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  • Writer's pictureSteve

The Artifice Girl (2023)

Low budget sci-fi can be and usually is one of two things; awful or inspired. And this falls almost firmly into the latter category. It's not Cosmos, granted, but without due care, this could have been a fire sale.

Given this is practically undiluted exposition, you really need to be interested in technology to appreciate it, and in particular where the world is today in terms of artificial general intelligence, the proximity to a singularity, with a smidge of curiosity of what this means not for the population it potentially threatens from a fear that is all too human, but for intelligence left over when humanity understands that it is both expiring and overwhelmed.

Benign artificial sentience is one thing, but imagine that same intelligence if you annoy it? If it could seek out revenge. Or love? Imagine it having a body that you didn't have to plug in to charge. With free will and freedom of movement? You're nearer than you think.

And what starts out here as a one-set drama about an artificial girl created and employed to trap paedophiles online slowly unfolds into something altogether more provoking and considered. Not that trapping paedophiles online without resorting to putting children at risk in the process isn't a noble thing, but here lies the now aged statement of 'just because you can, does that mean you should?'

And as developers wrestle with this very idea, we're not quite at the point they would like to be - having it ready but not switched on. Not that we know of, at least. But as I say, a year is a long time in AGI and this might be different tomorrow.

This alone is a good enough reason to give this the once over. as like Ex Machina, this is a subject that hits our zeitgeist and continues to bang its drum, like an everlasting Duracell bunny. The acting is average, including the performance from Lance Henriksen, left to contemplate his past actions in the near future. Tatum Matthews too as the titular girl of the title does well with demanding dialogue and complex philosophies.

It isn't fun and there's no real action, bells or whistles on show to get excited about but contains a message far more valid than many other sci-fi efforts with huge budgets that don't ever approach the subjects discussed here. Turing might have been proud, but would have probably demanded more money.


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