Blurring lines of reality
The uncanny is no longer unimaginable.
Science fiction series “Humans”, based off the ongoing Swedish series “Real Humans”, debuted last month on Channel 4 in the UK and AMC in the US.
The series delves into a world where the line between machines and humans has been blurred, intentionally, in order to “make humans less like machines.”
In suburban London, the Hawkins family buys a “synth”, next in line behind the iPhone as the must-have gadget. Synths were created to serve, and the family graces theirs with the name “Anita”.
Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill), the father in the family, purchases Anita (Gemma Chan) to lighten the household work and free up time to solve his marital problems with his wife Laura (Katherine Parkinson), a lawyer who often has limited contact with her husband and daughter while she’s away on business.
Laura, however, is deeply suspicious of Anita, and fears she is losing her status as the family’s matriarch to a robot. More unsettling, Laura notices signs of Anita acting a little more human than she should be, including an incident where she leaves the house and intently gazes at the moon.
It turns out Laura’s suspicions aren’t totally unfounded. In fact, some synths are becoming conscious, and they are on the run.
The series explores other consequences of obscured boundaries. One of the original synth engineers develops a father-son bond with his obsolete, malfunctioning synth, while a synth detective is unable to care for his injured wife as well as their own robot servant.
“Humans” takes a familiar idea and gives it a more urgent spin in light of our own growing dependence on technology. The concept feels more and more like it could leave the realm of science fiction and turn into something real.
The series doesn’t ask questions that haven’t already been asked (What is the line between robots and humans? Could they become more advanced than we are?), but it does so in a way that feels fresh for 2015. We’ll need to be asking them in the real world soon enough.
n. 初次登台；开张vi. 初次登台
vi. 减轻；发亮vt. 使照亮；使轻松
adj. 侦探的n. 侦探
robot ['rəubɔt, -bət, 'rɔbət]