Sunday, July 01, 2012
Prometheus: The Questions it Inspires
My husband and I went to see the movie Prometheus yesterday. While the story was, for the most part, predictable, I found it incredibly fascinating. The stunning cinematography and the realistic visual effects drew me in, but the psychology of the story and the interaction of the characters are still haunting my thoughts.
One of the questions I have from viewing the film is centered on the character David. David is the artificial life form that watches over the crew during the years-long voyage of the ship Prometheus and aids the human members in various tasks. While he can emulate the appearance of different emotions, he supposedly does not experience them. Also, we are led to believe, he does not do things based on his own decisions. He can make decisions, but they are always to serve the programming and mission requirements that are given him.
At one point, he finds a black, organic, viscous material. After a conversation with Dr. Holloway, he puts a small amount of this material into a drink that he gives Dr. Holloway. My question is this: did he do this because he was instructed to (or in order to accomplish his mission, etc.), or did he choose this action as an experiment on his own-to see what would happen?
My husband thinks that it was part of David's mission. But I could find no support for or against this theory in the movie. I keep thinking that David wanted to see what would happen. I find I attribute an intrinsic curiosity to every android in popular movies and television. Wouldn't it be a vital part of the nature of an artificial intelligence for its creators/designers to include intellectual curiosity as part of its learning functions?
If David did perform this action out of his own curiosity, did he have an idea of what might happen? Did he have a personal agenda? Did his own "survival instinct", coupled with the philosophical questions raised by the crew of potentially meeting their own "makers", lead him to the decision to put the strange material in Dr. Holloway's drink?
There are other questions that have arisen in my mind, after view this film. But the question above is the one I have been continuously turning over in my mind. Of course, I may never find the answer to any of these questions. However, the fact that the movie has inspired so many questions is a tribute to the importance that movies have in our lives and their ability to inspire creativity.
I welcome any comments in regard to this question. If you have anything to add, please do. I would love for this to evolve into a dialogue.