A few years ago, one of my friend asked me to do a review of any artificial intelligence movie as part of their assignments. After watching a few movies, I finally decided to review "The Thirteenth Floor". At that time, the emphasis was on the technical aspects of the artificial intelligence used in the movie but now I have trimmed it to be posted on our blog here. Hope you people will like it. And at the end, there is a question for all of us. Think about it.
The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
The time is somewhere in the late 1990s. A multi-billionaire computer entrepreneur Hannon Fuller is the inventor of a virtual reality (VR) simulation of the 1937 Los Angeles. To populate the virtual city, they use brainscans from the real world people. Each person in the virtual city has a user from the outside world and the neuron structure of both are the same so that they can easily transfer from real to virtual and vice versa.
The process of this transfer of minds from real to virtual is done on the thirteenth floor of the building. The real user mind is uploaded into the virtual body while the the virtual mind is downloaded into the user body so that the basic human body functions of the user run smoothly for the time he/she is using the virtual world. The transfer process is done in a sealed environment while the user body is kept unconscious so that the virtual mind cannot control it.
|End of the World?|
The company has two employees of which Douglas Hall is the senior one. Just months before launching the system public, the owner Fuller is murdered. And the prime suspect is Hall but he has no recollection of the time of murder. During the investigation by LAPD Detective Larry McBain, Hall meets Jane, the daughter of his murdered boss. Later Jane give an alibi when Hall is imprisoned after a local bartender (witness to a murder-night meeting between Hall and Fuller), is found murdered.
The way the brain of the virtual host is matched to that of the real user, it is possible that the virtual brain would wake up inside the real user if something goes wrong. Hall attempts to track and find a message Fuller left in the simulation. In the virtual world, Hall learns that bartender Jerry Ashton has stumbled upon the truth about his artificial nature after reading the message Fuller left for Hall. Frightened and angry, Ashton tries to kill Hall, who barely survives to escape the virtual reality.
The characters in the virtual world go on with their lives even if their real world users are not logged onto the system. As for example, the virtual character of Hall is that of a bank clerk and the clerk carries on with his routine even though Hall is not logged on all the time. But when he logs in, the virtual mind is transferred into his body and so whatever he does during this time, has no memory in the brain of the clerk as it was not present in the virtual world during this time!
In the virtual world, Hall found the double of Jane working as a grocery clerk but fail to recognize him. Perplexed, Hall intends to perform an experiment as instructed by Fuller in his letter. To drive to a place where he never would have considered going otherwise. When he arrives, he sees that the area, and everything within it, does not exist, and is, instead, replaced with wire frame models. Finally understanding the meaning of inventor Fuller’s message, Hall grasps the truth — that 1990s Los Angeles, his world, is a simulation.
In fact, the 1990s Los Angeles, the Hall’s world is only one of the thousands of virtual worlds created by the world of 2024. But the distinguishing part is that this world created its own virtual world of 1937. Jane Fuller lives in the “real world” — and only participated in the 1990s simulation to assume the identity of Hannon Fuller’s daughter, gain control of the company, and shut down the simulated 1937 reality. Hall is modeled on David, Jane’s real-world husband, who, in the 1990s simulation, is seeking pleasure by murdering people. It was David who committed the murders (whilst controlling Hall’s body), on becoming jealous when his wife Jane fell in love with Hall, in the simulation.
Whitney, Hall’s associate, enters the 1937 simulation, assuming the role of bartender Jerry Ashton, who has kidnapped Ferguson (Hall’s 1937 identity) and bound him in the trunk of his car. When Whitney is killed in a car crash, Ashton’s consciousness is released to Whitney’s body (in the 1990s simulation). Ashton kills a security guard, David assumes control of Hall, kills Ashton, and attempts to rape and murder Jane, who is saved by Det. McBain shooting and killing David.
That death releases Hall’s consciousness into David’s body; he wakes in 2024, connected to a VR system. He disconnects the system and finds Jane and her father, much resembling Hannon Fuller, the man he was accused of killing in his original reality.
So my friends, what if the world that we live in is a virtual one, part of thousands or millions of similar other worlds created by a “real world”? Do you think it is possible?