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While the cult-following of Joss Whedon stemmed from creation of TV hits such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, his time in the film industry has proven to be incredibly rewarding with his Academy Award-nominated blockbuster The Avengers. Though The Avengers isn’t Whedon’s only full-length feature it has given him the critical acclaim to earn notable film director status. So when Whedon says artificial-intelligence will dominate the future of movies, "In Joss We Trust".
Claiming that the future of movies will contain a whole lot of artificial-intelligence may seem like a ‘duh’ but Whedon actually has a very interesting idea of the quality of that A.I. We know the basic story. Man makes robot, robot becomes smarter than man, and therefore turns on man. Man somehow thinks of a way to stop the robot, but not without serious turmoil. Whedon explains that this progression has become "our new Frankenstein myth". And the robotic villain often pairs limitless intelligence with a mean streak.
But, in the case of Whedon’s new film The Avengers: Age of Ultron, the robotic take over is going down a different path. The story starts the same, with Tony Stark building a superhero substitute, Ultron to protect and serve mankind. Things go awry, and the robot decides that man is his worst enemy. But Whedon then explains in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that this is where the difference in his character lies. He says:
"I don’t remember seeing an artificial-intelligence movie where the robot is bonkers—the most emotionally unstable person in the film—and who has the knowledge of 3,000 years of recorded history and who is a pouty teen, all at the same time."
And that’s the key. Because we live in a world that is very connected to technology and advancement, so much so that creating the A.I. that turns on us isn’t the surprising element. But giving that robot human characteristics, so much so that he acts like a ‘pouty teen’ or is the ‘most emotionally unstable person in the film’ is when the idea becomes disturbingly intriguing.
I think this idea is becoming more and more explored, especially with our own obsessions with social media, and creating a human persona that exists within technology. If you think about it, A.I. would have access to stronger human emotional qualities more so now than ever before. Shout out to the "Be Right Back" episode on the UK show Black Mirror which explored that concept terrifyingly well. But there are limits, to how much human emotion a robot can demonstrate. Or at least we hope so. We’ll find out just how deep those robotic emotions with Ultron go in The Avengers: Age of Ultron hitting theaters May 1, 2015.