The Creator's Extras Didn't Know If They Were Playing Humans Or Robots


There is a lot of talk about artificial intelligence right now between the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, and some news outlets foolishly beginning to experiment with using it to write articles instead of actual journalists. For months, many people have been speaking out against things like ChatGPT for using existing art and writing to create new content. It's an ongoing debate with no signs of slowing down. 

The upcoming film "The Creator," by "Godzilla" and "Rogue One" director Gareth Edwards, tackles our fear of what's to come as computers develop sentience. In the film, which is set in the near future, there is a war going on between humans and A.I. after the latter set off a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles. Ex-special forces agent Joshua (John David Washington) is sent to kill the Creator, an A.I. who developed a weapon to end the war — and likely, humanity. However, this entity is in the form of a little girl.

In an interview with Empire about "The Creator," Edwards revealed that the extras in the film weren't sure if they were playing humans or robots in the film, and that's a wildly disturbing thing to hear, not for the actors, but for anyone reading this who is starting to look askance at their toaster. It's getting real, folks, and making A.I. look human is the best defense they have against us. 

'I wanted the Al to feel very human'

In the trailer for the film, you can see a number of robots who look ... well, like robots. Metal bodies, canon-shaped heads, that sort of thing. The insidious part is that there are a lot of "humans" in there, and as with the Skrulls in Marvel's "Secret Invasion," we can't tell who is human and who isn't. Edwards said: 

On one hand, that approach seems odd. On the other, it sounds like it was great for the narrative. There was a legit production reason for it as well, according to special effects supervisor Jay Cooper ("Avengers: Endgame"). He said that it made the performances for the actors work better than motion capture. He said, "If I were to say to you, 'All right, I need to sample your motion now. Can you walk from A to B?' You're going to be a little bit self-conscious about it. So the robots are replacements of people who are there on the day."

The future isn't looking so bright

What's extra-chilling about that is the fact that SAG-AFTRA revealed during a press conference that the AMPTP wants to pay extras once for a background performance and own the rights to their digital likeness forever, to use however they please. The trailer looks freaking amazing, but I know I'll have nightmares after this one. 

Making the creator of their army look like a little kid who can cry and have emotions would be the right play from an artificial intelligence. Heck, just make it a puppy, and you can guarantee that very few people would be okay with hurting it. It reminds me of a moment in "The Animatrix" when the two A.I. dress up as they think humans would, smiling and hopeful. The cruelty the humans showed them still haunts me to this day, both because it was heartbreaking to watch beings be treated that way and because that's likely the way it would go down in real life. 

Please excuse me while I go have a panic attack. "The Creator" stars Washington, Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, Sturgill Simpson, Veronica Ngo, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, and Allison Janney. It will hit theaters on September 29, 2023. 

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