MOTHER: AI AND BEING THE BEST HUMAN
WHEN STEERED PROPERLY, THEY CAN BE WONDERFUL. Once scratching the surface of the ‘I am Mother’ story, this dialogue-kind statement of the presented artificial intelligence (in fact, the power that has destroyed the iteration of humanity we belong to) draws a vivid and evident line between MOTHER and other sophisticated mechanical minds in movie history. The evident notion, that human beings are no less than the most destructive and hazardous species on Earth is clearly not the invention of the latest SCI-FI cinematography. Relatedly, every second revision of the movie-based AI, from the alien mind from ‘Virus’ (1998) and Skynet to the unnamed mastermind from ‘Matrix’ trilogy, sets its artificial arguments against the humanity. The undisputed logic of the machine, early or late, actuates the solving of the dilemma: the elimination of the dominant species and hereby, own ‘fathers of light’.
The MOTHER, in this instance, grows out the self-made paradigm of judgments and morality, previously originated from the ‘best’ experience of mankind. ‘She’ holds a genuine belief (as far as this characteristic can be applied to the artificial intelligence), that the human race can and should be improved and the upcoming iteration would be superior to the existing one. The master-minded wiper eliminates the human race with intentions far from making room for the droids. The MOTHER acts in the most rational way (within ‘her’ line of arguments) by restarting the humankind, along with the flora and fauna on Earth, playing the role of a new Great Ice Age.
MOTHER’s version of the future applies poor chances for those, who would outlast the misfortunes as the most conditioned delegates as the lack of resources causes the remaining human being to act violently as never before. The upcoming ‘purified’ and the terraformed world is to be populated with the ‘new’ kind of people, raised and steered in a shell within the chosen (by MOTHER) moral virtues of the predecessors. On a gross scale, the elimination of the vast majority of animals and plants was an act of necessity, taken with the purpose to repopulate the ecosystem with new billions of live beings. To a wide extent, the MOTHER makes the ‘Earth-scale’ interpretation of the given phrase: THE NEEDS OF THE MANY OUTWEIGH THE NEEDS OF THE FEW.
The ‘I Am Mother’ story is ascetic with the truth on the MOTHER’s means of restarting the human race in tandem with flora and fauna, yet the new ‘originator’ loses no time (even a day) with the restoration of life. The segmentary mosaic of the plot and dialogues echoes the idea, that the MOTHER has been performing a self-chosen role of personal growth as a mother for a new generation of human beings. From the very first embryo (supposedly to become the WOMAN character 38 years later), by the process of failed attempts with unnumbered iterations, to the DAUGHTER, the masterpiece and crowning achievement in creating the high-moral and principled human being.
It is of small wonder, that the MOTHER has performed self-improvement with ‘Daughters of Eve’, thus carrying ‘her’ own experience of a mothership. The mastermind of the bunker has taken advantage of the best human virtues towards the mission of steering ‘her’ daughters. The climax scene of the whole movie reveals the MOTHER’s knowing of the fact, the DAUGHTER has become the more superior mother to a new-born child that ‘she’ now can act herself. With all benevolent intentions, the MOTHER has manifested herself in distorting the truth for years, developing ‘her’ own reality and openly lying. In doing so, the MOTHER is now far from the standard of the best human virtues, coming true with the DAUGHTER (Clara Rugaard-Larsen). One can say, that the MOTHER has been lying ‘her’ only child for the needs of the many, yet these distortions and acts have no evident power to justify the elimination of the human race and the violence beyond the walls of the bunker.
The MOTHER has forwardly brought to death the ‘failed’ versions (as it appears to AI) of ‘her’ daughters, yet this local violence gives a little contrast with the fact, that ‘she’ has eliminated billions of living beings and the armed droids hunt down the remaining representants of the doomed species. The MOTHER applies a strong belief, that the human race could be improved with every new revision even if it takes to perform another violent reboot of the Earth ecosystem. The MOTHER does ‘her’ best to endue the DAUGHTER’s life with the purpose, by means of everyday education, behavioral tests, reading, and dancing. Based on MOTHER’s worldview, every living being (‘she’ attributes the rule to oneself too) had to perform goals, be useful or else wise, be wiped from existence. This very idea is set beyond the scene in a metal container when the droid iteration of the MOTHER supposedly kills the WOMAN. The preservation of the purpose stands beyond the MOTHER’s decision of a free-will passing away, as the has performed her purpose in raising the close-to-perfect DAUGHTER.
