Alien: Covenant
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Exploring human nature through the eyes and minds of synthetics- should Alien go this route?

dk

Aug-19-2017 6:15 PM

As much as I like the Xenos/Neos etc, I really enjoy how non humans make observations about human behavior and even conduct themselves as more humane/human at times. Cases in point- David and Walter; Spok and Data from the ST shows and countless Twilight Zones and Outer Limits episodes. Blade Runner comes to mind as well. Would you like to see this focus continue?

46 Responses to Exploring human nature through the eyes and minds of synthetics- should Alien go this route?

I Moon Girl

Aug-19-2017 6:36 PM

I want the Engineers perspective.  I want to know why they wanted to kill us and then why they didn't in the end.  I also want to just know more about them.  I don't want a whole movie filled with the Engineers perspective, but some more info would be great!

The AI perspective is interesting though.  I have never thought of AI as thinking they are superior to humans because they never die.  That topic is addressed at the intro to A:C too.  It is an interesting perspective that I hope meets it's maker to the Engineers in Alien: Awakening.  David needs to find out he's not superior just because he was "born" and never "dies".  He doesn't understand how lucky some people think he is and he just wants to kill 'em all.  He has no compassion for others and he has few morals.

David 8's were taken out of production according to Walter because they made people feel uncomfortable.  Apparently there was no complaints of murder or arrogance (The David we know does this).  The creative side made the David 8's feel to human to the owners and didn't always follow orders.  The David 8's would definitely have to be taken away.

The thing with David's perspective is that it was, in a sense, inherited from Peter Weyland.  Weyland had the same attitude as David.  As the sayings go, "Like father, like "son"" or... "the apple doesn't fall to far away from the tree."

So, are AI's like dogs?  As the saying goes, "There is no such thing as a bad dog.  There is only a bad owner."  I see a lot of Peter Weyland in David, even though we haven't seen much of Peter Weyland.

 

dk

Aug-19-2017 6:45 PM

I Moon Girl Again, interesting points. I did not care for Prometheus, but after AC, I am open to exploring the Engineers' world. I think it could work with exploring the human condition as well if written well.

Phobos was interesting in that Walter did not feel superior since feeling so requires an ego that is a human construct that he doesn't possess.

To paraphrase what you wrote regarding the David 8 model and Weyland- garbage in, garbage out?

 

joylitt

Aug-19-2017 6:53 PM

It is time to find a balance. A Good recipe for the next movie would be:

30% Human element; 20% Xenomorph factor ; 30% Engineers factor; 20 % synthetics factor

I think Covenant was 85% synthetics;  5% Humans 10%; xenomorph, neomorph etc;  0.01 % Engineers (trace amount)

Covenant is the most AI centric movie the franchise will ever need. Actually it is an overdose of AI. In the future, the AI dose should be no more than 1/4 of the formula

dk

Aug-19-2017 6:57 PM

joylitt Interesting. How would you apply your formula to the Qudrilogy and Prometheus?

joylitt

Aug-19-2017 7:04 PM

I Moon Girl "So, are AI's like dogs?  As the saying goes, "There is no such thing as a bad dog.  There is only a bad owner."  I see a lot of Peter Weyland in David, even though we haven't seen much of Peter Weyland."

This is so true! Weyland was such a bad father and such a bad robotist! Issac Assimov would bash all of his creations with a baseball bat. Do the 3 Laws of robotics ring any bell?

First Law: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

In the Assimov universe there were still rogue robots and conflicts with the 3 laws, However there was always someone smart enough to find a fix.

dk

Aug-19-2017 7:13 PM

joylitt Asimov! That seems to suggest a lean toward AI exploration? 

30% Human element; 20% Xenomorph factor ; 30% Engineers factor; 20 % synthetics factor

I would go as far to suggest 40% Human element; 10% Xenomorph factor ; 25% Engineers factor; 25 % synthetics factor.

joylitt

Aug-19-2017 7:18 PM

dk I think the formula in all of those movies have remained pretty much well balanced, Covenant is the first movie that really alters this balance. Some may find this interesting, but the Box office returns speak for themselves. I would say the first 4 movies and Prometheus have a much bigger share of the human factor, although it was approached from different perspectives. Aliens got a little bit more conventionally warmly human through Ripleys/Newt relationship. Alien 3 and Resurrection have a lot of humanity in them too. The AI element dropped in Alien 3 and spiked again in Resurrection. And Prometheus had a more philosophical approach, which was also very human.

dk

Aug-19-2017 7:22 PM

joylitt Fair enough. I suggest that the AI can address both philosophical and human condition issues.

joylitt

Aug-19-2017 7:24 PM

dk Oh no, I never suggested to make a movie influenced by Assimov. Obviosly the sythetics in the Alien universe are conceived more as automatons, in a way they are offshoots of the human psyque, something more akin to Pinocchio than to an Assimov robot. The formula that you propose sounds fine to me.

Batchpool

Aug-19-2017 7:28 PM

I take the approach of logical relevance when it comes to AI’s. The most basic programming is based on decisions made by knowing what action to take upon certain criteria, which are programmed criteria. A computer mind has to make decisions based upon the sum total of alternative programmed solutions. A human mind has the ability to create a solution to a problem from a more random framework of thinking. It can create a solution that is not based in prior knowledge and is more willing to just explore a possible solution by going completely off at a tangent and entering a surrealistic interpretation. The AI mind is imo shackled to a methodical approach. The big difference is when a decision has to be made upon what input information is the most relevant. A human can take onboard any information, in any random manner. But can an AI do that? Is an AI more likely going to pursue information that is programmable relevant, rather than a human mind which can take in the irrelevant and make the irrelevant relevant. I think this folly of programming can be used to explain David’s lack of looking more in depth of Daniels cabin in the woods. The AI mind, while explorative, will still keep to a relevant and logical path.

