While the planet didn’t collapse in the year 2000, as some of us feared during the last days of 1999, we’re certainly getting closer to the futuristic world we used to think would only exist in movies. And as computers learn to do the unimaginable, Hollywood tags along: Sci-fi tales tackling the mystery of artificial intelligence (AI) are more relevant than ever.
The fascination we have for sentient machines also has a slightly morbid aspect to it, as most of the fictional AI heroes don’t end up using their inhuman powers to make it rain donuts and kittens — usually, the creation turns against the creator, because nothing’s scarier than the prospect of having been the engineers of our own destruction.
The release of Morgan this fall follows this popular path, but there seems to be more to its eponymous hero than just an out-of-control killing machine. The result of a next-generation genetics experiment, Morgan is a being that grows at an incredible speed, reaching her teens in just six months. But things go awry when she throws a tantrum and attacks one of her caretakers, so corporate troubleshooter Lee Weathers is sent to the facility to investigate the case. Despite her threatening powers, though, Morgan is fascinating and started out almost attaching — so here are 5 reasons why she’s a special kind of AI.
1. She’s Still Like A Child
The movie poster, while styled like a horror movie, shows her clutching a teddy bear. As she’s taught by the scientists who’ve created her, she starts out seeming relatable, if not vulnerable. Case in point, the first accident is described as a “tantrum,” not a voluntary attack.
2. She’s Evolving At A Crazy Rate
She might grow faster than any human being, but it’s clear that Morgan is still learning. It’s a double-edged sword, as she could master enough skills to become irreversibly dangerous, but it’s not set in stone what she will become.
3. She’s Got Friends
It’s not entirely clear from the trailer how much the fear ends up taking over from the friendship, but Morgan’s clearly had her happy days before freaking out, hanging out with the team at the lake. Establishing bonds also raises the trickier question of an AI’s status in comparison to humans: Can she just be shut down like a machine if the situation calls for it?
4. She Has A Connection With Nature
There’s something a bit philosophical in the setting of Morgan’s birth location in the middle of a forest — other than, you know, the need to hide this kind of crazy experiment from as many people as possible. The wilderness contrasts with the clean-cut concrete of the room she’s constrained in, but more than that it distances Morgan from a simple piece of technology. Far away from a world full of bleeping computers, an AI seeking purity in nature is like humanity come full circle.
5. Could She Reflect Other People?
This is about to get as trippy as the gifs above: From the visuals of the movie, it’s clear that the movie heavily plays on the stares, as if the characters were hoping to understand Morgan from looking deep into her eyes. But more than a staring contest, our two main characters standing on each side of a window introduce the idea of Morgan as a reflection. Could her telekinetic powers allow to play on people’s fears? Will she bring out the worst of the little assembly that has gathered around her in the middle of the woods?
Morgan is set for release September 2, 2016.
Will you go see Morgan? Who’s your favorite AI character?