With the success of M3GAN (Gerard Johnstone, 2023) and unfolding conversations about Artificial Intelligence (AI) informing the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, FQ columnist Rebecca Wanzo explores the question of labor in the AI film. Noting the limited repertoire of AI representations in television and film, Wanzo asks why so few AI stories go beyond familiar narratives to instead explore the complexities of constructing a laboring future in a world with AI. Drawing upon examples ranging from Metropolis (1927) to Wall-E (2008), Wanzo finds reason for both optimism and pessimism about AI and workers’ lives.
The Other Replacement Theory: Labor and the AI Film
Rebecca A. Wanzo is professor and chair of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests include African American literature and culture, critical race theory, feminist theory, cultural studies, theories of affect, and graphic storytelling. She is the author of The Content of Our Caricature: African American Comic Art and Political Belonging (NYU Press, 2020) and The Suffering Will Not Be Televised: African American Women and Sentimental Political Storytelling (SUNY Press, 2009).
Rebecca Wanzo; The Other Replacement Theory: Labor and the AI Film. Film Quarterly 1 September 2023; 77 (1): 81–85. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2023.77.1.81
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