Climate Change and Science fiction: Artificial Intelligence
Last week I watched in the TV this film from the beginning of this millennium (2001) Artificial Intelligence. .
As usual, I enjoyed the film. The concept of the robot wanting to become human and the limits of humanity is always a fruitful subject. It was brilliantly covered in Asimov’s novella Bicentennial Man, filmed two years before; although loaded in this case with the emotional charge of a child and the cruelty of a bunch of fearful humans towards the robots (the scene of the mix between roman circus and rodeo with the only amusement of destroying undefended old robots).
The final robot victory does not seem a consequence of any war but just a better adaptation to difficult circumstances, making it more interesting. Two personal comments: the role of the film for me is the teddy bear, and the robots are too perfect, even too perfect to be human.
Regarding climate change (this is the reason of this post) it has an indirect but noticeable presence, as Manhatan is underwater at the initial time in the film. So dramatic sea level increase is supposed more or less in 2100 (this is my educated guess). The “small contradiction comes just later, when all this water over Manhattan freezes in an apparent very cold climate. How it is possible to have everything frozen in New York but at the same time a sea level of a very warm climate, and all this in a 2000 year period. The only reasonable explanation is that Hollywood loves freezing New York.
The end could also be correlated with climate change somehow. The humans have disappeared leaving the planet to very polite robots. They do not seem angry with humans nor interested in their destruction, so it seems only a question of adaptation to catastrophic circumstances, and surely there have been severe climate changes as shown in Manhattan. So the film could suggest a complete destruction of human beings by climate change, or maybe it was necessary to get rid of the humans to get the final recognition of humanity for the robot-child.