Sunday, April 14, 2002

Kelli asked some questions about AI on her blog. I’ll take a shot at answering them.

would we gaze in wonder and awe as David did during the last day with his 'mother' if we knew it were the last day with someone in our lives?

I think the answer is “No”, and made the final section of the movie somewhat implausible. But—let’s face it—the entire movie is enormously, audaciously speculative, and the last section completely so. But why wouldn’t we be able to enjoy our last day with our mother, as David did? Because our emotions would irrationally interfere with the experience that we would like to have. David’s did not. Was Kubrick implying that there were ways in which David was superior to humans, that, mature, he had better control over his emotions? I think yes, in fact, David and the other bots were almost continuously and multi-factedly portrayed as superior to human beings.

is it true that life is merely a journey to fill the empty gap created by the separation with our parents?

Is this a quotation from the movie? Very interesting if so. It’s a bit too unreconstructedly Freudian for me, but probably does describe one level of our existential quest. So my answer is: take out the word “merely”. Life is that, in addition to a host of other things. The problem with Freudianism is it’s typically reductive use, reducing all of life to it’s rather meager outlook.

would the gigolo dude replace woman’s need for sexual fulfillment so that she could concentrate more fully on 'nurturing' relationships with other women? this appears to be the more important question for me. female/female relationships are smoother.

I’m going to cowardly duck away from this question, with the excuse that, being a man, I have no female/female relationships. Suffice to say that the excess of hormones that nature has imbued both men and women with insures that there will probably be a significant amount of unsatisfied sexual longing to keep Gigolo Joe and Jane busy. Personally, I doubt that female/female relationships are any less competitive or aggressive than male/male relationships, the aggression just takes less overt forms.



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