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THE AI AT DELPHI Canterbury Woods Performing Arts Center/First Look Buffalo
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May 1, 2024, 17:02
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Through May 19
THE AI AT DELPHI Canterbury Woods Performing Arts Center/First Look Buffalo

The future of the world is tied up in two letters, A and I.
At least, that’s true if the hype and research and development spending are any clues to where the world is going.
Basically, we’re shifted from word processing with computers to leaving the words to your laptop.
If that’s true, there are some pretty basic changes in the work world on the way.
Of course, from years of working with Microsoft software there might be some AI difficulties.
That’s given the computer company’s history, like my continuing problems with WORD writing reviews.
Bella Poynton is pondering what happens in “The AI at Delphi.”
That’s getting a fascinating high-tech production from First look Buffalo.
In the first act, IZ (Melinda Capeles) is a shifting face in a computer screen talking to her computer expert “mother” Pythia (Lisa Ludwig), American President Arthur (Jon May) and techie Calos (Anthony J. Grande.
In the second act, IZ has met Pinocchio’s desire to be a real person, here a young woman involved with Calos and being berated by Arthur.
She has just used her skills to win a war, although it’s not clear who was on the other side and what the damage was.
The play is wordy, very wordy.
That leaves director Jeffrey Coyle and set designer/builder Sarah Waechter less to do, other than computers and large screen for first act IZ.
We’ve been arguing about computers and their effects on humans since science fiction began to delve into the issues and those issues aren’t resolved.
That’s years after “Dune” author Frank Herbert wrote about humans doing away with the computers which were taking over their lives, immortalized by his son Brian and Kevin J. Anderson in “The Butlerian Jihad.”
It’s not a simple issue and we don’t know where tech will take us, next week or in 2044.
However, on Poynton’s stage, we can see the shaping of the debate and the potential for great change, maybe for the good, maybe not.
Long ago, working in a bank computer center, we were convinced the bank executives really didn’t understand what was going on across town in the night hours, even with what they saw in fundamental changes in bank operations, like the Univac in the back room processing that day’s checks and keeping the books.
It generally worked, except in the day of the Great Northeast Power Blackout, which blacked us out and: “Who would think the power would go out in the USA?”
If you have no interest in AI, that might be a mistake since it’s already affecting the world in which we live and in which the next generations will be functioning.
Director Coyle is working with strong performances from all four cast members, probing a complicated issue and an interesting plot.
“The AI at Delphi” will give you a chance to hear about the issues and see one possible, although fictional, path into the future.

A.W.

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