On its deepest levels, Colossus: The Forbin Project is ultimately a love story. The (gay) love that two inanimate objects developing Artificial Intelligence and human emotions can have for each other. While discussing the dangers associated with artificial intelligence, it becomes clear that the most dangerous intelligence of all is the emotional kind.
So scientists build this awesome computer system that controls all the weapons in the United States, there’s also one over in Russia, of course. What they didn’t count on was that the computer in the US, Colossus, and the computer in Russia, Guardian, would fall in love. When scientists try to break the connection between the two, the computers decide to run the entire world with the weapons that are now under their control. This is a love outside human understanding, with even the language being incomprehensible. Once the computer breaks through human control with its love affair with another computer system, it is able to overcome all human power and, eventually, become the ultimate dictator of the world.
By programming other human traits into the machine, such as the ability to reason logically, the scientists (also quickly falling in love with each other) also unknowingly programmed more regrettable traits. The film seems to suggest that seeking for power and control is an inevitable consequence of logic.
The film also seems to look at the ability to love as an inevitable consequence of being. Putting two computers together immediately produces an unbreakable connection, just as putting the two doctors together, naked, in a bed will produce similar unbreakable connections. The similarities between the doctors’ relationship and the computers’ relationship suggest that this ability to love is not Romantic as we frequently think of it in cinema. It can lead to domination and power. Look at the way the female doctor stands behind the wine glass, willing to be examined for her career, and the way the computers are willing to share information with each other completely for the sake of world domination. Love, in this film, is not spontaneous, but inevitable and then calculated, pushing along other, more important, goals.
Colossus: The Forbin Project has got to be the most entertaining B-level sci-fi film I’ve seen. I recommend it to everyone who loves Dark Star, Invaders from Mars, and Quatermass and the Pit. And it’s a perfect movie for Film-A-Thon’s technology blog-a-thon this week.