Review of the film Robocop: totalitarian technocolonial regime or, more correctly, a surveillance state

Otherness is an old concept experienced differently by different people around the world. This is undoubtedly a discriminatory practice that continues to divide humanity forever. There are different types of otherness, such as those based on gender, race, ethnicity, color, nationality, etc. It creates a long-lasting psychological impact on the victim and continues to grow in them. Before we can eradicate them easily, we must be able to understand and identify them.

Visual representation is one of the common ways in which the ideology of otherness is imbued with viewers. Indeed, the cultural industry is the cheapest and easiest way to reach and teach the masses. All but those with a critical eye soon miss and capture political undercurrents. Even products sold in the movie trinkets category have euphemisms. To understand at least some of them in detail, consider the case of otherness as in movies or specifically in AI movies to understand the complex implications they bring forth.

Otherness is an old concept experienced differently by different people around the world. This is undoubtedly a discriminatory practice that continues to divide humanity forever. There are different types of otherness, such as those based on gender, race, ethnicity, color, nationality, etc. It creates a long-lasting psychological impact on the victim and continues to grow in them. Before we can eradicate them easily, we must be able to understand and identify them.

AI movies specially imply new meanings related to global supremacy due to possessing the latest and most sophisticated technologies in the world. Many well-known researchers and scientists agree that AI is the new future before us. Inevitably, the nation in possession of such technology can rule the world or quite possibly dominate the world. This justifies the race of world powers behind such technology.

AI films typically depict one or two nations in possession of such technology, and detail how that technology can be used to build a police state, replacing democracy or the current working model. More than mere representations, they have an implication that must be understood and studied to realize the dark future that awaits us. Also, to learn how technology can create a greater divide between people who are already divided if these sci-fi movies ever become a reality. This article examines how Othering is emphasized through AI films and why certain factors are always present among the ingredients of these films, and why many other factors are sometimes rendered invisible in these films.

In addition to the types of Othering mentioned above, nationwide Othering is also present in AI films. If we consider the case of the great AI films, they notably lack a global vision; they present a monopoly. And curiously, these monopolies are the world powers. Initially, the presence, location, and state of affairs of nations other than the United States is nowhere to be found in many of these films except at the beginning of Robotcop (2014). It’s a similar case with many other AI movies, for example, in terminator series, blade runner (2017), etc Whether this may imply a future of non-existence for the other nations of the world is a curious question.

Visual representation is one of the common ways in which the ideology of otherness is imbued with viewers. Indeed, the cultural industry is the cheapest and easiest way to reach and teach the masses. All but those with a critical eye soon miss and capture political undercurrents. Even products sold in the movie trinkets category have euphemisms. To understand at least some of them in detail, consider the case of otherness as in movies or specifically in AI movies to understand the complex implications they bring forth.

Many of these films deal exclusively with the theme of the apocalypse, but most unlikely, even in this case, the only goal is America. This deliberate erasure of the absent presence of other nations has political implications heavily laden with Hollywood as the world’s leading motion picture industry. At some level of representation, it simply reflects spatial location and temporality is limited to the protagonist’s restricted experiences.

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On the second level, this means that the only center represented by the production needs illustration or, more literally, only America is the center that needs attention. Third, it may mean the non-existence of other nations, such as the survival of the most appropriate theory in the technological age. Thus, for them, there is little need for its representation. Finally, the type of more political meaning arises in that it showcases a world that is technologically captured by one of the world’s superpowers.

AI films typically depict one or two nations in possession of such technology, and detail how that technology can be used to build a police state, replacing democracy or the current working model. More than mere representations, they have an implication that must be understood and studied to realize the dark future that awaits us. Also, to learn how technology can create a greater divide between people who are already divided if these sci-fi movies ever become a reality. This article examines how Othering is emphasized through AI films and why certain factors are always present among the ingredients of these films, and why many other factors are sometimes rendered invisible in these films.

Does he need another representation than the drawing of the winner? This is exactly what attempts to answer many questions regarding the absence of the other nation’s imagination. Here is the importance of the initial scenes of Robocop; it offers a vision of the militarized near future of the other nations of the world.

In the scene where people are continuously scanned, scared, and pointed with guns in the name of peace, this technocracy has the potential to bring about a totalitarian technocolonial regime or, more accurately, a surveillance state. And at this center, all the rest of the people stand obliquely and uselessly, and therefore, their absent presence.

Thus, it is this lack of a multicultural perspective in the engagement of other nations, their peoples and phenomena that makes these films narrow and isolated, leading to these conclusions. However, minor portrayals such as foreign scientists working for US-based corporations are also reliable threads for reporting on a shattered nation and economy.

A very recent example of contemporary technological otherness is the following: Barack Obama’s government uses algorithmic methods to identify targets without even knowing their identity. In 2012, the Washington Post published an article about something called “the layout matrix”. It was the Obama administration’s “next-generation targeting list,” a sort of doom spreadsheet used to keep track of all those foreigners tagged for anonymous drone assassination as suspected terrorists. (Frame 131)

Added to this problem of “signature strikes” (Fraze 132) is the fact that these operations are partially automated. “The Washington Post reports on the development of algorithms for the same . . . that allow the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command to hit targets based on patterns of activity . . . even when the identity of those who would be killed is unclear” (Frase 132).

It is sadly surprising that these acts are supported by a significant number of Americans for xenophobia, although it is also a class phenomenon (Fraze 133). Thus, the political metaphor of these acts is directed towards the term of technological otherness, foreseen in the coming era of technocolonialism. This becomes just one aspect of technocolonization, but there are many undiscovered areas that need immediate attention.

Read also : Film “Me, robot”: technological otherness and technocolonialism of the marginalized

Current technology advancing us every moment towards the future brings us every moment towards this inevitable event. The technological future, in this way, becomes an arena where resistance and revolts will be totally crushed in other names. Among them, one being the “digital industry” which replaces the term “cultural industry” (Adorno and Horkheimer) with its process of mass passivation through the digital sphere.

Read also : Gender Bias in Futuristic Technology – AI in Pop Culture


Vidhupriya is an independent scholar currently pursuing a Bachelor of Education. She graduated in English Literature and Language from the Institute of English, University of Kerala. It can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn and instagram.

Featured image source: common sense media

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