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PNFS: Plug & Pray

PNFS: Plug & Pray

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When:

  • Wed 2 May ’12, 5:30pm
  • Wed 2 May ’12, 8:00pm

Where:

Downtown Cinemas, 70 Broadway Ave, Palmerston North

Restrictions:

All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Waged membership: $85.00
  • Unwaged membership: $70.00
  • Triple feature card: $30.00
  • High school student: $30.00

Directed by Jens Schanze
Germany, 2010, 90mins

The trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1-2e484u1A

The film tells the story of the technological evolution and the dawn of artificial intelligence while exploring themes of ethics, regret and religion. Computer engineers, scientists of robotics and other tech experts discuss their own views on what the world will be like where robots and humans coexist. There is talk of nano-robots that are the size of red blood cells roaming through the human body (making the host live forever), automated vehicles and machines that will learn to such an extent that they leave humanity behind them.

We are invited into the laboratories and minds of technological experts from around the world as they make bold visions come true: the creation of machines that are equal to their human creators.

Then there is Joseph Weizenbaum, a pioneer of artificial intelligence and creator of the Eliza speech program. Playful and sardonic, he critically questions the scientific faith in technological supremacy and the notion of “plug and play.”

“An enlightening foray into A.I.-land, Plug & Pray doesn't only explore the world in which computer science, robotics, neuroscience, and psychology merge, but the philosophical questions that we must explore along the way. You plug it in and it all works, Weizenbaum notes. Or sometimes it doesn't.” – Seattle International Film Festival 2010

“In Japan, the film reveals the robotic look-alike of Hiroshi Ishiguro, which can outwit a human in a game of logic. Clever; but Ishiguro's suggestion that the robot can come in useful by watching TV and playing with the kids while the 'real him' is away on business trips, suggesting that they won't know the difference, seems to cross into the realm of the ridiculous.

"Similar visions of replacing the reality with a simulation, some of which are already recognisable, such as the ability to surf a monster wave in Hawaii from your own living room, also highlight the concern for losing touch with the real world in favour of something created.

"Raymond Kurzweil, meanwhile, argues that bringing artificial intelligence closer to biology draws us towards a future where damaged cells or DNA errors can be corrected by 'nanobots' injected into the bloodstream, helping us to live longer and even, as he suggests, forever.

"Wiezenbaum, however, questioning when a person given artificial 'add-ons' ceases to be themselves and becomes more man-made than human, presents a wistful, and eventually poignant case for relishing the beauty of life's brevity and accepting death as our natural and welcome end.” - Jennifer Shelton

Did you know?
Production of the film started in 2006 and ended in 2009. The death of the main protagonist Joseph Weizenbaum was on March 5, 2008.

Two screenings 5.30pm and 8pm.

Members only. Palmerston North Film Society Membership is available at the door before each screening and lasts for one full year.

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