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.
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