A Discomfiting Resemblance
This post introduces my next one regarding AI; it expands on a subject I touched on in my last entry of June 16th: the mixed nature of our bodies, which are animal and mechanical and…something else, a divine question mark.
The image at the top is from Fritz Lang’s 1927 Metropolis, another Weimar masterpiece. Metropolis has a classic plot with a simple first layer, a clear-cut story of good and evil in the form of class struggle solved by the symbolic union of the elite and the proletariat. But it’s also about the ascendancy of machines/humans as machines, and on that theme it is much less straight-forward. As a critic writing for the Guardian put it in 2020, “Without machines we will die, suggests the film; with them we risk becoming less than human. Late capitalism; it’s a dilly of a pickle.”
If you haven’t seen this work of art, and want to, its free here. But the playful video below, one of the small beautiful creations made possible by YouTube, gets to another intense ambivalence that is also present in the film: the romance of feeling and unfeeling that so underlies human emotional life.
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