From Book to Screen- “Supertoys Last All Summer Long” by Brian Aldiss / “Artificial Intelligence” by Steven Spielberg pt. 1
Supertoys Last All Summer Long is a story about a curious robot boy name David. He is the property of Henry and Monica Swinton. Along with his robot teddy bear, David begins to question his existence. The word “real” is something David is trying to define and understand. How can you rule out if something is real? What acknowledgment supports the definition of real? What is the specifics of something being real? Can something that does not really transcend into the real? David has a sense of his existence being a bit out of place.
Henry is Managing Director of the Synthank Corporation. He announces the company’s breakthrough in an intelligent synthetic life-form. The first full-size serving-man is developed. In an overpopulated future, robots were the logical answer to the problem. Couples now have to enter a lottery for their chance to have a child. Robots can have labor without retirement or expiration. Never hungry, tired, emotional, and never grow old.
Since Monica and Henry waited for their name to come up in the lottery, they decided to get David. The void of having a child in the house was filled. David was programmed to love Monica and Henry unconditionally. Lately, David is trying to find the right words to express his love for his “mummy”. He tries continuously with pieces of paper and his crayon to write a letter to Monica. Somehow, he can’t find the right way to write his feelings.
With the introduction of a new intelligent robot from Henry’s corporation, complications arise with the more advanced robots. In David’s case, his way of thinking is limited in a way. His mind can wander so far with within the box of thoughts that is programmed into his brain. David is not defined by his limitations because he has no other child around him to reference his individually too. Monica acknowledges David’s limitations in him rather than acknowledging him as a real person.
The story concludes with Monica and Henry shedding tears of joy. Their name was selected in the lottery to have a child. Now Monica and Henry and be parents of a “real child”. The story closes with David asking “Teddy- I suppose Mummy and Daddy are real, aren’t they?”. Teddy answers, “You ask such silly questions, David. Nobody knows what ‘real’ really means”.