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ARTS & CULTUREFILM REVIEW
Reconstruction of Humankind by Artificial Intelligence? - I Am Mother
Lee Eun Seo  |  ohhenkwo68@korea.ac.kr
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승인 2019.10.30  14:55:36
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“To make a better human… I had to intervene, to elevate my creators.” A form of artificial intelligence (AI) in the movie I Am Mother tells her daughter this, revealing her ambition to reconstruct a better form of humankind. Over the past few years, AI has developed at a tremendous speed. Due to this, concerns regarding AI surpassing human intelligence have arisen, and some predict that AI will eventually dominate humans in the near future. The movie I Am Mother leads the audience to rethink whether humans and AI can coexist.

 
   
▲ Movie I Am Mother Poster
 
I Am Mother, directed by Grant Sputore and written by Michael Lloyd Green, is an Australian science fiction (SF) film, that was released on Netflix on June 7. The movie mainly deals with the issue of humanity by exposing the desire of Mother, who is the main character, to elevate humans. The movie questions the audience with other quotes and asks people to consider whether humans are losing their original personalities. The movie also has several twists, increasing the tension in the audience. The plot of the movie causes the audience to reflect deeply about humanity and themselves at the same time.

The main character, Daughter, is the only remaining human, who was created and raised by an AI mother called Mother, after the extinction of humankind. Mother teaches Daughter knowledge from all fields and constantly examines her. Later, Daughter encounters a mysterious woman from the outside world, where she has been taught that no creature could live because of severe contamination. Daughter suspects that Mother deceived her and gets to interact more with the mysterious woman. Daughter experiences several turning points in the movie during her endeavors to discover Mother’s secret.
 
Dialogue about Making New Humans

“Mothers need time to learn. Raising a good child, it’s no small task.” These words illustrate why Mother rejected Daughter’s request to produce brothers and sisters. The dialogue appears at the beginning of the movie, and it could be viewed as trivial at first glance. However, this is a key quote from Mother that reveals the reason for her behavior and attitudes within the movie. What the audience should take into consideration is the implied meaning of raising a good child for Mother.

Along with the quote above, Mother’s parenting style is another notable feature throughout the movie. She teaches Daughter various knowledge she has inside her memory banks and periodically has an examination to test what she has achieved. The reason why Mother strictly educates her daughter cannot be merely regarded as her own way of expressing love towards Daughter. Another reason why Mother’s maternal love was expressed in a rather unique way was because she was concealing her real intentions throughout the movie. After watching the entire film, the audience would find out the true reason why Mother had to deceive her daughter.

Mother’s initial duty was to create new humans after a massive human extinction. However, Mother interjected her own values and claimed that she would create a so-called superior human. However, it seems that Mother is not fulfilling her duties as she did not make any siblings for Daughter, which goes against what she said at the beginning of the movie – making “brothers and sisters” for Daughter. Is Mother’s reluctant attitude towards creating new humans related to her ambition of reconstructing a new form of humankind? Figuring out the real purpose of her behavior is another turning point for the viewers.
 
Mother’s Classes on Ethics

The scene when Mother asks Daughter about how she would solve an ethical dilemma illustrates the theme of the movie. In this scene, Daughter mentions a list of ethical scholars and their theories, mentioning the ideal moral standard for humans. Given that the main theme of this movie is about humanity, the lines by Daughter in this scene suggests the true ethical traits of humans for the viewers.

In addition, Mother asks Daughter what she would do when she encounters the same situation. This foreshadows what will happen to Daughter during the rest of the movie and how she will react when she meets the mysterious woman. “You don’t feel that every human has intrinsic value and an equal right to have life and happiness?” Mother’s question of her daughter in this scene indicates how Mother expected Daughter to behave. Moreover, after the audience finishes the movie, they are able to figure out one more reason why this scene about saving human lives was portrayed.

The Mysterious Woman

When Mother is asleep, Daughter hears the voice of a human from the outside part of her living area. This is a huge turning point for Daughter since she believed humans have already become extinct due to war. When Daughter hears the voice of a mysterious woman, who has been shot, she secretly lets the Woman in her living area. The appearance of the Woman introduces a huge mystery in Daughter’s life and causes the movie to take a new turn. From this point, Daughter’s trust in Mother starts waning.

The Woman warns Daughter “Droids don’t have emotions.” However, throughout the movie, it seems that Mother has affection for Daughter and all humans as well. Encountering the mysterious woman leads the audience to think about whether it is worth relying on a mysterious human more than the AI Mother because humans can feel emotions and droids cannot. In addition, the Daughter delivers a message to the viewers when she gives an answer to Mother’s ethical dilemma: “Are they good humans? Honest, dishonest? Lazy, hardworking?” Thus, the movie suggests that humans do not only have positive traits.

The director delivers a message to the audience that it is time for us to think deeply about whether we need to create a new form of humankind to make human actions more ethical. The movie allows the audience to reconsider what humanity is and to reflect on the behavior of humans. Throughout the entire film, the main characters also get to meet their own turning points to break out of their limited scope and adopt a new vision of the world.
 
 
Film Information

Title: I Am Mother
Running Time: 113 minutes
Release Date: June 7, 2019 (Netflix)
Director: Grant Sputore Cast: Clara Rugaard, Luke Hawker, Rose Byrne (voice), Hilary Swank
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller
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