I don’t think AI has the same solution solving predictability path as a human which can be way more random.

I would like to see how things proceed on the AI mind, but it is ultimately predictable.

joylitt

Aug-19-2017 7:31 PM

I Moon Girl  going back to the dog comparison, in the movie David gives us a clear clue of his awareness that he is the product of his "upbringing" when he tells Daniels, referring to Origae 6: "I think if we are kind, it will be a kind world". Actually to me that is the best line in the whole film. It sounds much more genuine than any bombastic Percy Shelley quote.

I Moon Girl

Aug-19-2017 7:41 PM

joylitt

Yes, that is a great line.  That one really stuck out for me.

I Moon Girl

Aug-19-2017 7:42 PM

joylitt

How does that line lead to a direct connection to David's upbringing if you don't mind explaining that to me?

dk

Aug-19-2017 7:46 PM

Batchpool

I don’t think AI has the same solution solving predictability path as a human which can be way more random.

Thanks for the insights!

The movie might be able to get around the highlighted quote by attributing it to David's lack of up grades? An unforeseen evolutionary step of sorts?

joylitt

Aug-19-2017 8:01 PM

I Moon Girl Well I think he is comparing two undiscovered worlds" Origae 6 and the synthetics world. Obviously the synthetic world will be humanity's worst nightmare because humans were not kind to them.

dk

Aug-19-2017 8:06 PM

joylitt Well said. How would you imagine' David's interpretation of humanity's kindness or lack thereof to synthetics? Kindness is a human notion much like the concept of morality. Ethics might register better with David?

joylitt

Aug-19-2017 8:36 PM

Ever since we've been introduced to Prometheus, the acts of cruelty, lack of empathy and discrimination he has been subjected to have been clearly highlighted and they are not very different from similar acts affecting human minorities, for instance. In Prometheus, David is subjected to a big embarrassment in front of the crew when he is introduced by Weyland as a surrogate son who lacks a soul and who will never be able to appreciate humanity's spiritual quest. He is mocked by Holloway who tells him that he was created just because humans could do it. Even Shaw would have left him behind if he didn't talk her into taking him with her. In Covenant David reveals how bitter he really is about how he's been treated. He mentions he is not allowed to create. I can think about so many comparisons in society and in politics. Imagine if Albert Einstein had lived in a different political climate and was not allowed to create because as an immigrant he was not welcome in America. Would he have developed the atomic bomb for Germany maybe? 

dk

Aug-19-2017 8:42 PM

joylitt Thanks- it is great to see these concepts discussed on the forum!

ignorantGuy

Aug-20-2017 12:32 AM

joylitt

No, Shaw was expecting to die at the end of Prometheus and was skeptical about him after the squid incident (I would think she would have been about any thing related to Weyland). If anything she might have tough of him as some child (with the robot line). But by the Crossing the "relationship" seems to have evolved, maybe towards more understanding? But then he wanted to evolve her? What misogynistic piece of s**t would want that? 

 Albert Einstein was Jewish, so he emigrated to the US because of the Nazis and would definitely not worked on the A-bomb (for that you must have had pure Aryan blood, being member of the party). But your comparison applies way better to a certain Adolf Hitler, who in his youth wanted to become a professional painter but his ambitions were cut short because he failed the entrance exam to the Viennese  academy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paintings_by_Adolf_Hitler). So thanks that you reinforce in me that David is a space nazi robot.

dk

Aug-20-2017 12:42 AM

thanks that you reinforce in me that David is a space nazi robot.

Interesting. I didn't want to say it first but RS stated in the AC commentary that the final scene had a Hitleresque vibe that was toned down. Basically, he would be goose stepping up the hall among the 2000 cryo colonists. Check it if you think I am exaggerating. 

joylitt

Aug-20-2017 12:44 AM

[email protected] About Shaw and David. I was just referring to the fact that even the kindest person like Shaw would probably consider a synthetic nothing but a tool. And you are totally right, the depiction of David, with Wagner soundtrack and all is very reminiscent of the 3rd reich. I read somewhere that there was something else they cut from that last scene that was going even further into that direction.

dk

Aug-20-2017 12:47 AM

 joylitt Yep- it is in the director commentary.

joylitt

Aug-20-2017 12:52 AM

A madman inspired by beautiful classical music to embark in a genocide. 

joylitt

Aug-20-2017 12:52 AM

oops double post.

joylitt

Aug-20-2017 1:01 AM

"Basically, he would be goose stepping up the hall among the 2000 cryo colonists".... HELL NO!

That would have been comedy. That's what I mean sometimes Ridley's ideas can be a little bit out there.

ignorantGuy

Aug-20-2017 1:08 AM

joylitt

Well I'm not convinced and even that was the case why then not try to explain yourself before commiting genocide and "evolving" people? I know why because that would bore those that wanted carnage...

dk

Aug-20-2017 1:09 AM

joylitt

"Basically, he would be goose stepping up the hall among the 2000 cryo colonists".... HELL NO!

I only state the fact. It is there if you wish to check.

In hind sight and what is going on right now in the world, it may be for the best that it was toned down.

joylitt

Aug-20-2017 1:10 AM

[email protected] Do you think Hitler was telling people you are in this facility because I am going to gas you?

joylitt

Aug-20-2017 1:13 AM

dk I know. I read it somewhere before you told me. It's just in my mind it plays like a scene from a Mel Brooks movie.

dk

Aug-20-2017 1:15 AM

As far as David's experiments go, maybe the focus should look at Himler and Mengale.

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