I went to see surrogates this week – first time I’ve been to the cinema in ages. Starring Bruce Willis, who is on form, it describes a world where human robotics has developed into a way of life. Technology has been able to capture the brain signals that control our body – move our eyes, arms, feet mouth etc, and use them to control a robot. The result is that everyone now stays at home and lives through a ‘surrogate’ – a robot that the users control and move about by plugging into a special chair at home. Through them you can do things, such as sky diving, with no risk. You can also create your surrogate to be the a physically perfect version of you.
Almost everyone lives through these surrogates meaning that everyday interaction is through technology. In this world of robots, there are a few people who are unwilling to use the technology. They live in special surrogate free zones in each city. Its a fast paced action film with a good cast and a decent plot.
Although current technology has not got that far (thankfully!) we are living in a technology obsessed world. More and more of our social interactions are through a screen, a phone, or the internet. The point of the film is quite clear.
- Living though technology numbs you to the physical senses of the world (says the man who is blogging!). There is nothing quite like feeling the wind or the raid, throwing and chasing a ball, and physical touch with others. This cannot be reproduced by technology.
- Technology does is not conducive to real relationships (it can enhance real relationships, but not replace them). One of the first scenes of the films saw a beautiful, sexily dressed blonde girl-surrogate in a club making out with a male surrogate (who similarly had model looks). The girl surrogate is quickly killed off and we find that the person controlling her was an ugly hairy fat man. Technology allows us to hide from bring real is we want to.
- It leads to a misunderstanding of, and an inability to appreciate beauty. In the film, in the world full of surrogates everyone looked fake and a little plasticcy. The film makers did a good job here. But the point is that when everyone looks like a model, no one is beautiful, everyone looks fake. We lose the ability to appreciate real beauty, which does not depend on having perfect teeth and perfect hair.
A good film which highlighted some dangers that our technology obsessed world needs to be aware of.