© backflip (Nikita Diakur, 2022)


‘Deep reinforcement learning’, what we colloquially call ‘artificial intelligence’ and ‘machine learning’, has been developing exponentially in recent years thanks to the billions of dollars invested by giant technology companies. Though confusing and at times also scary, it's a welcome development in many fields, such as healthcare and medicine, robotics, and the fight against the climate crisis.

This complex process by which artificial intelligence learns something and thus develops itselves further is also at the heart of Nikita Diakur's backflip. The German filmmaker created an avatar in a virtual world (DeepMimic) in which ‘it’ tries to learn a backflip. What kind of film do you get when you use the given technique to teach such a painful process? What can we learn from such behaviour?

The result is a slapstick comedy full of philosophical musings. Who is the real protagonist of this film — the avatar? Artificial intelligence? Or the real Nikita, perceiving the AI? A genuine crowd pleaser. Read more on Talking Shorts.

Backflip is part of Animeernacht at Anima. Win two tickets for the screening on Saturday 25th of February at 21h30 in Flagey, Brussels.