When the machine first appears, it is very clearly, overtly a machine

When the machine first appears, it is very clearly, overtly a machine

But the machine aspect is increasingly hidden. And as the machine aspect is hidden, the question stops being asked. Now that might not be true for every audience member. But effectively, there is a twist at the end — which is the machine does have an interior life. Now that would not be a twist if you had continued to expect that the machine had an interior life. So why was it in there? Because it was the preoccupation of the film.

There was and is a lot of discussion around AI. You wrote an op-ed piece in vehicle title loan Tennessee state 2015 defending AI and calling out people like Stephen Hawkings and Elon Musk who are afraid of it.You said that it’s not the machine component of AI that scares you, but the humans. I think you can make a good analogy with nuclear power. Nuclear power is clearly powerful and therefore potentially dangerous, but it becomes about the application of it. I think there was another thing I felt as well, which is I don’t like Luddite thinking. I understand the technology is potentially dangerous, but I also think it’s potentially beneficial. You just have to take a measured approach to it.

I live in Britain and in Britain we have a National Health Service, which is run by humans. That doesn’t seem dangerous to me. That seems potentially beneficial. Also it’s political decisions and how you attribute resources might better be done by an AI. So am I alarmed by that? No, I think it’s a possibility. There’s other areas in which AI could potentially be very dangerous. So it’s not to take a benign or a paranoid view. It’s just to take a measured view.

Can you tell us about your thinking?

How much AI have you adopted in your personal life? Do you have a smart speaker? Do you talk to your phone? No, I don’t. I’m sort of slightly too old maybe, but my son does. I’ve noticed when he sends a text message he doesn’t type it in, he talks it. I’m sort of used to the disconnect in some respect. I saw it with my parents when they couldn’t use the remote control on the television and it’s in the nature of what happens. But even though I don’t use those things, I’m aware of them to the extent I can be, and I don’t feel alarmed by them.

And it seems to me to be perfectly plausible that the state-run National Health Service would be better run by an AI

What drew you to “Annihilation?” [Producer Scott Rudin] came to me with the book. We’d just worked together on “Ex Machina.” I was struck actually by the book’s originality. It just wasn’t like other stories that I’d read .

One of the things that happens with stories is that we repeat them. We say the same story again and again and again. We change details or elements, but essentially it’s the same story. And this felt outside of that. For that reason alone I was very attracted to it. It also had a very strong atmosphere, a very unusual atmosphere. So I felt I did want to work on it while not being entirely sure how to work on it.

You’ve described “Annihilation” as being truly alien. What does that mean? When we deal with aliens, we often make them like us in some way, maybe they want to eat us or maybe they want our water, our resources. Or they want to teach us about galactic federations or whatever it happens to be. These are all sort of human concerns and it seems like a legitimate thing to say that alien might not be like us in anyway at all. We are motivated by things and we have agendas and an alien might not have an agenda or might not be motivated. And so it was an attempt to create an “alien” alien.

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