IoT (doesn’t) ruin movies: Passengers

By | 3 minute read | May 26, 2017

Really big data

For many of my adolescent years I wanted to be an astrophysicist. I took a huge interest in space, the stars, solar systems and everything which came with it. Watching Passengers was everything I hoped for, it has is everything I think of when I imagine futuristic space travel. Slick, seamless interior with efficient connected devices, making your journey as smooth and care free as possible. The influence of new technology is evident in the film and so IoT certainly doesn’t ruin this movie – in fact it makes it!

The film: Passengers

Passengers was released in 2016, it’s a science-fiction film directed by Morten Tyldum and written by Jon Spaihts. It stars Chris Prat and Jennifer Lawrence, who play Jim and Aurora, two passengers on the Starship Avalon, which is carrying more than 5,000 passengers to a distant, habitable planet known as Homestead II.

Traveling at half the speed of light, the crew and passengers are expected to hibernate for 120 years before arriving. The film sees Jim and Aurora awoken from induced hibernation 90 years too early as the ship malfunctioned. As the two fall for each other, they discover the ship’s in grave danger and with the lives of the other sleeping passengers at stake, they’re the only ones who can save the day.

As you’d hope, the Starship Avalon has all the mod-cons and devices needed for space travel. It’s got all singing, all dancing robots, cognitive hotel rooms, sensors everywhere and hoovers that continuously roam and clean around you.

The cognitive bedroom

By recognizing Jim and Aurora’s preferred drinks, room temperature and having a hologram to offer information and answer any questions, the hotel rooms create a far more personalised experience. In fact, this isn’t far off reality, you can read about Harman Professional Solutions and IBM Watson Internet of Things new cognitive hotel room.

The robots

The robots on the Starship Avalon become friends to Jim and Aurora, they learn names, keep secrets and even offer advice. Arthur the bartender is excellent at making drinks, but he has to be able to listen and be a real friend to his customers. Arthur tries to adapt, because he wants to please and make Jim and Aurora happy, he understands the emotional context of conversations and responds appropriately. Since emotional intelligence is fundamentally a human advantage, it emphasizes the fact that these bots are created to serve humans. Although without the human characteristics, there are many cognitive cocktail machines on the market, which see you select which drink you want through an app and simply watch it pour.

Much like IBM’s cognitive learning machine Watson, the other robots learn different languages, like French and Spanish, and give solutions based on data they’ve collected. When the ship begins to malfunction, the robots on the ship cause more harm than good. However, IBM’s Artificial Intelligence wouldn’t let this happen, Watson simply recommends solutions, for humans to act upon, rather than robots taking control.

The database

Sensors and devices detected where issues occurred within the ship and they were flagged up in real time on the database. However, as machines began to fail at an accelerating rate the ships database became hindered in a big way. Elevators broke down, doors got stuck and at several points, the ship lost gravity, trapping Aroura in the water.

As no crew were awake the only people who could fix the issue were the two passengers, so whilst the technology is state of the art, it quickly becomes evident that it still requires human interaction and intelligence to maintain assets and machinery, which is why man and machine continue to work together to create the best results possible.

Learn more

We’ve ruined lots of movies with the help of the IoT, from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you’re intrigued to see a particular film get the IoT ruins movies treatment, let us know in the comments below.