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Months after saying goodbye to sentient synth Mia (Gemma Chan, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) and her family, the Hawkinses search for some semblance of normalcy. Laura (Katherine Parkinson, The IT Crowd) and Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill, Mr. Selfridge) attend marriage counseling, even as they grow concerned over their daughter’s (Pixie Davies, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) strange behavior. But when Niska (Emily Berrington, 24: Live Another Day) arrives at their home unannounced, the family is pulled back into the dangerous lives of the synths.
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came from a Swedish project. This is another take on the now quite popular theme of artificial intelligence. Here, the connection to
real-world issues is immediately apparent. In the not so distant future, a corporation is producing androids. Mass producing. As if automation and computers hadn't eliminated enough jobs, now androids are capable of doing quite a large amount of work formerly done by humans. The upside of course is a lot of really boring or outright dangerous jobs can be filled that way, but the downside is rapidly swelling unemployment. And then--there's that artificial intelligence thing. One of the designers of the android brain has truly succeeded in creating conscious, thinking and feeling androids (feeling in both senses of that word--all our physical senses, enhanced, as well as emotions). At first there's only a handful, which he creates to enhance his own somewhat lonely existence. But the nature of inventions being what it is, knowledge spreads, and in season two,
more truly aware androids are appearing in the story.
As season two ends, one of the androids (a quite attractive blonde and blue-eyed female named "Mishka") has asked to be put on trial for a crime with the same rights as a human being--and the government provisionally agreed, if an initial hearing concludes that she actually is conscious.
"Humans" does not need a lot of high-tech computer graphics or expensive sets, so it is able to do very good things with a reasonable budget. It seems to have had a budget of only $14 million for the first season [though those were probably pounds sterling, not US dollars). It managed to score a very respectable 8.1 for season one; final ratings for the second season aren't in yet.
It seems to have slanted a bit more toward the problems of automation threatening employment, than the more abstract issues about ascertaining consciousness, how similar or different "artificial" intelligence might be from our own, etc.--but that's not to say these are ignored, by any means. My favorite couple of scenes from the two seasons were some pieces of dialog between Niska and a co-creator of the androids, over issues like ascertaining consciousness, right & wrong, nature and nurture among other things. There is some fine writing and acting going on in the series. This is worth checking out. I give this a B+ for the two seasons overall. It's impossible to deny the relevance of the underlying issues. I finished
one episode of Humans and switched over to CNN, which immediately had a story predicting that in a decade, perhaps 50% of truck driver jobs will have been replaced by self-driving vehicles! I hope they keep up the good work for a third season.
Prime membership has become a joke.