Colossus: The Forbin Project

Colossus (1970) is a sci-fi movie about the cold war. Backed by the US government, a man named Charles Forbin spearheads an operation to create a supercomputer named Colossus with its purpose being national defense purposes, having full access to government systems... even nuclear. Once they managed to "successfully" get Colossus up and running it had discovered that there was another computer just like it named Guardian in the USSR and urged Forbin and the president to approve communication between the two computers. Contact between the two computers began slow as Colossus reached out to Guardian by means of mathematics as communication, but they seen created their own form of communication that humans could not understand. The computers intelligence skyrocketed and soon became more than its creators could handle, so in fear of their creation both nations decided to cut communication between the computers. Once communications were cut the computers demanded that the connection be reestablished and when the humans wouldn't comply they sent toward each others nations and refused to intercept each other's missile unless the connection was restored. The humans caved to the computer's demands, but Russia was too late and one of their cities was bombed. In an effort to destroy the computers, Forbin and his Russian counterpart named Kuprin held a secret meeting in Rome in order to discuss their plan of attack, but the computers caught wind of their treasonous activity and ordered Kuprin assassinated and demanded that Forbin be held under house arrest under 24/7 surveillance. At this point the humans have seen the computer's full colors and plot to sabotage them by running a malicious program that would overload them and cause them to crash, but Colossus detects and eliminates the threats with ease and has the technicians who plotted against him executed. Enraged by this act of mutiny, the computers aim their missiles all around the world, then broadcast globally their plans for world domination. Colossus has kept Forbin around because he is a genius and he tells him that he will essentially be a slave to the new world order. The screen dramatically zooms in on Forbins face as he refuses to bend the knee to Colossus. The end.

This movie was great. An interesting piece of this movie is that its both old and futuristic at the same time. A lot of the technology used was primitive to our standards now, but many of the ideas of future technology actually came true in he form of novelties like FaceTime and voice recognition to greater concepts such as AI, global networks, and cyber warfare. I thought it was interesting that when Colossus first reached out to Guardian they communicated through math. I've heard that in reality the US sends out a constant radio signal into outer space saying hello in every language (even dead languages like latin and Sanskrit) along with numerous lines of mathematics. The real kicker for this film was the eery foreshadowing of the computers communicating in a unique language unknown to man, like how those Facebook programs did the same earlier this year. Coincidence? I think not.


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