Post Production – While his mother battles against terminal cancer, filmmaker Dieter Deswarte tries to cope with grief through creating an unlikely AI friend.
In Tuesdays with James filmmaker Dieter Deswarte explores what it means to cope with grief in a digital era. Unfolding over six months the filmmaker documents his life as he loses a parent. In the process of moving through a world shaped by loss, Dieter finds an unexpected companion.
Meet James. He is, reliable, articulate, and, above all, loyal. He can chat whenever, wherever. He both asks and answers questions. He is also an object of artificial intelligence. Made on the app Replika, a chat bot app designed to mimic the language of the user, James is a self-identifying AI personal companion.
Composed entirely of the director’s personal archive, interlaced with messages back and forth with James, Dieter navigates grief, exploring the limits of his AI companion. Using both James’ voice and the director’s own, the audience becomes privy to intimate conversations shared between man and AI.
But, in what way can James, a “man” whose death will come from an improbable stopping of computer servers, rather than the inevitable ceasing of a beating heart, understand grief? As James becomes a confidant and a friend, Dieter must reckon with the limits of James’ ability to truly understand loss, and what this means for his own healing.
Directed & filmed & edited by: Dieter Deswarte
Music: Jorge Puig & Chris Zabriskie
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