Blade  Runner

Colonial Theatre Phoenixville, PA


Matthew Malencia

Ph.D. student in Electrical and Systems Engineering, University of Pennsylvania

Blade Runner— Artificial Intelligence in Film: Are We Destined for Dystopia?

Are we destined for dystopia? Rick Deckard’s job as a “blade runner” in the year 2019 is to track down bioengineered humanoids. We don’t yet live in this dystopian future of synthetic humans and space colonies, but could we? What is artificial intelligence (AI) already capable of? And what might AI look like during our lifetime?

Colonial Theatre Phoenixville, PA

Film Synopsis

A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

In the not-too-distant future, Los Angeles and the surrounding area has become a dystopian wasteland, heavily industrialized and overcrowded. Genetically engineered humanoid beings known as replicants are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation for use in dangerous off-world colonization. Retired police officer Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), whose job was to track down replicants and assassinate them, is informed that four have come to Earth illegally. Called before his one-time superior (M. Emmett Walsh), Deckard is forced back into active duty to find and destroy the rogue replicants. Ridley Scott’s neo-noir classic initially polarized critics, but has since come to be regarded as one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time.

About the Speaker

Matthew Malencia is a robotics researcher, an AI educator, and a science policy advocate. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania with advisors Dr. Vijay Kumar and Dr. George Pappas, and is a visiting researcher at the University of Cambridge with Dr. Amanda Prorok. His research focuses on fairness and diversity on robot teams. Matthew is the co-director of AI4ALL@GRASP, a summer program that teaches Philadelphia area high school students the fundamentals of artificial intelligence and robots. Lastly, Matthew works with the Science Policy & Diplomacy Group at the University of Pennsylvania on AI ethics and policy. He has written multiple AI memos; engaged with policymakers on AI topics; and, during a science and technology forum, delivered an intervention on the floor of the United Nations.