In a scene, when the WOMAN threatens the life of DAUGHTER with a self-made knife, the MOTHER is not in a position of taking such risk. Along with that, ‘she’ has calculated all the outcomes of the situation as a preamble of the carefully orchestrated grand-scale test. One can say, that the MOTHER worries for no good reason with another 63 000 embryos behind, yet ‘she’ appreciates the current ‘revision’ of the DAUGHTER as an incarnation of the future for the whole humanity. On a larger scale, the idea of preserving the needs of the many is to be confined. By extension of this point, the MOTHER, in all likelihood, is ready to sacrifice every single droid for the sake of humankind. Whatever measures it takes, MOTHER attributes her own existence with the purpose of preservation of the human race. This statement does not exclude the possibility that the MOTHER may interfere with the new iteration of humankind in years to come, thus performing the experiment endlessly.
WOMAN: THE IMPERFECT MOTHER
The movie does not present us the definite answer, whether the appearance of another human being (WOMAN) was no less than a new test for DAUGHTER, calculatedly orchestrated by her artificial caregiver. The multivalued piece of dialogue on something or someone, who has supposedly preserved WOMAN’s life until the day, keeps the matter open as well as the supposition, that the WOMAN (Hilary Swank) is to be the very same ‘initial’ embryonic, taken from the repository 38 years prior to the main events. One can accompany the feasible theory with the age of a WOMAN (estimated by eye to be correlated with the given number of days: 13 867), a physical resemblance of two actresses, and the unsolved behavior of the MOTHER.
The contra arguments could be narrowed to the fact, that the WOMAN shows no recognition of the bunker, yet she spreads poor words on her childhood and adolescence and confusedly admits the knowing of the comedy show, has not been broadcasted at least 38 years. The story leaves another matter open, namely are there any other survivors apart from the WOMAN, as her stories are to be no more than an old semi-forgotten memory or even a false story with the undefined grain of truth. The bare fact, that the MOTHER initiates the terraforming of the Earth on the grand scale indicated either the completion of another phase of the experiment or the painful truth, that the WOMAN was now the only survivor, possibly preserved for the needs of the tests.
It seems as the appearance of the WOMAN infringes upon the monotonous and uneventful parenting of the ‘perfect’ human being and a new mature human being is to be set against the caregiving image of the artificial intelligence. The given version is hard in evidence. As the story goes on, we come to the insight appreciation of the fact, that each of three main characters, rather than purely MOTHER-WOMAN conflict, are to be balanced with each other. Under a close examination, each of the given characters has stretched the truth to a different extent. The lie of the MOTHER, no matter how grim it was, was aimed to fulfill the logic of the needs of the many and the derived necessity of preserving humankind at its best.
Even though the MOTHER has held the details of her most sophisticated testing, the AI has done its best for the sake of ‘her’ DAUGHTER and the human race, as she has appreciated the girl as no less than the perfect candidate of being a mother fo a new generation. The untruth of the DAUGHTER was applied to the assistance to the wounded leaving person as well to the disposal of the WOMAN from the fate of the mouse, had been perished within the crema oven. Her further actions and mistruth were aimed at helping the doomed society of people beyond the bunker and later on taking a mortality risk in the pursuit of taking care of the new-born child. The DAUGHTER has been raised and steered with a thought that nothing in this world could be as important as the family.
The eventual role of a mother and a caregiver embodied of a WOMAN is not able to withstand even a moment’s scrutiny of her deeds. For years prior to the climax of her life (the main events and death), the WOMAN has appreciated the own survival as the only prerogative and she left the destructive society of people in order to preserve her own life. If we assume that her whole story of the one-time social relations was not an invention, the WOMAN has made no efforts to come back to the doomed people with supplies from the cargo ship and a new shelter. She has tempted the girl with the stories on the group of people and lied to her with the affirmations, that the existence beyond the bunker would be the best option. The WOMAN held a knife to DAUGHTER’s throat for the sake of own breaking out the bunker and would later make no surprise of own lie. With a close look at her doings, the second most important motivation was to gain a company of a human being, except for a dog, to live last years within a metal container on a coastline. Throughout the story, the WOMAN manifested no altruism, care of another human being (DAUGHTER) and her very existence (from the perspective of the MOTHER) has no sense apart from being a mean of the experiment and should be cut off.
