The banality of evil


Since at least Stanley Kubrick’s HAL (2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968) cinematic imagination has reveled in the techno-disaster narrative of the benevolent A.I. turned psychotic anti-hero. Might the spectacle of these futuristic nightmares distract us from the more subtle -but more concrete- ways in which digital computers have already begun to turn on us? Already the keenest critical eyes discern a new “banality of evil,” perpetrated by artificial intelligences and computational models that act in relatively un-dramatic but nonetheless ethically dubious ways across a range of social, political, and economical fields.

Movies in this program