This review was not written by a machine.
It’s a needless clarification now, but might not be before long.
The advents of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) have pervaded customer service, relationships, daily interactions with our now most ubiquitous devices and even movies, with attempts (we stress, attempts) to drive an AI to develop a cohesive film script now well publicised. Too the subject of recent Australian flick Machine, the matter is likewise well-explored in German documentary Hi, A.I.
Following a few strands of individuals’ experiences with AI, as with many technological advancements the industry where it is invariably first deployed is the adult realm. Chronicling one figure’s interactions with a blond, life-size figurine resemblant of the human form, Hi, A.I’s silent, corner-ridden observations do well to elucidate on how someone might form an emotional, ongoing attachment to a very intelligent, highly programmed piece of machinery.
Touching on the dimension of physical relations between humans and A.I. now more of a prospect than ever given developments in the field, aside the factory visuals hinting at the scale of potential production and a few asides there’s regretfully very little that unpacks this most interesting matter mostly alluded to throughout the film.
Resting on some stunning A.I. visuals, a thinly-legged machine making it’s way down a corridor was but one among many especial highlights. Wisely permitting a steady (yet never overwhelming) feed of commentary to linger over these images rather than pivoting to predictably less engaging faces to camera, when Hi, A.I. does switch things up or settles on some conference panel or other form of exposition the otherwise very welcome pacing grinds to a fair halt.
Shying away from overly explicit judgement as many accounts covering this field are want to do, Hi, A.I. can be read as a cautionary tale, tidings of welcome intrigue or, for those open to engaging with the speculation it invites, both.
Hi, A.I. screens as part of the Antenna Documentary Film Festival on October 25 at Paddington’s Chauvel Cinema & October 27 at Palace Verona and as part of the Transitions Film Festival on March 1, 2020 at Melbourne’s Cinema Nova