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What do an elderly topiary gardener, a retired lion tamer, a man fascinated by mole rats, and a cutting-edge robotics designer have in common? Both nothing and everything in this unconventional documentary directed by Erroll Morris. Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (Referring to the robot specialist's strange philosophy of robot design structure, not Erroll Morris's documentary techniques!) interplays, overlaps, and interrelates these four separate and highly specialized documentary subjects in order to in truth study all of humanity, raising questions about the future of mankind. Written by
Matthew F. Griffin
In science, there is a property of any complex system, that more complexity and subtlety will result with each added component. This, in my opinion, was the subject of "Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control." The parallels drawn between AI, societal mammals, commonality of life (the lion tamer) and art (topiary gardener) flesh out a world where the idea of "God" can well be reduced to a simple inherent property of existence. Mole rat societies are not so far from human societies; humans are not so different from animals; robots are not so different from animals; and each individual represents a unique degree of specialization that proves important to the greater society it exists in. I found this work elegant, subtle, and even-handed, not to mention completely unique in its structure and faith in the audience to decipher an individual meaning from the context provided. Each person interviewed is wholly engrossed in their craft, something for which no other human can be substituted, and that exuberance shines in their eyes. It's a strange ride that inspires wonder in trusting viewers, exactly the way that the experts' wonder has motivated their realization as truly unique humans.
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