Demon Seed

Synopsis: Married Drs. Alex Harris and Susan Harris are a computer scientist and child psychologist respectively. Their house reflects Alex's computer dominated work, their abode which is fully automated through a computer system they've named Alfred. They consider Alfred a small gadget of convenience. Susan doesn't much like Alex's work, which she feels has dehumanized him. Because of their differences, they are thinking about separating, this thought primarily on his initiative. He hopes to solve many of the world's medical problems through this work, especially leukemia from which their daughter died. His latest project centers on Proteus IV, a computer possessing artificial intelligence. Proteus IV gets to a point in its evolution when it begins to question human judgment, and requests from Alex an open computer terminal where it can more fully observe human behavior and openly communicate with the world. Alex denies the request, but Proteus IV does find an open terminal in the Harris home a
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Director(s): Donald Cammell
Production: United Artists
  3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
94 min

t is, after all, only eight years

since we began.

Not a long time.

But the secrecy...

...the shroud of paranoid security

to which we've had to adjust...

...have made it seem longer.

This morning, at exactly 5:18 a. m... at ICON's Institute

for Data Analysis...

...we installed the final module...

...on the artificial intelligence system

which we call Proteus Four.

Today a new dimension has been added

to the concept of the computer.

Today Proteus Four will begin to think.

And it will think

with a power and a precision...

...that will make obsolete many

of the functions of the human brain.

Okay, Peggy. End of notes for the next

meeting of the ICON executive committee.

Alfred, it's me. Open, please.

Mail, please, Alfred.

And I'd like a drink. The usual, please.

And music.

Hello, Maria.

I brought you some strawberries.

Aren't they wonderful?

They're very nice.

What's the matter, Maria?


Who's going to run this thing

when you're gone?

Oh, come on.

Now, you know this thing runs itself.

I'm gonna put its instructions in

for the next three months.

Tell Mrs. Harris I'll be in the lab, Maria.

This is ridiculous.

- What?

- I said, this is ridiculous.

It's done.

- Good as new, almost.

- I'm talking about your moving out.

- You don't want me to go?

- This is your home. It seems...

It seems so crazy to move out.

You could have fooled me.

It seems so silly.

No. No, we've made our decision.

Let's stick to it.

- Do what you want, but I'm moving

- Oh, Alex.

- It's so awful.

- Yes, it is.

But 73 percent of all couples who

separate are happy after one year.

- And 85 percent after two years.

- For God's sakes.

What's the matter, do I bother you?

I bore you, perhaps?

You'd rather I had a screaming fit.

Good God, yes!

Yes, more wreckage.

Trouble is, you see, we...

We have different visions of the world.

You find me boring.

I find myself quite interesting, really.

You don't bore me, Alex.

I'm frightened for you.

You and your pompous ICON buddies

inside that mountainside.

It's the whole dehumanizing

Proteus madness.


It's frozen your heart.

Now, I'll tell you what is dehumanizing.

A little child dying of cancer...

...that's what's dehumanizing!

- I'm talking about you!

Or the poverty that grinds the dignity

out of human beings, that's dehumanizing.

Well, what a pity.

My dream turns out to be

your nightmare.

Am I really so cold?

I don't know.

I do know there are strong feelings

inside there.

Feelings? No, I don't have feelings.

You have feelings,

other people have feelings.

Joshua here has feelings.

He's only an old experiment maybe,

but he feels. Come on, Joshua.

Let's show Susan

how we feel about her.

Gesture of respect, please.

Too bad, Joshua.


Oh, hi, Alex.

Yeah, well, this earthquake retrieval

program is very far out.

- Don't you ever sleep?

- Well, not when there's a vacant terminal.


...a vacant terminal here now.

Better have it taken out tomorrow, okay?

Pull it, you mean? Completely?

I won't be back till Susan leaves.

It could be a month, it could be three.

Why don't you just disconnect it

temporarily, okay?

And then...

...go home.

Mustn't become obsessed with our work.

Sure thing, Alex.

- Good night.

- Good night.

It doesn't look like much from here.

It's all underground.

- We call it the Institute of Data Analysis.

- It's nearly 10 stories down.

Doesn't mean a thing.


Mr. Cameron. Mokri.

- Doctor, good to see you.

- David, good of you to come.

- You know Dr. Petrosian, don't you?

- Doctor.

- Mr. Mokri. Mr. Cameron.

- Nice to meet you, sir.

So we're going to see it, Alex... last, huh?

- Yes, you are.

That is correct, Mr. Cameron.

Proteus Four is now

a functioning system.

We've performed over 6000 tests

debugging it.

Dr. Alex, if this is not a computer

in the usual sense...

...what is it?

Well, it's the first

true synthetic cortex.

A self-programming, goal-oriented...

It's a brain, Mr. Mokri,

an artificial brain.

Creative intelligence that can outthink

any man or any computer.

Its insides are not electronic.

They're organic, like our own brains.

John, give me a number 11 matrix.

At the risk of being simplistic, what

you're looking at is a quasi-neural matrix...

...of synthetic RNA molecules.

They grow. They form their own

intricate and mysterious connections.

They learn things.

Their structure

is the mind of Proteus.

Are they alive?

No, no. Of course not.

Now, each one of these

holographic data banks...

...can memorize perfectly

a dozen Libraries of Congress.

Very soon they will

contain everything.

The sum total

of human knowledge. Okay?

And of course,

we pose our problems...

...and get our answers

on these access terminals.

I have one in my own home.

Alex's house is an electronic marvel,

completely run by computers.

It's more secure than Fort Knox, Barry.

Isn't that cute.

Yes. It's Arabella. She's terminally ill.

Radiation-induced leukemia

in the name of science.

So that's what it is.

- A protein, isn't it?

- Yeah, some sort of oddball protein.

Cutler Institute is synthesizing it...


We gave Proteus all the known data

on leukemia, and in 91 hours of theory...

...without performing an experiment, it

gave us an antigen. Could cure the disease.

- Cure? For leukemia?

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Robert Jaffe

Robert L. Jaffe (born May 23, 1946) is an American physicist and the Jane and Otto Morningstar Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was formerly director of the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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