A happy 76th birthday to Sir Ridley Scott, film director and producer.
Ridley Scott has made not one but two seminal films that have helped to define the Sci-Fi genre to at least a couple of generations with Alien and Blade Runner. He has also given us the characters that bring to life much of what we talk about on this site, artificial intelligence (AI), technology more intelligent than us, robots and androids.
In Alien, Ian Holm portrayed Ash an android put onto the spaceship to keep an eye on the human crew by the ship owners. In Blade Runner, he gave us the criminal gang of replicants headed by Roy Batty, brilliantly played by Rutger Hauer. In Prometheus, we got David, the very human like android. The stories around these characters play out the hopes and concerns of several humans win or lose scenarios. As such, they’ve added to the conversation on what more intelligent than us technology may mean.
It’s difficult to bottom out Ridley’s own view on this area. Some views would see these characters as incidental to the specific films and are no more meaningful parts of a great big picture than the lions in Gladiator, one of Ridley’s other films. For instance in this interview (click here Source: http://bloody-disgusting.com/). Others (such as this one, click here Source: http://www.denofgeek.com/) see each of these characters as part of a broader tapestry that Ridley is weaving about artificial intelligence and human life.
Either way, these Sci-Fi films and their AI characters have given us all the names, faces, stories and dilemmas to use in our own thoughts on what happens when the machines become intelligent than us. For that and all the great films, thank you Sir Ridley!
The special TED video created for Prometheus which gives a great insight into one possible scenario for intelligent life
The promo video for David, a very human android from Prometheus:
Home page pic: Martin Argles for the Guardian
The pic on this page: Corbis; 20th Century Fox Film Corp