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Colossus: The Forbin Project

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General Information:
Year Released: 1969
Country: US
Director: Joseph Sargent
Literary Source: D. F. Jones, Colossus

The theme of a computer running out of control and taking over is not a new one, but it is extremely well done in this film.

The Promise of Science: Computers

There are many films where powerful machines turn on their human makers without any sort of sabotage or intervention. The computer in Colossus is a perfect example of this. At the height of the Cold War, the United States develops an enormous computer system in a top secret underground facility. This machine's single purpose is to keep America (and the planet) safe from nuclear war. To this end, the country's entire arsenal is placed at its disposal.

As soon as the machine is brought online, it begins to learn, and establishes its own identity. It has access to every piece of information known to humans, including all top-secret intelligence. Through this intelligence, Colossus learns that Russia might also be developing a large computer installation. It demands a network link to establish contact with this other artificial intelligence, and gets it by threatening the humans with their own arsenal.

Once connected, the two machines use the universal language of mathematics to establish a means of communicating with one another. They quickly surpass human understanding, and arrive at a conclusion: in order for the world to be a safe and peaceful place, the humans can not control it. The machines then systematically revoke control of everything from the humans, placing the entire planet under a new form of military dictatorship.

Colossus' interior is vast and underground, similarin appearance to the Krell's supercomputer.

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. erika . .
. last modified: Feb 23, 2000 .