By Harry Dodge
trt: 24 mins
In Mysterious Fires, Harry Dodge plays a human-level machine intelligence being interviewed by a concerned interlocutor (played by Cay Castagnetto); the video reflects Dodge’s interest in the fast-moving, ethically-charged field of robotics and machine intelligence. The conceptual, pedagogical discussion the two characters engage in is faceted throughout by their amusing interpersonal dynamic and idiosyncratic means of verbal delivery, which extends to include other members of the filming crew, breaking the proverbial “fourth wall.” In short, while performing a script primarily concerned with the terrifying pall of absolute instrumentality (the future of machine intelligence), the characters and crew frequently interrupt themselves with wit, affection, delight, error, flattery, and absurdity. Through disruption and play, Mysterious Fires asks its audience to consider where fallibility, care, love, and laughter (affect) belong in a situation of absolute, super-charged intelligence—especially if intelligence is defined as the virtuosic mastery of goal-achievement.