The UFO Chronicles: A History of Mysterious Sightings
Dir. Brian Cunningham & Matt Niehoff (2023)
The history of UFOs is explored in the first documentary written, illustrated, and performed entirely using artificial intelligence.
What the actual fuck, guys? I’ve never been so fascinated and disturbed by anything in quite the same was as this film affected me. The UFO Chronicles: A History of Mysterious Sightings is the first documentary ever that was made entirely by AI, bringing us one step closer to the eventual takeover by our cybernetic overlords. I didn’t even know that this was a thing that was possible, much less something that could be so… watchable. As the film begins to break down UFO sightings throughout history, going as far back as Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World and exploring decades of sightings with varying levels of documentation, you can’t help but sit in awe and realize that a computer made this in its entirety. It’s almost disturbing that artificial intelligence has advanced so quickly, and I may have to rethink my belief that all of that “artificial intelligence will eventually enslave humanity” stuff was just nonsense. Maybe they’re closer than we think…
As if to make light of the novelty of such a product created by a computer, the documentary is at least equal in quality to anything that you’d find down the Netflix rabbit hole or airing late night on TLC or the like. If you’re a fan of UFO history, you probably already know most of the stories that are recounted within this film, but it’s still a fascinating topic that is always interesting to hear again. The fact that the film was produced in the way that it was gives the whole thing an air of incredulity, a disbelief that make it even more horrifying than it is captivating.
I know that part of my amazement with this film is due to my complete lack of understanding of artificial intelligence, and I’m ok with that. The fact that something this coherent could be made by a computer program, especially when my inbox is often filled with films that lack that same coherency, is utterly insane. It’s a good documentary! It’s interesting, it’s linearly laid out, and the artwork that accompanies each topic is not only fitting but accurate in comparison with all of the other documentaries I’ve seen on the same topic. Everything from Roswell to the Mothman are discussed within, each segment discussed in great detail with some awesome still artwork illustrating each story. While most of the film is less dynamic than a lot of other similar documentaries, it is nonetheless enthralling when the origins of the film are considered.
There’s little within The UFO Chronicles to indicate that it was, indeed, made by artificial intelligence, though there are a few times where the words being spoken sound slightly computer generated if you listen close enough. One of the more concerning aspects of the film, outside of the notion that AI is far more advanced than I personally realized, is that the actual narrator was created by the intelligence as well. Deepfakes are one thing, but the fact that artificial intelligence is now able to create, entirely self-sufficiently, what appears to be a normal human being on video discussing in-depth topics, is downright frightening. The potential to be misused for nefarious goals should scare all of us, the possibilities utterly limitless. While the actual subjects that the documentary discusses are interesting in and of themselves, it is this part of the film that makes it one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen.
Who this movie is for: Documentary fans, UFO nuts, Sarah Connor
Bottom line: Utterly terrifying if only because of the implications, The UFO Chronicles: A History of Mysterious Sightings is nonetheless an interesting documentary on subject matter alone. The implications of artificial intelligence and its ability to entirely create an in-depth documentary of this scale should scare you more than anything you’ve seen in a while. The potential of its misuse could have world-rending applications, making the documentary even more important than it may otherwise be. If you’re interested in UFOs, as I most certainly am, the documentary is worth a watch simply as a documentary. If you really enjoy being mortally afraid of what the future holds, then the film has entirely different and more serious significance. This is a film that everyone should watch, if only to see what the future may well hold for us all. Check it out streaming on Amazon Prime. It’s worth the price of admission, because our upcoming enslavement by robots will make money useless anyway.