Want AI To Upgrade Your Body? [Film Review]

Disclaimer: This post reveals the plot as little as possible, but there are still inevitably a small number of spoilers.


Upgrade (2018) is a sci-fi film written and directed by Leigh Whannell. A key plot in this film is that the hero is paralyzed and then, in order to regain his ability to act, undergoes an operation, so that he can relies on an AI implanted into his body to control his body indirectly. When I saw this scenario, I felt very weird first, because this is obviously a serious imbalance in the development of science and technology: it is much easier to repair the human nervous system by techniques such as stem cells than to develop a strong AI, and then control the body with this AI! But later, with the development of the plot, I found that the plot setting was necessary.

Using AI to control the human body indirectly has a huge advantage over normal humans: rapid skills learning, or simply avoiding the process of learning skills. The process of learning complex skills in the human brain is roughly like this: a large number of brain neurons need to be connected to other neurons to form a sub-network of brain nerves, which needs to be optimized and adjusted continuously, and a large number of synapses are produced to solidify useful connections in order to eventually form a solid sub-network in the brain. Only with a solid sub-network can humans really acquire a complex skill, so humans learn complex skills very slowly.

In other sci-fi works, this issue is usually not taken seriously enough. For example, in The Matrix, the protagonist Neo learned martial arts in a very short time and quickly became a kung fu master. In Upgrade(2018), this problem is solved more reasonably: the AI ​​first accesses the control information of the brain and then controls the whole body, so that the hero can directly use various skills of AI (such as fighting). Moreover, this setting also promotes the development of subsequent plots, which will not be revealed here.

The more appropriate plot in my mind is: When the hero recovers, he finds that the mobs who killed his wife are physically strengthened, and although he recovers well, he still could not fight against them. In such a situation, he seeks to upgrade his body, then the plot is more reasonable. But even so, I think this film is wonderful, it’s really worth seeing, and the ending is also very interesting.


So in addition to using AI, will human beings never have the ability to learn quickly? I think that with the maturity of the brain-computer interface and artificial brain technology, human beings can learn quickly through artificial brain. The specific way depends on the way the artificial brain is implemented, which is unknown at present. But it is theoretically possible, so let’s wait patiently.



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