CONNECTION: Upcoming Sci-Fi Short Film Explores The Depressing Reality Of A Sentient A.I.

Connection, an upcoming short film from filmmaker Jesse Pinho, explores how depressing life would be for a robot trying to be human in a world that doesn't accept them. More past the jump.

Disclaimer: The thumbnail and banner images of this article are not from Connection. They are from A24's Ex Machina (2015).

Sentient robots. It's a topic that has fascinated us for many years. What would it be like if they were real? Would society accept them if they lived among us? Would these machines want to be more like humans, or would they like to forge their own path? That's what a fascinating in-development short film, Connection from director Jesse Pinho, is aiming to tackle.

A USC School of Cinematic Arts production, the project centers on Jone, an android who receives an emotion chip, allowing them (as the chip's name implies) to have feelings. However, having sentient machines walking around freely doesn't sit well with a lot of people, and Jone is forced to endure heartbreak, loneliness and humiliation in their quest to adapt to humanity. 

Talking to ComicBookMovie, Pinho explained the inspiration behind the film, stating he used his own social experience to inform Jone's journey:

"This story is my attempt at portraying the trauma of going to college after a lifetime of homeschooling. Like the protagonist, Jone, I was often clueless about how to behave with people, or what certain social signals meant. I was learning on the fly and trying to mimic back what I observed, often with comical consequences. (Of course, it didn't feel very funny at the time.)"

The script pages we had the opportunity to read combined comedy, heartbreak and even creepiness to portray Jone's attempts at mimicking human behavior, as well as their poor interactions with people.

One scene that perfectly captures this mixture centers around Jone watching a video on how to laugh and smile. They throw their head back and creepily laugh, unsuccessfully trying to imitate the woman in the tutorial. Reading about Jone's exaggerated attempt at laughter was unnerving, but also touching, as it signaled their struggle to find a human touch for themselves.

It's important to note that the project is still in development, and as such, story beats like the one described above are subject to change. Regardless of tweaks, however, Connection's screenplay presents a fascinating exploration of the challenges that sentient robots would face if they were presented with the opportunity to blend into our society. As such, it's a story that sci-fi fans and those interested in the ethics of robotics could look forward to. 

Connection is gearing up to start production, so still doesn't have a release date. Given its subject matter and fascinating main character, though, we're sure it will be worth the wait. 

For updates on the short film and any of his future projects, you can follow director Jesse Pinho on Instagram.

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