another theory about the back story behind the Engineers4,639 Views14 RepliesAdd A Reply
Hi All! First time poster, please be gentle!
So I have been pondering the back story of the franchise for a while and find that Promethius and Covenent really help crystalize ideas for the back story, let me try to sumerize here:
The Engineers are basically highly advanced NeoLudites. Notice that thier technology, the ships etc, are based on engineered biology, there are almost no machines. This is the central plot point in the series, and explains every thing else.
They fear AI (just like many folks in our society do). They are afraid of being passed and replaced by robots, machines, and AI. They are an ancient and highly advanced race, obviously, and could make robots as complex as David, if they desired, but they do not. I think that they are essentially trying to create thier god, through seeding planets condusive to life as they know it, with the black goo. They find such worlds, and seed them, and then return hundreds of thousands of years later to see how life evolved. Most of the time, they life is "inferior" to them in some way (as humans were). So the Engineers return to those worlds to wipe out the experiment and start fresh, as they were trying to do to earth.
The accident that prevented them from wiping out humans 2,000 years ago, was the fatal error in thoer plans. It allowed humans to advance enough to create the very type of AI that the Engineers were trying to avoid. Note that they tried to wipe out humans at a state where it was clear they were on a path to technological development, but early enough human history that we had not yet created advanced machines and AI. This is consistent.
When David returned to the Engineer home world, he must have made a transmission to the Engineers, probably something along the lines of "I have found your god". They would have all gathered in the landing area (as they did) in order to see this rare and meaningful achievement. David knew they would do this and saw it as a way to get them all in one place to bomb them. The ironical part, is that David, and AI was in fact the god they were trying to create in a sense, just not the one they were hoping for. He, like them, now wanted to "wipe the slate clean" and take up the evolution of his form of life.
Perhaps the Engineers had realized that they had reached the limit of what they, as a species were capable of in terms of technical advancement, without using machines and AI, and so were trying to "engineer" or evolve new biological, intelligent life that was better, and smarter than themselves, through seeding many planets and "playing the odds" that eventually a superior race would evolve, that they could then use to help them advance. In the end they were thwarted by the very thing they were trying to avoid (AI, machines, David..).
I would love to hear your thoughts, and my apologies if these ideas have already been posted a million times!
Alienfan1980. I am relatively new here as well. Your ideas seem entirely plausible to me.
R Scott said something recently about the Engineer ships returning to this planet on a regular basis, so that may be the reason they were all gathered outside and seemed to be the Juggernaut welcoming committee, just before David splashed goo all over them. He also said they would return soon to find what David had done!
Very interesting ideas. I can see where you are coming from. In Prometheus the Engineer seems offended to see David. However it wouldn't seem very smart of them to create life more advanced than themselves. Even in Blade Runner humans were smart enough to give replicants a limited lifespan. I can see you would like to develop the AI storyline even further. Great first post :-)
it's interesting you say that, I noticed the reaction of the Engineer to David as one initially of admiration, he placed a hand on Davids head and almost smiled at him. I think the engineer was conflicted at that moment, seeing the potential that David represented, as a superior form of intelligence (the "god" the Engineers were trying to create), yet he also, like the other Engineers, realized the threat that David posed, as a machine with AI. So he had to destroy the thing he admired. I love the conflict that brews inside the characters of this story.
I also think that the huge ship seen in Covenent is basically one of the ships that "gave birth" to ships like the jugernaut. The jugernaut was, in sense, returning home to it's mother, when it returned to that planet. It gives new meaning to the phrase "mother ship" I suppose. I think David, when he explored the Engineers culture when he was on board the juggernaut, realized that they were trying to create their god (since he did not exist other wise), and so decided to adopt that purpose as his own, and become god himself.
Welcome and great work!!
I love your angle regarding the Engineers fearing AI, and trying to engineer organic intelligent life-forms!!
I would guess then that the Engineers are going to feel even more validated in their aversion towards AI when they find out what David has done on Paradise!
exactly, as I see it, the franchise is essentially about the battle between biological evolution and machine intelligence
perhaps the Engineers thought they could much more easily "tame" an evolved race with greater capabilities than they, than an AI. Perhaps they would work to guide the evolution of a promising seed race, that seemed to be evolving high intelligence, in a way so that race would serve the needs of the engineers. This could mirror the arrogance that David's creator had in thinking David would serve him?
I thought the black goo was a form of AI from what we saw in the extras for Covenant and Covenant itself? Correct me if I'm wrong because I'm unsure and not trying to cause consternation! I'm just a bit confused, if this is true then the AI theory might not be relevant!
I really like this perspective on the Engineers. It's simple, yet goes with all of the motifs in the franchise. It also sounds like what Ridley Scott is interested in portraying (the AI vs evolution/or maybe the same thing). I forgot where I read it, but it said the Engineers had helped humanity along the way with technology and intelligence (or something along those lines). That would fit that they returned periodically to make adjustments or progression if everything is going well. I like the idea of seeding many planets as "playing the odds." Although, now I'm thinking that sounds too much like "quantity over quality." If creating a new form of life on a planet was so pertinent, I would think they would invest more time and effort into guiding the evolution of these creations.
