New Superintelligence Featurette Has a Refreshingly Nihilistic View of Humanity

Carol Peters learning that she only has a few days to save humanity from total annihilation.
Carol Peters learning that she only has a few days to save humanity from total annihilation.
Screenshot: HBO Max

In director Brad Falcone’s upcoming HBO Max feature Superintelligence, Melissa McCarthy’s Carol Peters, a genuinely good-hearted woman, is tasked with proving that the human race deserves not to be annihilated by an all-seeing artificial intelligence that understandably has its doubts whether humanity’s past the point of saving. Carol is, of course, alarmed.

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Rather than following Carol set out to find a way to stop the world’s would-be destroyer, Superintelligence instead focuses on its heroine attempting to prove to the super computer (voiced by James Corden) that people are fundamentally good, something she’s able to do in part because the machine gives her millions of dollars to spend. With what’s essentially a limitless bank account for someone who spends money as sensibly as Carol, her challenge is to use her resources to prove humans’ worth—but in a new featurette exploring the film’s message, the cast and crew touch on the realty that cash can only do but so much to fundamentally make the world a better place.

Carol’s sudden influx of money might give her access to the immediate materials she wants and desires for her own personal happiness, and even put her in a better position to work with organizations committed to the betterment of society. But the challenge Carol’s facing extends so far beyond her own reach that she could very well end up failing to meet the superintelligence’s expectations, which would be...grim, but plausible.

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Superintelligence also stars Octavia Spencer, Brian Tyree Henry, Jean Smart, Bobby Cannavale, and Sam Richardson. The movie hits HBO Max on November 26.


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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

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DISCUSSION

That superintelligence isn’t really going to destroy Earth. It’s just bored and comes up with games like this to see what happens.