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When AI feels at home

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-31 07:57
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A play, based on the sci-fi work, Humanoid, by Polish playwright Jaroslaw Murawski, will debut in Beijing on Sept 16.[Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

A Chinese play based on Polish playwright Jaroslaw Murawski's sci-fi work is set to debut, Chen Nan reports.

Is the increasing implementation of artificial intelligence in our daily lives exciting or concerning?

A Chinese play, based on the sci-fi work, Humanoid, by Polish playwright Jaroslaw Murawski, may give viewers the answer. The play follows humanoid robots, which go far beyond driving cars, cooking or cleaning. They look, sound and almost think like humans. They coexist with their human counterparts and are built for entertainment and solving real-life human problems while recognizing basic human emotions and serving as emotional companions.

Directed by Miao Ge and produced by Star Theater, a cultural institution in Beijing known for staging theatrical productions for small venues, the play will debut at Star Theater on Sept 16, with two rounds of performances through October. The tickets for the first round are sold out. The play will also be staged at a Star Theater branch in Chengdu, Sichuan province, that month.

"There are many movies and TV series dealing with the relationship between AI and humans. For Chinese theaters, it's a very new subject," says the producer of the play, Deng Wei, who is also the vice-president of Star Theater.

"Unlike some sci-fi movies and TV series that highlight AI against the backdrop of big-budget pictures, such as the universe and wars, this play takes audiences back to daily life, with stories taking place at commonly seen settings such as homes and parties, which are closer to their lives," Deng says.

Humanoid is the third play produced by Star Theater that centers on a future subject. In 2020, it premiered Too Crazy to Live, adapted from Chinese writer Yan Leisheng's 2012 sci-fi novel Plague, which marked Star Theater's 10th anniversary. In 2021, it staged an immersive sci-fi play, The Painted Skin 2677, directed by Ding Yiteng, based on the classic ghost story from Liaozhai Zhiyi (Strange Stories From a Chinese Studio) by Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) writer Pu Songling.

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