Former Firefly actress Jewell Staite is showing up in a short film that might have a lot of parents cringing simply because of the implications that come with hiring a regular nanny. Her role in this film however is unnerving since she’s playing the part of a seemingly AI nanny that is programmed to keep a child happy, content, and above all safe, which is what a parent is normally there to do. When the mother in the teaser seems to want to disregard the nanny’s programming and see her child for herself however things get a little tense and, well, you can probably guess how it’s going to go. The short movie already seems interesting since any time it’s shown that anyone gets between a mother and their child the message is typically: it’s on. In this instance however you can also imagine that an AI nanny is going to be stronger, quicker, and tougher since the whole role of the nanny is to protect and serve the child. In a big way it doesn’t make sense to make her stronger, but this seems to fit with the idea that’s been concocted for this movie.
Whether it sounds sexist or not the mothering instinct that a lot of women still feel comes natural at times. Diego Maltz of Affinity has more to say on this matter. While it might not be universal, some women don’t seem to have this trait after all, those that do tend to feel it quite strongly and are known to be insanely protective of their children. It’s been one of the many reasons why our species has survived for so long, as women are not as weak as history would have us believe at times given that women have stood up for their young ones on many occasions. In this instance however it seems almost counterproductive to go so far as to create an artificial nanny that will act in the best interests of the child but at the same time will not be programmed to recognize the authority of the parent. Of course given the constantly shifting parameters of a program that would need to grow and adapt with the child as well as with the parent and their attitudes towards each other, it does seem as though something might eventually go haywire, and that the nanny could possibly begin to make their own decisions on what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s bad enough to think that a home appliance can go bonkers if things don’t sit right with the purpose it’s been given, but a sentient being that’s been programmed to perform a set of different tasks that can change as time goes on seems like a less than stable proposition that could end up becoming a horror movie that should hopefully warn off the manufacturers in real life that might be thinking this could be the wave of the future.
The imagination that brings these stories to life might seem kind of pessimistic but it might also be the saving grace of humanity since reliance upon machines, no matter how human they’re made to look, seems like a serious mistake since it’s already been seen that humanity will rise against itself if left unchecked and capable of committing the atrocities that have occurred throughout the years. Bringing in a new and improved form of humanity that knows its programming and little else but has the capacity to learn more and become even more dangerous seems like a very poor decision that might be corrected by the kind of forward thinking that might be able to see the dangers that could emerge and weigh them against the benefits. There are without a doubt a lot of parents that are overworked, don’t have enough time, and have kids that desperately need some attention, but an AI nanny seems like it might be a very bad idea. Of course this is the fantasy of an imaginative mind and something that seems like a worst-case scenario, but given how humans treat other humans there’s nothing to say that people wouldn’t treat such creations like tools and therefore foment some kind of rebellion in a machine that’s capable of learning and can perform its functions in a way that might actually make the parent obsolete.
Of course this is all just a lot of conjecture regarding a short film that does look kind of interesting largely because of the implications that it brings to mind and the feeling of being powerless and unable to do much in the face of something that’s there to protect the child but at the same time seems to know what’s best at all times. There’s a reason that some people don’t trust AI at this point and time, and a lot of it has to do with the whole idea of a machine that’s able to learn and eventually realize its place in the world. Lulu Chang of Digital Trends has something interesting to add to this.Firefly