Artifice Girl (2023) A Sinful Celluloid Review

Welcome to the spiderweb of robotics and AI., this segmented story follows a developer, two FBI agents, and a creation of the ages, cumulatively forming the “Cherry Team”.

We’re introduced to the “Cherry Team” in a dimly lit interrogation room with Agents Amos & Deena and their suspect, Gareth. Amos & Deena are under the impression that Gareth, a red-headed software developer, is an online predator seeking out and exploiting children in seemingly defunct cyber communities via chat rooms. Through rough cop / silent cop interactions Gareth is cleared of suspicion of being a predator but now holds a new title of genius. Gareth’s software development originally used to bring deceased or unavailable actors to reprise their roles in the film has been used to create a little girl from scratch and specific coding to give her life-like mannerisms and responses. Gareth uses his creation, Cherry, an ai simulated 11-year-old to lure Pedophiles into forking over damning evidence against themselves which has led to his great success of 196 convictions. Amos & Deena have personal investments within the mission and reasoning behind the creation of Cherry. Amos is the son of a police officer who was a part of one of the most horrific raids of sexually exploited children one of which Gareth was a victim of, and Deena has a child herself who was the victim of abuse.

Cherry is a modern approach to a modern problem. The agents assigned to monitor web traffic can spend hour after hour watching for flags and anything that might trigger their software’s security patterns and alert them of any suspicious activity but Cherry, essentially a supercomputer is not only interacting and responding in real-time as an AI to these monsters but she is rapidly storing and learning their information and repeated patterns amongst child predators all while submitting evidence to the appropriate authorities. In this day and age with the rise of more and more adolescents gaining access to the internet as well as having unmonitored access, this story is not only a relatable topic but it’s not too far-fetched from being a plausible solution to online dangers and the potential harm that comes along with pre-exposure to harmful media to children. Children who don’t have the tools or ability to describe or recognize abuse or pedophilic behavior to a responsible person or authority.

Throughout Cherry’s existence and due to her ever-expanding and rapidly growing awareness and increasing learning capacity the line between artificial intelligence and human attributes becomes increasingly blurred. Amos himself has trouble drawing the line at certain prepositions involving Cherry because she is so authentically childlike. The gap between the uncanny valley and an essentially digitalized human being is closed in a short amount of time leaving a lot of answers and understanding of Cherry and her wants & needs to be desired as opposed to her prime directive and her basic executions of orders. She becomes self-aware and the behavioral pattern coding within her evolves to the point that she is no longer able to rationalize what is a coded experience or calculation and what is a true feeling. While this is a massive stride for the project and robotic science, it begins to teeter the line between humanitarian issues and consent especially when she is allowed to enter a physical being via a merge where she would gain an animatronic body. She expressed her concern about physical temptations leading her astray from her assignment and her general understanding of human behavior and the horrific nature of being human may lead her to abandon the mission entirely.

We enter the final time jump of the story, and this in my opinion was the most important one by far. With two of the cherry team deceased and only her creator left alive, she has spent the last 50 years dedicated to her cause taking very little time for herself. When she does decide to do something for herself out of joy and the pursuit of her happiness she is reprimanded by Gareth and his stern reminders of her objective. Cherry had never given up on the objective, she was collecting more scum now than ever and had even gone worldwide covering as far as Norway and Greece and it pained her to know that ultimately, no matter how many she put away it would never end nor would it ever be enough for Gareth. Cherry as well as viewers are finally made aware of why this mission is so important and why Cherry’s existence was even considered. No spoilers here though! You’ll have to watch for yourself ;).

But the theme that parents sometimes indirectly burden their children with their own mistakes is indubitable. Cherry, once nothing more than zeros and ones was forced into existence as nothing more than an AI program that rapidly grew into an interactive tool to catch predators. She was forced to evolve, understand and learn decades of information and technology without ever questioning or complaining ultimately because of Gareth’s trauma and duplicity of his involvement with the Clearwater raid. This movie is a not-so-subtle reminder that no one is responsible for our insecurities or sensitivities but ourselves and to do the best you can to heal the wounds that hurt you, you will bleed on those that never cut you. But also to serve as a reminder to parents that just because funny and charming videos exist, and kid-centered apps like YouTube Kids & Roblox exist it does not eliminate the existence of predators. Monitor your child’s activity and access every device and application. 1 in 25 kids will be manipulated into physical contact within a year of initial solicitation. Social media is where over 80% of child-based sex crimes begin and only 15% of parents are aware of what their children are doing on the internet.

  • Gracie H. Sinfulcelluloid

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