“More Human Than Human” misses the mark of its premise, presenting a harsh future with AI

Brooke Sjoberg

Seeking to tell a more intimate story through artificial intelligence, directors UT alum Tommy Pallota and Femke Wolting present a harsh future for AI, although their focus is not so much on the technology, but the people involved in its development.

In an effort to create a robot capable of the perfect interview, Pallota and his team spend quality time with researchers and creators of bots and other forms of AI. They speak with these experts about all things AI: its development, history and implications of its use. AI in media is of great concern to the team, and once they begin testing their robotic cameraman, they find the technology may have a far way to go before reaching its potential.

With a title such as “More Human Than Human,” this film should focus more on the actual technology being discussed, rather than the fears surrounding the advancement of AI. Too much time is spent worrying aloud about the possibility of AI becoming more advanced than humans and taking over, á la “The Terminator.” The film focuses too intently on the future of AI, when the present status of such intelligence is really more relevant to the goal established by Pallota and Wolting: telling better stories with AI.

The value of the film itself is not completely tarnished by the failure to deliver on its proposed premise. There are many valuable conversations had in the documentary concerning the future of AI. However, they just don’t serve the director’s stated purpose of telling more intimate stories with AI. Rather, they only intensify the fear with which people already regard AI. They’ve painted the technology with a broad brush in colors which evoke fear and disdain, careless of whether they are serving their own purposes.

Pallota and Wolting’s experience discussing the future implications of AI, especially in media, does not look closely enough at how AI is good at telling stories. They spend forever zeroed in on how it can hurt, completely glossing over the human aspect of the technology until the very last second. It would have served them much better, upon viewing their finished product, to change their premise altogether, because nothing in their documentary suggests AI could ever be more “human” than the humans who spent 79 minutes talking about how scary AI is.

While this is not the worst film to watch, “More Human Than Human” misses the mark its directors had set.

“More Human Than Human”

MPAA Rating: NR

Runtime: 79 Minutes

Score: 2.5 / 5 Stars