I like your perspective on this though. Very thought provoking.
@alienfan1980 - I got the exact same impression when the last Engineer 'Bob' almost seemed to smile at David, before ripping his head off! Great post, as I also believe the Engineers have a strong aversion to AI, too. I hope to see more about why they do, in further installments of the franchise. Up Voted!!
would their fear of AI possibly have come from having done something similar in their own history? we see stuff like terminator and the matrix and ok they are different films but the premise is the same. I believe many scientist and experts in that field believe that creating AI would be a dangerous route to go down as a computer that can think for itself and be self aware, could very well view its creator as a threat. being self aware would create that primal urge to survive and what such a creation would do to prolong its own existence is unkown so hence may view us as a threat. is it possible the engineers, millennia before they started seeding worlds had dabbled in AI and it reeked havoc amongst them and possibly led to a war? they have possibly managed to wipe the threat out (or maybe not) but have gotten to the stage they feel safe. they have seen how manking is evolving and can see where we are headed and that AI is something that they perceive as a path we will eventually take so they planned to stop this.
yes the engineer did def seem to smile and look upon david with positive emotion, then almost like someone had slapped him to his senses, proceeded to rip his head off and use it to kill the creator.
great thread, gets the synapsis working
It's definitely plausible, and a common theme in sci fi. They took a similar angle in the Dune universe, where AI is abhorrent and human 'mentats' fulfil the computing role instead. In Neuromancer they have the 'Turing Police' whose purpose is to stop AIs from getting too smart.
But did David really announce his arrival? Or was the crowd already there to welcome the scorpion ship?
"Look upon my Works, ye Mighty and despair!"
He's so vain, he wouldn't feel the need to talk to them in person. There's enough going on in his head to bother with that. His bombs are message enough.
Great thread and great thoughts. Love all this. Good work!
Nice to see some SPAM bump a Post i Missed...
I think its interesting to Ponder Different Reasons, and i welcome others opinions... so before i start to give my TWO Cents please dont interpret this as me FORCING my idea/theory or disrespecting anyone else.
In a Nutshell i think your on point alanfan1980, however.... i think we need to consider what AI is!
A lot of times its connected to Artificial Intelligence as in a Robot/Intelligence that is Created from NONE Natural Means!
I think what Prometheus/RS was trying to show is to look BEYOND a Machine...
Artificial... something that is Not Naturally Occurring.
Intelligence.... something that has the ability to Perform complex Tasks to a Level that is near PAR or beyond PAR of a Human.
David is a Humanoid made in our Image he looks like us, but he is SUPERIOR but the difference is he was NOT Created Naturally he is Artificial as in his Construction from Synthetic Material.
Baty is a Humanoid made in our Image he looks like us, but he is SUPERIOR but the difference is he was NOT Created Naturally he is Artificial as in he was Engineered from Genetic Material.
When talking about the Engineers, we had Ridley Scott call the Planet 4 Engineers the Originals, he also said that Batty and Racheal were also AI.
So in CONTEXT to the Franchise the AI aspect goes beyond just Robotics...
The Franchises touches up on Creation, Sub-Creation and the Creating of something that can become Sentient, and the Hubris of his... especially if said Creation is Superior and can Procreate.
Bladerunner is exactly the Same..... Replicants are Engineered Humanoids that have Superior Abilities but they have Limited Life-Span to Protect Mankind from them EVER becoming Sentient and Overthrowing Mankind.... They also CANT Procreate... but we discover that Racheal can.
So the same Themes apply with Prometheus... Knowledge is a Powerful Tool in the Franchises too..
If David had lacked the Free-will he did, and ability to feel Pride and Superior in himself, as opposed to Walter who lacks as much Free-will and Serves.... then we would not have the Xenomorph Threat!
The same thing applies to the Bible, and Paradise Lost, where Lucifer is Essentially like David and Micheal is like Walter. Its the ability to FEEL Self Worth and Pride and be aware of your Superiority and Free-will to do so, that lead to Lucifer's Fall.
IF God had created Lucifer to have NO such Traits then he would NEVER had Rebelled.... the same applies to Adam and Eve it was the Forbidden Fruit that gave them Forbidden Knowledge that caused them to be Fallen.
Similar Tales apply to various Religion and Mythos which include that about Prometheus. so these are the KEY themes at play.
The Engineers wanted us Destroyed because we had become Sentient and Rebellious and behaving in ways that concerned and displeased them, they would Foresee the Potential for us to become more and more Sentient and maybe worry about IF we would Evolve to Higher Level of Technology and Knowledge... they tried to Guide us back to their Ways... but we DID-NOT change and KILLED the Emissaries and so they decided to Eradicate us.
We are just seeing the same Process/Hubris repeated on Multiple Layers.
The Reason the Engineer seemed to feel a sense of Wonder at David and then Pity is LIKELY because those Engineers are the same as David (well Replicants) they are Engineered Superior Engineers created for a Purpose.
The Engineer likely realized through their own Past/Actions of what PATH would lie ahead for David if he was NOT stopped. They could not allow for a Engineered Being like David to survive and have access to their Technology due to the Consequences..... The Engineer saw the Potential Hubris in this.... and he was NOT WRONG!
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017