Artificial Intelligence Is the Pinocchio Film of Our Time

Artificial Intelligence Is the Pinocchio Film of Our Time

At the core of most tales about androids and artificial intelligence lies a variation of the same question: what, if anything, makes these sentient, inorganic beings different from us? Flesh and biology aside, do they possess all that makes us human—are they, in all their hardware and programming, fundamentally the same? Steven Spielberg’s criminally underrated film A.I.: Artificial Intelligence is less concerned with this question than it is with questioning what obligation humans have for their “living” creations. It centers around a mecha (mechanical humanoid robot) named David (Haley Joel Osment) who is uniquely programmed with the ability to love. Stanley Kubrick, who originally conceived of the film and purchased the rights to its source material by Brian Aldiss, saw it as a Pinocchio story. Like Pinocchio, David is a manufactured object that suddenly dreams of becoming human.


There’s no shortage of Pinocchio films. 2022 alone gave audiences two productions of Pinocchio: A CGI-assisted live-action picture by Robert Zemeckis (simply titled Pinocchio), and Guillermo del Toro’s lively stop-motion wonder (also simply titled Pinocchio). The former was a visual spectacle, albeit a lifeless one that had too little to say to warrant its existence. The latter is a technical marvel, a product of love and wonder that places the time-old tale in Fascist Italy. Through varying approaches and tones, filmmakers have toyed with the story for over a century, but few if any are as bold as Kubrick and Spielberg’s reimagining of it into a futuristic sci-fi setting. With its focus on themes such as advanced technology and its consequences, the effects of global warming on society, and the place A.I. has in the future of our species, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence is not just a classic work from two of cinema’s most

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