Anthro-pessimism, robots and Garland’s ‘Ex Machina’

What does the demonstrable pessimism regarding robots and their projected “attitude” towards humans in recent science fictional films tell us about our understanding (or perhaps imagining) of artificial intelligence? To be sure, let me state at the outset there are exceptions to this, even in some of the most pessimistic instances of such films – for example the protector terminator played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Cameron 1991), who “learns” from John and Sarah Connor in the course of protecting them against the T-1000’s destructive intent, to the point where it “sacrifices” itself at the end of the film for the sake of securing a threat-free future for them. There is also the quasi-ethical behaviour, if not action, on the part of the advanced NS-5…


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