The theme of artificial intelligence has haunted humanity for centuries, from the mechanical turks of medieval trickery to Alan Turing’s dreams of conversing with machines. That theme has likewise haunted cinema from its earliest days: Maria in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis is the direct ancestor of a horde of artificial lifeforms, whether human shaped, like C3PO in Star Wars, or more abstract, like SkyNet in The Terminator.
Bungie Software, creators of Halo and the upcoming Destiny, have toyed with the notion of artificial intelligence throughout their games. In particular, they’ve developed the idea of “rampancy”, whereby an AI becomes increasingly self-aware, intelligent and uncontrolled. It wasn’t a concept I was expecting to come across in Spike Jonze’s Her, though it turns out to be central.