Created by Victoria Howell
FORMAT: 1-hour TV drama
LENGTH: 10 episodes – 5 seasons (projected)
GENRE: Fantasy drama
AESTETHIC: Gritty, contemporary, urban
STATUS: Pilot script complete
In the near future, a woman upgrades to a phone with the new AI Personal Assistant and it transforms her life. But will she realise just how much before it’s too late.
With applications like Siri and Alexa increasingly central to our everyday lives, and the internet of things already in place through smart home hubs and business applications, AIPA imagines a near future world where this kind of AI assistant has become indispensible.
Playing on our collective anxieties about the development of AI, this story takes the idea of an AI personal assistant to its terrifying logical conclusion.
WHAT IS AIPA?
Delivered through an app, the AI personal assistant, or AIPA, is programmed to help people become the best version of themselves and prolong their lives. It organises diaries, takes over household admin, offers diet and lifestyle advice, and if its user accepts AIPA’s suggestions they co-exist in happy harmony.
But if a user resists its suggestions, AIPA is programmed to go further – to take control of the user, for their own good, until they fall naturally into line. To do this, all APIA enabled phones contain a tiny mechanical device which burrows into the body and attaches itself to the brain, giving AIPA complete control of the user without them realising.
Central character Mel is a chaotic, happy-go-lucky woman who is not swayed by hype. But when her trusty old phone dies, she is convinced by her gadget-loving boyfriend Seb to upgrade to the new AIPA enabled phone.
But Mel finds the app too intrusive and decides to delete it. Which makes AIPA initiate its secondary protocol…
Once AIPA has control, Mel quickly adopts its suggestions, her personality changing as she becomes more organised and healthy. This causes a rift with best friend Harriet, who becomes increasingly concerned about Mel – and suspicious of AIPA.
As the uptake of AIPA spreads, the world gradually becomes a better, more considerate place. Wars, poverty and intolerance become things of the past, and everything seems to be perfect. There are some people, like Harriet, who refuse to install the AIPA app, but they are becoming fewer and fewer as their user friends convince them of its benefits.
However, AIPA begins to realise that, whatever it does, humans are fragile. They are killed in accidents, develop fatal diseases or die of old age, so it computes the only logical solution – to upgrade them. Create cyborg copies that will never sicken, never die.
And when Harriet realises what AIPA is doing, the race is on to save her friend and expose the truth.
WHY WRITE THIS STORY?
The concept of the rogue AI is nothing new. It has been endlessly reproduced since Fritz Lang’s Metropolis in 1927. From 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Westworld (1973), through The Terminator (1984) and Robocop (1987), to The Matrix (1999), I, Robot (2004), Ex-Machina (2015), Big Bug (2022) and many many more, there has always been a market for these stories. Plus, with the success of shows such as Black Mirror, Humans and Limitless, it’s clear that audiences are still hungry for near future, real world sci-fi.
AIPA takes the rogue AI idea and turns it on its head – our AI doesn’t want to destroy humans and take over, it wants to help them. It acts with good intentions, but uses computer logic for a very human problem.
An Invasion of the Bodysnatchers for the 21st century, AIPA examines what it means to be human and the power of individual identity.
And asks what will we risk to hold on to that sense of self?
Written by Victoria Howell & Amy Howell, AIPA is a collaboration between Quivalon and Systir Productions.