conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

“It’s time for your enema.”

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Robot & Frank & Listening to Your Machine

MV5BMTUzMTE0NTk4Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjQ1OTMwOA@@._V1_SX214_-02142013That’s my favorite line from this melancholy film. Frank, the retired jewel thief in decline, doesn’t want the robot his son brought as a caretaker. Frank considers it an appliance with a voice and wants nothing to do with it. But Franks starts to warm to the robot when he realizes he can put Robot to nefarious ends under the guise of a “project.” Robot’s caretaker program takes priority over moral logic and Frank is back in business and seems to self-reboot as he plans minor heists.

“It’s time for your enema” is delivered by Robot after Frank starts to be OK with Robot’s scheduling of Frank’s day and the healthy vegetarian lunches Robot prepared. Just when Frank was thinking this may work.

It’s not the enema that attracts me to the story (despite this Florida couple who swears by coffee enemas four times a day). But it is the realization that the voice of a machine can have a profound impact on a human. My example is the treadmill I run on. Despite being voiceless, it tells me a truth (I’m still not sure it is entirely accurate) about the speed and calories consumed when running. And it helps me hold myself to a higher standard than when I run outside. There is an objectivity about it that I like, that isn’t swayed by my pleas to slow down.

In the end Robot & Frank is a downer. If you have anyone in your life with Alzheimer’s, the movie leaves you with a feeling of inevitability about the human condition, no matter what machines we employ.


Written by kirkistan

February 14, 2013 at 9:49 am

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