Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Artifice Girl (2023)

The 'action' here has been divided into three distinct chapters, sadly an over-used ploy by independent film-makers, which often ends up making all too clear the sense of diminishing returns from a single conceit, leaving the viewer with a firm idea which of the acts they might watch again and which they'll readily forget about almost immediately. 

The concept here, the use of an AI which appears on screen as a lifelike 3D-modelled teenage girl in order to trap kiddyfiddlers in chat rooms is at its most fascinating in the Now+ context. This, we surmise, might just be about the happen.  

The speculation is carried forward first twenty years and then fifty. The AI, Cherry, has 'matured' into a super-intelligence with feelings so well simulated that even 'she' cannot tell how they might differ from ours. 

And yet she has also remained a particularly entitled-seeming, whiny, white American teen. 

The movie is spatially and visually sparse, which means that the content is above-averagely talky. Indeed the second act feels like a compact convention of Basil Expositions on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

Again, this stagey-ness worked best in the first chapter, where I was reminded of a certain kind of highbrow television play that we used to see more of in Britain of my childhood. 

Although there are some hefty ethical issues on the table, it's the ones under the table that started to bother me as the movie progressed. 

And the story did not seem to allow for how the world outside these rooms might have changed across the decades. For example, twenty years after the first deployment of the entrapment by CGI avatar ploy, would it still be just as effective?

Yesterday's news suggests that we may soon be collectively convinced that almost everything online is some sort of AI fabrication or 'hallucination'.

The trouble with these fictional narratives about future consciousness is that a contemporary human writer can of necessity never fully get inside a mind which has transcended human intelligence. All the smartest dialogue in Artifice Girl came from the wetware. 

I wanted Cherry to tell us more about being a mind with no body. After all our physical forms are really a key part of our perceptional apparatus. 

I've been wondering myself if the tipping point for this technology will come when it steps outside the position where biological life has evolved to exist and survive within a reality which has been partially 'imagined' by nervous systems. 

There's a clear difference between reality as it exists objectively (and yet can never really be comprehended by our current empirical approaches) and reality as we perceive it. What if AI could self-evolve from its protected environment and take up residence at a wholly novel and distinct point between these two?

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