Tag Archives: Iiris Härmä

Who Made Who? An Interview with Iiris Härmä on A.I.

16 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

* Playing during Doxa Documentary Film Festival, from June 18 to 26. Tickets to an online screening can be purchased here. For information, please visit their faq.

Finnish filmmaker Iiris Härmä is perhaps best known for her documentaries exploring cultural identity. Her first work, End of the Line, is a sociological film about old men losing work at a bus factory and having nowhere else to go. It was developed in a time when globalization was making waves; the shift of where work can be done cheaper displaced many people. The ripple effect is disconcerting. Her degrees in Ethnology and Cultural Studies helps pinpoint topics of humanitarian interest. When she graduated with a diploma on film studies from the New School University in NY, the sky’s the limit for what she liked to explore in the cinematic medium–or rather, on what we learn from her discourses.

Her latest work Who Made Who? examines where artificial intelligence technology is currently headed. After her own experiences with it, namely in dealing with automated bank services through the phone, it got her curiosity going. She said another encounter was at a seminar in 2015 at Helsinki, where Michael Laakasuoed talked about the moralities of AI; it was an eye-opening experience. She talked about her inspiration in an interview with the Finnish Institute, and I’m fairly sure she took a lot more out of making this documentary than we as viewers did, as newcomers to a future not everyone is prepared for.

Essentially, this documentary examines the relationship between humans and technology. It’s not too different from Hi. A.I., a film I looked at some months ago (review link here) which dealt with similar themes. I was reminded of how robots can help keep some seniors occupied than the other one concerning Charles attempting to have a meaningful conversation with Harmony; a couple they were not.

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