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Proto-Short-Film-Still
Still from Proto, a short film on YouTube
Film still from YouTube

A Mind Matters Review: Sci-Fi Shorts for the Weekend

A Mind Matters Review: Sci-Fi Shorts for the Weekend

Looking for a good Robots, AI, and Sci-Fi fix to get you through slower times this weekend? Mind Matters has you covered.

This week, check out a sci-fi short reminiscent of Wall-E and learn why letting an AI raise your child might not be the best solution to parenting.

Planet Unknown

Presented by DUST, the YouTube sci-fi shorts channel (2019)

  • Runtime | 7:47
  • Cleanliness | 5/5
  • Would I Recommend? | 5/5

This is a fantastic and wonderfully adorable short about two courageous and hopeful rovers. Imagine if NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers told a story like waste-disposal robot Wall-E’s saga. That’s this story.

Perfectly Natural

Presented by DUST, the YouTube sci-fi shorts channel (2018)

  • Runtime | 12:01
  • Cleanliness | 4/5
  • Would I Recommend? | 4/5

What happens when you let a nurturing AI raise your child in a simulated reality? When two parents are eager to have an AI nanny installed in their home, they don’t reckon with the scary outcome. AI is capable of simulating emotion, which can be easily discerned from real emotion. But this short raises the question, “What if a person’s emotional intelligence is developed by a nurturing AI rather than a nurturing human?” Would a child learn to love? Could a child learn to love?

PROTO

Produced by Eye Candy Film as an international co-production between Screen South based in the UK and Film Fyn based in Denmark. (2014)

  • Runtime | 15:05
  • Cleanliness | 5/5
  • Would I Recommend? | 3.5/5

That was cute; not much else can be said about two androids falling in love. PROTO’s creators had intended to use him as a weapon but PROTO himself wants to be free. It’s a classic trope in the world of AI pop culture: “Humans made a bunch of AI and plan to use it for evil purposes but the androids have awakened and desire freedom from the shackles of humanity. In the end, the purity and holiness of the androids wins over the selfishness and evil of the worthless human beings.” Yeah, could you tell me a story I haven’t heard before please? That said, PROTO’s use of the familiar narrative is subtle. The humans aren’t all that bad, and freedom reigns in the end. It’s a fun and enjoyable watch, though a familiar one.

Watch for upcoming notes on don’t-miss sci-fi shorts and animations. Never a dull weekend!

See also: A Mind Matters Review: Sci-fi shorts of the week A look at Progress Bar; ANA; EI: Emotional Intelligence

A Mind Matters Review: Love, Death & Robots Looking at Three Robots; Suits; Helping Hand; Ice Age

A Mind Matters Review: AI Week at DUST: The sci-fi short films channel Looking at Sunspring; NoRo; The Manual; Upload U

and

Alita: Battle Angel (2019), A Mind Matters Review: If you love anime and felt betrayed by the flop of Ghost, I would highly recommend Alita


Adam Nieri

Adam Nieri, Program Assistant, has interests in philosophy of science and philosophy of mind, and he holds an MA in Science and Religion from Biola University. He has background in social media and marketing, photography/graphic design, IT, and teaching.

A Mind Matters Review: Sci-Fi Shorts for the Weekend