A new play on AI ethics takes the stage in Auckland

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Think Frankenstein, with a feminist and futuristic twist.

Written by award-winning New Zealand author Emily Perkins, The Made is a play that explores some of the ethical issues that sentient artificial intelligence could pose to humanity.

“My character, Arie, is a former sex bot, from a time when robots are incredibly common,” says actress Hannah Tasker-Poland.

Veteran actress Alison Bruce stars as Alice, a scientist who set out to reprogram robots with emotions.

“Ironically, I create this feeling, empathetic robot, but actually my life is a disaster, emotionally,” she says.

Even though the play is set in the future, director Colin McColl says it’s not far from real life.

“I didn’t know anything about AI, so I was surprised how advanced it is,” he says.

“There are places like Japan, of course, where there are entire hotels that are run by robots.”

As for what audiences can expect, Tasker-Poland and Bruce say the play is funny, with an important underlying message.

“Does it raise all these questions around ethics and morality if we allow this robot to feel real emotion?” says Tasker-Poland.

“Who knows how this is going to turn out. I feel pretty disturbed about this, because, you know, humans are messy.”

The Made opens Thursday at the ASB Waterfront Theater in Auckland.

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