ROBOT PLANET / CERT: E / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: PHILIP GARDINER / STARRING: DICKSON GREY, RAZOR KEEVES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Robot Planet isn’t a sci-fi invasion flick, but instead a documentary looking at the rise of the automaton in the world. There’s a focus on how things can go wrong with this advance in technology, be it with the replacement of human labour or AI being used to fight wars.
The truth, it seems, can be more fantastical than fiction as we learn about nano-robots, tiny DNA-created cells that can be used to repair problems in bodies. As the research continues, who knows where scientists will go with this. This may be a non-fiction film, but there’s enough ideas here for screenwriters to work on for years.
Perhaps more terrifying than any horror film, being told that there are people working on a self-learning AI that could very well decide that the human race is a threat to the planet (now where would they get that idea?) and wipe us out. The late Stephen Hawking had already voiced concern on developing such AI as it would soon advance itself far greater than human regular evolution.
Even without getting to the fear of robots taking over the world and wiping us out, there’s the fact that we’re being replaced by them on an almost daily basis as automated systems take over in the workplace. It’s not something that will leave you feeling cheery, that’s for sure.
It’s not all sinister, though, as the history of the term and development from clockwork and magnetic Victorian fancies progressed to the mechanical marvels we know today. There’s also a section on the rise of Hitler and how he used similar psychological traits to rise to power. Something that’s very relevant with our current political climate.
Although the visuals match the narration, it often feels as though it is library footage. There are some mesmerising moments though in a Koyaanisqatsi style. The serious, lifeless delivery of the narration takes some getting used to, but the information - which is the whole point of the documentary - is fascinating and will startle and maybe even disturb. Well worth a watch if you’re a conspiracy theorist.