Robot Stories

Robot Stories was a special AFS showing at the Arbor, and I’m glad I caught it. A tetralogy of related shorts that dealt with serious science-fiction questions, questions of the edges of what is humanity. These are rarely addressed in SF movies–in AI the last time I saw, though perhaps less successfully because of the Spielbergian cruft.

The second of the four in this film was out of place and the weakest of the lot; the others looked at how we relate to machines, and at what point machines become people. Or people become machines. And a host of related questions, many of which have been taken up many times in SF literature, but which a good movie shows in a new perspective. If your consciousness is downloaded to a computer shortly before you die–and continues to be aware, present, and involved in the world–are you dead? And if you had a spouse, are the two of you still married? And if you are, is that a good thing? This movie evoked these questions in me, in some cases with a single silent shot.