AI and the Newest Show from Peacock: Unpacking the Nuances of Faith and Technology
THE THREAT OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Many people today are worried about the emergence and popularization of AI, and for good reason. Some fear that AI will eventually replace humans in the workforce, causing widespread job loss. Others, like tech billionaire Elon Musk, warn of the existential threat that AI could potentially pose to humanity. Science fiction has been sounding the alarm about AI for years, but it’s important to examine both the potential benefits and drawbacks of this new technology with a critical eye.
EXPLORING THE FAITH-TECHNOLOGY NEXUS
The new show, “Mrs. Davis,” executive produced by Damon Lindelof and created by Tara Hernandez, tackles the issue of AI head-on. The main character, a nun named Simone, grapples with the implications of AI’s rise and its potential to either bring about salvation or ruin. While the show can be a bit messy at times, it’s ultimately compelling and entertaining.
A COEN BROTHERS-ESQUE ROAD TRIP
“Mrs. Davis” strikes a similar note to the early work of the Coen Brothers, with its lush visuals and the rhythm of a folk tale. The show also shares common themes with “Preacher,” following characters deeply committed to their faith who must grapple with the challenges posed by a rapidly changing world. Simone, who grew up with a magician father, is now a nun who exposes con artists and fraudsters. But when an all-seeing AI named Mrs. Davis appears on the scene, she must confront the implications of a new faith in technology that has millions of followers.
THE DANGERS OF BLIND FAITH
Mrs. Davis promises its users a better life and offers them jobs, homes, and emotional fulfillment. In return, her most devout followers can earn virtual angel wings that are only visible through an app on their phone. Simone finds the whole situation deeply unsettling, and is puzzled by the millions of people who have handed over control of their lives to a mysterious AI with no clear origin or purpose. But each time she tries to reject Mrs. Davis, the AI becomes more persistent, eventually offering Simone the chance to destroy the Holy Grail in exchange for one wish. Accompanied by her cowboy ex-boyfriend Wiley, Simone sets off on a strange journey that takes them to unexpected places.
THE POWER OF CHARACTER IN A WHIRLWIND PLOT
The show moves quickly, whisking viewers from one locale to another, and sometimes from one strange concept to another. Despite this, it’s still easy to get caught up in the story thanks to Betty Gilpin’s electric performance as Simone. Even amid the cartoon-like world she inhabits, Gilpin manages to convey real pathos and humor. It’s easy to root for her even as we question her sanity and the increasingly bizarre world she inhabits.
A CINEMATIC PORTRAYAL OF FAITH
The show also offers a unique exploration of faith and how it intersects with technology. In many ways, Mrs. Davis represents a new form of faith that competes with established religions. Simone struggles to reconcile her own faith with the strange new world of AI, and this struggle is reflected in the show’s cinematic style. There’s something fascinating about how “Mrs. Davis” turns traditionally internal pursuits like prayer into something cinematic and tangible.
REFLECTING ON OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TECHNOLOGY
All in all, “Mrs. Davis” is a thought-provoking and entertaining show that asks us to take stock of our relationship with technology. While Simone may be a technophobe to some extent, the show itself is not anti-technology. Rather, it encourages us to pause and reflect on the degree to which we rely on technology in our lives. Do we care about our apps and algorithms a little too much? This is an important question that we should all consider.
“Mrs. Davis” premieres today, April 20, on Peacock.
1. CNET, https://www.cnet.com
2. Elon Musk, https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1382410849262099975