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Hot Docs 2021: “A.rtificial I.mmortality”


Ann Shin animates the face of her avatar during a facial mapping session. Stephen Chung/Fathom Film Group

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Being immortal sounds like an endless joy of exploring the life that is much longer than it’s believed to be. Why not, right? We can witness so much more than our short lifetime can offer except for one little detail – it will be left to the immortal version of ourselves to do what our departed soul can no longer. And when that finally happens, what will our children do after interacting with the digital version of their beloved relatives? Will it bring happiness or disappointment? Or provide a certain relief that, one way or another, we are able to achieve our long wanted goal – to live forever in someone’s phone.

“A.rtificial I.mmortality” by director Ann Shin explores the possibilities of the digital world and how science allows death to transcend into a form of artificial immortality, allowing us to create a digital version of human beings. The most fascinating part of the film is its ability to draw the line between the importance of science and its effects on the future of memory and digital livelihood, how a human android expresses itself. However, there’s a negative side to the story too, cleverly and in a broader way explored by the filmmaker that will leave you completely pleased.

The film asks the most crucial question — what if we allow the digital mind to take over? Will it help us succeed or destroy humanity? Will it be able to replace human beings? The feeling of love and the variety of emotions? Featuring Nick Bostrom, author of Super intelligence; Japanese roboticist, Hiroshi Ishiguro; Douglas Rushkoff, author of Team Human; Ben Goertzel, founder of Singularity.net; and Deepak Chopra, who is creating his own A.I. mind twin, Ann Shin makes impossible possible through her own personal experience showing the difference between robots and humans and why one cannot replace another no matter how hard science tries.

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