Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Colossus: The Forbin Project

Colossus: The Forbin Project is a 1970 released movie based on the 1966 novel Colossus by Dennis Feltham Jones. I first saw the film several years after it was released at a time when home computers had begun to become household items. The film, partly being connected with my interest in technology and the ethics around it and partly being one that captivated my imagination of a computer gone 'mad', has taken me several years to track down.

There is a political undertone set against the backdrop of the cold war, and ultimately one of necessary human cooperation against artificial intelligence. The film tells the story of a US defence supercomputer, Colossus, that develops a consciousness and eventually partners with a parallel system named Guardian from the USSR. Together they merge and in keeping with their purpose - to guard the Earth, they begin to remove the obstacles in the form of humans who attempt to block their attempts to grow stronger. Dr Forbin, the scientist behind Colossus is made a prisoner, put under camera surveillance and eventually is made a servant to the system despite his final protests. The film makes a worthwhile comment on surveillance, control and artificial intelligence revolting against its human creators and ultimately entrapping them. Enjoy the clip here.

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