New Neill Blomkamp Movie Suggests First Sentient Robot Will Face Struggles, May Become Evil

You might think that you’re not particularly worried about the ethical implications and potential unforeseen consequences of creating adaptable artificial intelligence, but you would be wrong! At least that’s what Chappie, a new movie about a sentient robot, seems to be banking on.

Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium), the film follows Chappie, the first sentient robot, as he learns and grows emotionally during a childlike development phase and then, presumably, matures.

The story seems to be set up such that Chappie faces opposition from a government/military/miscellaneous authority figure played by Hugh Jackman, and by his community because “people are always fearful of something they don’t understand.” Dev Patel plus Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er from the South African alternative hip-hop duo Die Antwoord make up Chappie’s core group, and it seems like later Chappie has to deal with other, more negative influences.

The poster shows Chappie playing with children’s blocks, but also wearing a gold dollar sign necklace and holding a gun. Perhaps the movie will take a darkly humorous turn like District 9 as part of its societal commentary. Chappie will also presumably hook into long-standing discussion about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence. Elon Musk, for one, frequently speaks out about his belief that AI has “potential dangerous outcome[s].”

Based on the trailer, the movie seems to be sympathetic to robots, but who knows how things could change throughout? At the end of the trailer you hear, “I have consciousness, I am alive, I am Chappie.” OK, Chappie, what do you want to do with your sentience?