the horror movie M3GAN, which debuts in Brazil this Thursday (19), promises polemics and discussions about robotic ethics. After wowing critics and selling out theaters across the country this past weekend – with a box office haul of US$30.4 million (R$158 million) – the story left some questions unanswered about the possible relationship between humans and AI..
Played by child actress Amie Donald, M3GAN is a five-foot-tall cyborg who, despite moving in a somewhat jerky way “a la Robocop”, manages to walk, talk, roll and kill. these last two together, according to the trailer. She was created by robotist Gemma (Allison Williams) to care for her orphaned niece Cady (Violet McGraw).
An inveterate workaholic, Gemma transfers to the “doll” the responsibility of interacting with the real child, and this ends up generating some situations from the moment the AI understands that her human friend is threatened. Nothing different from what Chucky and Annabelle have done in the past.
What do robotic ethics experts say?
the british newspaper The Guardian heard from experts on robot ethics, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab researcher Katie Darling. For her, in addition to giving the public false expectations about what robotics can really do, films like this can create an illusion that robots can replace human beings in relationships, such as raising children, for example.
“Robots can be used as an adjunct – as we would use a pet – not to directly replace a relationship that is human,” Darling said. Another specialist, children’s rights lawyer Ronny Bogani is enthusiastic about technology, but warns that, “without the right protections, it can also be dangerous”.
A common point between the two specialists is that robots shouldn’t look like humans. “We are poor product design,” jokes Bogani.
That is, despite being an interesting horror fiction, the expectation is that it will take a long time for such advanced technology to become reality. “I don’t think we’re going to have anything at this level of sophisticated AI in the next two decades,” explains expert Katie Darling.
While M3GAN is far from becoming a reality, sci-fi and horror fans can follow the film’s theme by following our tips for feature films with violent AI.