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SYFY WIRE Mrs. Davis

Damon Lindelof Responds to 'Frightening' Mrs. Davis Question from Actual A.I.

Mrs. Davis' creators were interviewed by actual A.I., and the results are interesting.

By Matthew Jackson
Betty Gilpin as Simone in Mrs. Davis Episode 106

What if you took the creators of an acclaimed show about an artificial intelligence and interviewed them with actual artificial intelligence

It's a question somebody was bound to answer sooner or later with Mrs. Davis, the acclaimed Peacock original sci-fi series starring Betty Gilpin as a determined nun doing her best to bring down the title algorithm, an internationally beloved A.I. with mysterious origins and desires. Now, Variety has actually set up the conversation, prompting ChatGPT to develop a series of interview questions for Gilpin and series co-creators Tara Hernandez and Damon Lindelof

Mrs. Davis co-creators interviewed by actual A.I.

If you read the full interview, you might notice that some of the questions are rather pedestrian and predictable, and others are downright inaccurate. Still, there are some gems in there, particularly when they're asked in the context of an artificial intelligence trying to "talk" to the creators of a show about such a powerful A.I. One question in particular was so germane to the overall theme of the interview that Lindelof in particular was somewhat chilled by what he'd just been asked. 

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Here's the question, coming direct from ChatGPT: "The show explores the idea that technology and spirituality are not necessarily at odds with each other. How did you approach exploring this theme, and what do you hope viewers take away from it?"

A still image from Mrs. Davis Season 1 Episode 5

Now, it's worth noting that the A.I. is not the first thing to make this connection with Mrs. Davis. It's a common piece of analysis applied to the show, which helps explain why ChatGPT was able to summon it up from the wider internet. If a human asked this question, it would feel right at home in a discussion of the show. When an artificial intelligence asks it, it takes a little bit of a different tone.

Here's how Lindelof responded: "It’s a slightly frightening question from an algorithm, because it’s taking the faith vs. technology premise and litigating the 'versus,'" he said. "And that’s something that we did constantly, where in any 'versus' story, the real creative juice is in this idea that neither one of these things is ultimately going to win or lose, they have to find a way to coexist. The premise of the show is faith and technology are sort of interchangeable, and where the overlap is in the Venn diagram. But ultimately, the one thing that faith will always have going for it that tech doesn’t is that it embraces this sense of the unknowable, unseeable and inexplicable. What we hope viewers take away from the show is, not enough television talks about faith. The television or movies that do very often proselytize. We just want people to be thinking about these things. If they are talking about their spirituality through the prism of this goofy 'nun versus AI' show, then mission accomplished."

RELATED: ‘Mrs. Davis’ Star Betty Gilpin Worries A.I. Could Make Us Stop Asking the ‘Big Questions’

As anyone who's watched Mrs. Davis knows, that's a theme running through the entire series, from Sister Simone's (Gilpin) very personal relationship with Jesus, to what happens when nuns use Mrs. Davis, to how this all connects to the Holy Grail itself. It's all very fascinating, and seeing it remarked upon by any A.I. is both even more fascinating and...well, a little creepy.

Mrs. Davis is now streaming on Peacock.