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Will The Creator Change Our Perception of AI?

The Creator has the potential to offer audiences a fresh perspective on artificial intelligence – the one that may reshape prevailing attitudes. Can its more compassionate portrayal of AI be influential enough to change minds?

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Illustration: Lenka T.

Many movies have depicted AI as the antagonist, with notable examples including Terminator, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and Heart of Stone. Given the rapid integration of AI into various industries worldwide, these films have struck a chord with audiences who are increasingly apprehensive about its implications. 

Directed by Gareth Edwards, The Creator initially seemed to be yet another sci-fi film that cast AI as the enemy. The teaser trailer for this science fiction movie hinted that an AI program fired a missile at Los Angeles. However, as more information about The Creator emerges, it appears that the film might take a considerably more sympathetic stance toward AI. 

Namely, as the official trailer for The Creator delves deeper into the narrative, we realize that AI might not be the central villain in this science fiction saga. 

What do we know so far? 

At the beginning, Maya (Gemma Chan) shares how robots provided better care during wartime than humans could. In contrast, Joshua (John David Washington), resolute in his belief that robots are not human, is chosen to end the ongoing conflict between humans and robots. 

Joshua’s mission involves retrieving a “super weapon” that could tip the scales in favor of the robots. However, his world is upended when he discovers that this weapon is a child. This revelation forces him to reevaluate his convictions.  

The child advocates for robot emancipation, while Joshua’s superiors may intend to use the child to eradicate all robots, placing him squarely between two opposing factions. 

Robots are not always villains 

Discussing the division between humans and robots in The Creator, Gareth Edwards told Collider

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Basically the movie was always like, the world is divided in two. Half the world has banned AI. They hate it. It's wrong. It caused some real big problems. And the other half of the movie's embraced it, carried on developing it to the point where it's now human-like.

Edwards admitted that every person who read the screenplay questioned why humans would harbor such animosity towards AI. This critique was so prevalent that the writer-director modified the story to provide humans with a substantial reason to oppose AI. However, the landscape has transformed significantly in the past year, with AI becoming increasingly pervasive in our world. 

What lies ahead for us? 

Do recent events suggest that humanity is entering a protracted debate on the use of AI and other emerging technologies? Could we be heading for a conflict with robots, akin to the one depicted in The Creator? Regardless of one’s stance on these questions, it is evident that The Creator will influence everyone’s perception of AI. 

Edwards conceived the film well before AI programs posed significant threats to many industries. This further prompts speculation that The Creator’s compassionate portrayal of robots might make viewers reconsider whether impeding technological progress is the correct course of action. Conversely, the dystopian elements of the film’s narrative could reinforce the belief that we must safeguard against the encroachment of technology. 

The impact of rapidly advancing technology on our daily lives may take years to become clear. However, audiences won’t have to wait long to experience The Creator, which is set to premiere in US theaters on September 29, 2023. 

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