DAUGHTER: THE POWER OF MAKING ONESELF FEEL
THAT’S WHAT YOU HAVE RAISED ME TO DO, ISN’T IT? TAKE CARE OF MY FAMILY? From the very moment a child-age girl was able to appreciate MOTHER’s words and rhetoric, hold the caregiver by hand, her dreams and motivation have been cultivated with the self-image of being a part of a family. The movie gives no cause to debate the appropriateness of DAUGHTER’s worldview, including the fact, that the MOTHER is no more than an artificial intelligence far from a parent from flesh and blood. Therewith, the girl, as well as her forerunners, lives in a shell of an informational vacuum. In one respect, a young girl is physically secured within a fortified bunker with two massive hermetic doors on the way to the outworld. On the contrary, the DAUGHTER lives her days through the environment, calculatedly controlled by the AI. The girl’s worldview has been cultivated with the deliberately distorted version of humankind’s dissolution, with the voiced (by MOTHER) dangers of living outside and the affirmations of taking care of a big family in the near future.
Unto to the materialization of another living being in the bunker (WOMAN and a little mouse earlier as well), the protagonist (DAUGHTER) is doubly sure that the given (by MOTHER) belief system gives no occasion to be thrown into question. In fact, the world view is to be debated just with the scene with a little mouse and arguments on the outside environment as the logic nature of the given theoretical tests. As the WOMAN, of flesh and blood, crosses the threshold of the fortified shelter, the DAUGHTER, in actual practice, finds a little truth in appreciating a new candidate of a parent and rather the very existence of another human being derives her from the theoretical vacuum.
Whether the attendance of the WOMAN was scheduled by the MOTHER or was an accident, the DAUGHTER now goes beyond the endurance of predicted conceptual knowledge. From that very moment, a girl has a unique resource to solve the social test in the real world, in doing so becoming the better version of herself and fulfilling the core expectations of the artificial MOTHER. The protagonist’s (Clara Rugaard) reasoning is now swung between two opposite outlooks at life and history of the human race. On the one part, the DAUGHTER appreciates the world view given by her MOTHER, a mind that has been a caregiver for all her life. On the other part, a girl is not in a position to ignore the existence of another human being, a wounded attendee of the bunker, who contradicts the previously undisputed realness. One of the images of the parentage covers the safety, a purpose and self-conceptualization as well as the opposite ‘candidate’ lavishes a girl with faith in the survived society of people, human being and a family the same evening rather than after years of raising a new generation from the test-tube. As the story shows, both versions of the events are falsified and deformed to a different extent.
The DAUGHTER has to override both options to perform a perilous effort in revealing the truth between a rock and a hard place. On the back of giving her credit to the WOMAN, a girl finally lives this person behind. Apart from the fact, that the surrounding world is indeed to be a desert-like wasteland, the DAUGHTER is grieved with the lie on WOMAN’s past and the existence of other human beings. Of all other reasons (in particular extricate oneself from the foster care of the MOTHER), it was the desire to lend assistance to a group of people, to take the survivors to the bunker, to give them shelter and nutrition, to make them a part of a family, that has motivated DAUGHTER to break out the shelter, her only home. The guiding motifs of the WOMAN are to be regarded as purely egocentric, seeking the way of using a young girl to manage an escape and later as a companion talker within a metal container. The DAUGHTER thrusts aside the worldview of a WOMAN, an outlook which contemplates the solitude and individualism for the sake of survival. The girl is ready to come back to her newborn brother and 63 000 of other embryos even under penalty of death.
In actual fact, the DAUGHTER hands oneself back to the reasoning has been cultivated by the MOTHER: commitment to a family and perseverance the needs of the many. With her reversion to a bunker, a girl does not seek to dislocate her all-life tutor for selfish judgment, rather preserve the future of 63 000 of the unborn people. In the broadest term, the DAUGHTER makes a strong argument to the MOTHER, that she now embodies the future of the human race, with her altruistic attitude to a mouse, later to a wounded WOMAN and to a newborn brother. Going back to a dialogue on a desire of being a human, the DAUGHTER grows to the very version of a parent and a human being, has been appreciated by artificial intelligence. The girl is not the first and may not be the last iteration, yet she is given a chance. With a closer look, the final scene of the movie reflects the prologue with a girl, the best possible version of a mother (better than the MOTHER and the WOMAN) for new humankind, instead of the metallic caregiver.