Maithilee Kunda to speak at Mar. 4 screening of new sci-fi film: After Yang

Part of the Nashville Belcourt Theater’s “Science on Screen” series.

From the Belcourt website:

“Science On Screen | Fri, Mar 4 at 8:00pm: Post-screening discussion on The Inner Lives of AI (and Us) with Maithilee Kunda, assistant professor of computer science at Vanderbilt University and director of Vanderbilt’s Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence and Visual Analogical Systems

When Yang — a lifelike, artificially intelligent android that Jake and Kyra buy as a companion for their adopted daughter — abruptly stops functioning, Jake just wants him repaired quickly and cheaply. But having purchased Yang “certified refurbished” from a now-defunct store, Jake’s led first to a conspiracy theorist technician and then a technology museum curator, who discovers that Yang was actually recording memories. Jake’s quest eventually becomes one of existential introspection and a contemplation of his own life, as it passes him by.

An aesthete at heart, Kogonada only vaguely hints at the futuristic science fiction setting (and accompanying climate catastrophe) — instead crafting a serene, meditative, compassionate story that inverts the trusted theme of robots exploring what it means to be human, by showing a human trying to understand this artificial being who was part of his family. Punctuated with humor and joyousness, AFTER YANG’s quiet power lies in its timely contemplation of how we create meaning and experience loss.”