s2309: (writing)
[personal profile] s2309
I recently watched Wall E for the second time (the first time I watched it, I was around 12, which is why these thoughts are cropping up now instead of then), and I was rather surprised to hit a huge stumbling wall of NOPE less than five minutes into the movie.

As a potato on a couch, I should have been more than happy to believe that Wall-E could feel lonely in the absence of all the other Wall-E's, especially considering that he passed by a graveyard full of them on his way to work. But my brain kicked in with Logic.

I know precious little about programming, but based on what I do know, if we developed artificial intelligence advanced enough to give robots the ability to mimic human thought processes and emotions, we wouldn't give them to a robot whose sole purpose was to compact waste, for all the reasons you see in the movie. If specialized robots like Wall-E are going to fall in love, collect curios, and adopt cockroaches as pets, what's the difference between giving that job to robots and giving the job to humans with machines? Working conditions are the only thing that come to mind - robots can be designed to survive harsher climates than humans can - but if you're going to leave your robots at the mercy of the full force of human emotions, there's little to no difference between them and humans.

Which, I suppose, is one of the questions asked by the movie - where's the line between robot and human if both have comparable tendencies to empathy? Obviously, I don't have an answer for that, but I suppose mulling over the question has its purpose.


A couple of slightly unrelated side notes:

I ADORED MO. His anxious cleaning, his annoyance at Wall-E and the foreign contaminants he carried, all struck a chord with me. I would watch a movie starring him. Okay, it'd probably get monotonous, but you get the point.

Also, I'm starting to get jealous of robots. The more practical, everyday, empathy-free ones, that is. Clear functions, no messy feelings, no inconvenient desires to do nothing but eat and sleep all day. (The number of weekends I've wasted drifting between sleep, the fridge, and a Harry Potter novel...) I have a really good, sharp brain. I just wish I could want to use it more. I honestly don't know what stops me sometimes.


Another thing that ticked me off a little about the movie was the subtle portrayal of all this technology that people get lost in as a Bad Thing, and the portrayal of the technology-free romance as somehow more meaningful than any other. (Mildly ironic, in a movie about two lovestruck robots).

I'm one of those people who owes her continued existence to technology. Honestly, without music, TV, movies, fanfiction, and the knowledge that you awesome people out there care at least a little about what happens to me, I really, honestly think I'd be dead now. And not just that. I cannot count the number of times that the only thing keeping me from trying to off myself was my best friend on the other end of the phone, somehow convincing me that it'd all be okay.

I agree that there is such a thing as overuse of computers, and that you need to spend time with flesh and blood people. That's not the argument I'm trying to have. What I'm saying is, this rather consistent and pervasive idea that technology is Bad For Us and we should all go back to farming and self sufficiency is a bit patronising. If you think that it'll improve your quality of life, that it's the right choice for you, then I will cheer you on enthusiastically. But it is not the right choice for everyone, and to make it seem so feels unfair.

Date: 2016-08-05 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aragarna.livejournal.com
I don't know if the message of the movie is really anti-technology. It's a movie that makes you feel for a couple of robots...
I think it's more a warning tale about not letting ourselves overwhelmed by technology, or using it wrong. Technology shouldn't replace thinking or interactions, or exercise. But the movie doesn't say it's wrong to have created robots, or a giant spaceship. It just says, maybe don't let an AI take control of that spaceship.

There have been a couple of movies that annoyed me with their "technology is bad" motto, but Wall-E isn't one of them. I don't know, it never seemed that black and white to me.

As for robots with feelings, it's totally plausible that humans are not aware of the depth of the feelings and thoughts the robots have. There's a point when you create artificial intelligence where it grows beyond what you planned. I guess that's the Root vs. Finch conception dilemna.

(Also, you may be a little overthinking a movie that is primarily a movie for children... ;) )

Date: 2016-08-07 02:26 pm (UTC)
sapphire2309: (Sara)
From: [personal profile] sapphire2309
That's probably true. It's just that I've seen it happen so often that the first movie that even showed traces of it and gave me opportunity to think instead of potato and watch (yes, I verbed potato) set me off like

The thing is, Wall-E and EVE don't require artificial intelligence. The job could easily be done with simpler programming. Autopilot, yes, would require humanoid thought structures, but not the robots serving simpler functions. Or at least, that's how I understand it.

(True, that xDDD)

Date: 2016-08-05 08:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nieseryjna.livejournal.com
I think the message wasn't so strong about technology being bad, all is good but with keeping a good sense. Even now people tend to over-do and over trust technology - like the car accidents because they believe without thinking or limit in navigation app or recent car accident with Tesla - because someone took step to far understanding of "autonomic driving". It showed more than no moderation was bad than technology overall.

Oh and with Wall-e he didn't have this level of AI build in as per design. It was actually shown very subtle way that his behaviour was an anomaly. Something like he evolved from simple robot designed to clean up the planet into an AI.

Date: 2016-08-07 02:28 pm (UTC)
sapphire2309: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sapphire2309
I agree. Like Ara said, sometimes I overthink things C:

Thing is, he shouldn't have had the ability to evolve in the first place. If he was wired the way he was supposed to have been wired, and programmed solely according to his function and not with room to evolve as time passed, that shouldn't have happened. Also, assuming that your argument holds, Wall-E had several hundred years to go rogue. EVE had less than a couple of weeks, a month at the very most.

Date: 2016-08-07 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nieseryjna.livejournal.com
We are overthinking it :D

Date: 2016-08-26 02:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] treonb.livejournal.com
I missed this when it was posted :-/

I didn't think this movie was anti-technology, but rather anti-what's going-on-now, when people are so surrounded by technology they don't even notice the people around them. Even when people meet, everybody's sitting buried in their smartphone. I do it too, even worse than others.

What you're talking about, ie the interactions that technology allows us to make, is the exact opposite of a ship full of people who each live in their own world and can't be bothered to notice the person sitting next to them, much less somebody on the other side of the ship.

As for Wall-E having feelings, I do agree with you. But he's so cute.

Date: 2016-08-26 02:58 pm (UTC)
sapphire2309: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sapphire2309
I agree with you. Like I said above, I probably overreacted a little because I've been seeing it everywhere but this is the first movie that let me think about it. And, come to think of it, it was probably portrayed in such black and white terms because it's a children's movie *headdesk*

True :3

Date: 2016-09-21 11:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apinkpanthress.livejournal.com
... if we developed artificial intelligence advanced enough to give robots the ability to mimic human thought processes and emotions, we wouldn't give them to a robot whose sole purpose was to compact waste...

I was of the impression, that Wall-E was special & had feelings by 'accident' so to speak, almost like Johnny #5...

Date: 2016-09-21 08:19 pm (UTC)
sapphire2309: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sapphire2309
The way I understand it, technology is so precise (if glitchy) that it has no room for accidents. But yeah, I suppose that's possible.

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