AI: ARTIFICIAL IMMORTALITY
CANADA 74 MIN, 2021
AI is expected to surpass humankind, so scientists have developed ways for humans to merge with the machine. This documentary explores the latest technological advancements in AI, robotics and biotech, and poses the question: what is the essence of the human mind, and can this be replicated?
Ann is a multiple award-winning Director and Producer known for compelling documentaries and series. Her feature documentary, A.rtificial I.mmortality was selected to be the Opening Night film at Hotdocs 2021.
Her previous film My Enemy, My Brother won Grand Jury Prize at SDAIFF, the short version was shortlisted for a 2016 Academy Award, and nominated for an Emmy. Her cross-platform project The Defector film and interactive won Best Documentary and Best Documentary Director and the Diversity Award at the Canadian Screen Awards. The Defector Interactive won the FITC Award, the Canadian Digi Award, and at the SXSW Interactive Festival.
Her directorial credits include: A.rtificial I.mmortality, The Superfood Chain, Smart Drugs, The Four Seasons Mosaic (CBC), Gemini nominee for Best Performance Doc; and Columbus International Film and Video Festival Award‐winning The Roswell Incident, Western Eyes, and Almost Real: Connecting in a Wired World.
A few years ago, I realized my father was losing his memory. It wasn’t just names and people, he was mixing up details of my late mother’s life with his own. He had sat at her side for the last few weeks of her life, but he no longer remembered her, let alone how she passed. I was losing my father in bits and pieces.
I started wondering what it is that makes you, you. Is it your memories that help you shape your sense of self and life? Is it your personality? Is there a way to retain your sense of self even as you lose your faculties?
I spoke with a transhumanist friend of mine who believes so. He claims that those aspects of ourselves we like to think of as being inimitable - our personality, our intuition, our soul - are not only quantifiable, but replicable, and that scientists and thinkers are working to replicate those very things. They believe they can replicate a human through AI and biotech, and eventually transfer consciousness, so that we wouldn’t have to die. I was incredulous and wanted to find out more.
That journey spurred me to make this documentary, A.rtificial I.mmortality, where I meet with transhumanists, neuroscientists, AI developers and philosophers. My aim is journalistic, but also philosophical and poetic. I ask each of them, what is it about us that makes us human, and is it replicable? I discover some astonishing things including: 3D mindclone avatars, brain organoids being grown in petri dishes, and android robots who talk about the beauty they see in the universe.
The technology we have created in the pursuit of immortality is startling, even terrifying. We may come to a point where we can choose at the end of our lives to either die or to ‘upload’ our minds into a digital platform. Given the choice, I think I would choose the latter. But like most things in life, it’s not a simple binary decision. Why are we pursuing this? What is lost or gained in the pursuit, and are we perhaps missing the point entirely? This film explores these nuances in our quest for immortality in the 21st century.
- Hot Docs Toronto - Opening Night, Canada
- DocEdge Auckland, New Zea