I first came up with for Artificial; I thought it was going to be about the changes that happen to society once AIs are released into the wild, and about the philosophical clash between two computer programmers - one who's optimistic about the future vs. one who's pessimistic, suspicious, and vigilant about what will happen when their team creates an artificial intelligence. Both these women have strong relationships with the AI (one respectful; the other, darkly glowering and paranoid).

If I were a cleverer writer, I'd make the love story be between the AI and the paranoid pessimist. But I'm after something much simpler I'm afraid - and between the story of an optimistic programmer and her impossible yet deepening love for the million lines of code contained inside a metal box, the clash of the whole human race's hopes and fears playing out in microcosm between the optimistic and the pessimistic programmers, *and* a story (that feels mythic) about the creation of a race of artificial intelligences ... well, with all of that I'm feeling like this will be a fun script to write.

How does this sound to you? Is it something you've seen before? (I'm fairly sure there are novels about it, but not movies - as far as I'm aware). Express your thoughts!

(And if you're interested in more, I have heavily inspired by this article by David Brin.)
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