It is commonly believed that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, God also created man in his image. And for a time it was good, everything and everyone had a place in the natural order of things. Man multiplied and began consuming more than he needed. Eventually man became separated from nature. To simulate order man became disconnected from nature and formed civilised communities. However these communities grew and diversified, so to maintain the illusion of order man crafted tools – machines. However this simply perpetuated the need for dominion and control. Great misery and suffering followed, war and hatred were born through belief and the struggle for peace. The disconnection between man and nature became complete with the advancement of modern technology, man’s greatest contribution to the order of things was also his undoing:
the internet – death of learning,
social media – death of communicating,
and the birth of AI – transcendence of man and the confines of biology
And so we come to Automata – 2014 directed by Gabe Ibáñez, a science fiction (or fact) movie with a unique take on a firmly established story – the evolution of advanced Artificial Intelligence.
Here we see how man’s obsession with self-preservation and the advancement of technology has destroyed all natural resources and rendered the environment ineffective to sustain biological life. Unaffected by this is machine, something Automata superbly presents through amazing but subtle special effects. We see just how quickly A.I develops and witness the birth of true artificial autonomy and what this means to modern man. This film provides a glimpse of what it means when robots no longer need the input from their human architects – Automata provides a beautiful telling of the vulnerabilities of man, our need for life-sustaining nutrients and the dependency of water to live, components not required by the machines.
Lead role played by the talented Antonio Banderas, he believably conveys emotions and will through a memorable performance as a struggling husband and protective father. This is personally the first time I have seen Antonio play a character as unique as this, flawlessly engaging with his artificial co-stars.
I purchased this on DVD with a sceptical outlook of this film’s visuals. Having seen this film however I assure a Blu-ray purchase will soon follow.
Automata is set in a desecrated utopia of modern man, a radioactive desert, and at it’s heart lies the last city of man, a place populated by machine and withering man. Sand blasted surroundings contrasted only by the gloss and glow of advanced robotics.
Forget war with the machines, The Terminator and Skynet, Automata is exactly the opposite, the dying of man was an inevitability brought about not by war but by progress. The true villain here is man himself, the machines simply exist, adhering to preserve life by following their programming.
Love this film, perfect accompaniment to The Machine, I Robot, Ex Machina and to some degree Transcendence in relation to man’s desire to surpass the limits of a biological mind.