The world is gripped by unease and anxiety about the future of technology — and it’s seeping out through television. How else would you explain this month, which features the premieres of HBO robot western Westworld, the third series of Charlie Brooker’s technological dystopia Black Mirror and the second series of Humans, which has just released its first trailer.
The first run of Channel 4’s sci-fi drama set up a world where subservient, anthropomorphic robots — known as ‘synths’ — have become the norm for mankind. Told through various plot-strands, it asked a series of questions about the real-world implications of A.I. How will artificial intelligence affect jobs, for instance? How will it affect family? How will it affect relationships, sex and love? How will it affect our place in society, in innovation and art? What happens when A.I becomes self-aware — what then?
Series two looks like it will develop those questions further, with conscious synths now starting to wake up all over the world — thanks, presumably, to the consciousness programme stolen by rebel synth Niska at the end of series one. It also gives us our first proper look at Matrix star Carrie-Anne Moss, who will be playing AI scientist Dr Athena Marrow; seen here conducting freaky experiments on newly-sentient synths.
How will the world react to the idea that their everyday gadgets can now think and feel? And what happens when they start to fight back? In the words of Niska, “This won’t end the way you want it to.”
Humans series two returns to Channel 4 on October 30th