This Is What Happens When a Robot Assassin Goes to Therapy

Computers are getting good at a lot of things they didn’t used to be able to do at all. They can drive cars, diagnose patients, and understand speech. They’ve even started to be capable of tasks that involve qualities like compassion or creativity—qualities that, until now, have been distinctly human.

Far from losing these skills, computers are only going to pick up more skills over time, and further blur the line between machine and human. Among the excitement and worry that accompany this trend is a broader conversation: how far is AI going to go, exactly, and where is that line?

Many consider the final frontier of humanity to be consciousness: being aware of oneself in relation to the larger world, and interacting with other self-aware beings around us. If computers somehow become conscious, what will set us apart from them?

A new original series from Recursor.TV, an online repository for indie sci-fi short films, is dedicated to exploring these questions. In Nina Unlocked, an AI named Nina has no desire to be human, yet she displays distinctly human qualities, and she wants to figure out who—or what—she is.