Our festival programmer Rob van den Bergh held an interview with Sam and Kailey Spear, better known as the Spear Sisters, filmmakers of the short film CC. Read the first part of the interview here! Their film CC is part of the short film program Artificial Identities. This program takes place on Sunday 11 November and starts at 17:30 in LUX 2. Tickets are available here.
First of all, the theme of our festival this year is artificial intelligence and of course, your film is about that. What drew you to this topic?
We were so happy to hear that the theme of this year’s festival is AI! We are fascinated by the relationship we humans have with this technology and the speed at which it is being integrated into our everyday lives. We are very grateful for the opportunity to join the larger discussion around AI that you are facilitating with your festival.
What really grabbed our attention was watching the stream of AI technology that is being developed to mimic human behavior. Thinking about where this kind of technology is headed brought up a lot of questions for us. What gifts could this type of technology give us? What problems may arise? What ethical questions need to be asked before this technology enters homes as a consumer product?
We specifically started thinking about what this type of technology would look like if used for childcare. In our short film, we imagined a scenario: An Artificially Intelligent Device has been designed specifically to help parents take care of their children. In this imagined future, you can buy or rent an AID to be a nanny in your home. Now, this scenario raises some questions, for example, would you get one of these nannies for your child? Who now is the better caregiver for your child, you or this AID nanny? How much responsibility should you pass over to this AID? Is there a line that we should not let technology cross? Now is the time to ask these questions. We need to look at where AI technology is headed in childcare and set boundaries.
In many ways CC is a science-fiction in a classic sense: using a futuristic concept to ask questions of who we are and where we are going. Where does your interest in the genre stem from?
We love to think of the great possibilities of human innovation. What will be created next? What will the future look like? We are interested in the specifics of what kind of new technology will be created but, even more so, we are interested in looking at how this technology will affect us as humans in this world. Will it change how we interact? Will it change our values? What new pressures, what new ethical dilemmas?
For CC we wanted to give the audience an opportunity to think about what it would be like to be a parent using an all-encompassing childcare aid device. How does this device help and what new personal pressures does it introduce to this parent’s life?
We have always found science fiction to be important. It allows us not only to look into the future and imagine possibilities and innovations to strive for, it allows us to prepare ourselves for or prevent issues that may arise. Science fiction creates a safe place to test out these possible futures.
How likely do you think the scenario of your film could become real? Do you expect that nanny robots will become commonplace?
Although we do not find it likely for a robot exactly like CC to become commonplace we do believe that, if things keep progressing as they have been, something with many of her childcare capabilities will. There are already devices that will order your diapers for you; that will monitor your child’s sleep; that will sing your child to sleep; that will play with your child and teach them. It is not beyond reason that a more complex and unified form of robotic childcare will be created to take care of children. We just very much hope that they don’t have CC’s programming!
The film CC is part of the short film program Artificial Identities.