“The Ballad of Tita and the Machines” Explores the Intersection of Humanity and AI
Directed by Miguel Angel Caballero and co-written with Luis Antonio Aldana, “The Ballad of Tita and the Machines” is a film that delves into the relationship between humanity and artificial intelligence (AI). The story revolves around Tita, an elderly fieldworker who hires an AI humanoid to assist her in her work as she faces physical challenges due to aging.
The film, which premiered at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival and will be featured at the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles InFocus: Latinx & Hispanic Film Festival, captures Tita’s realization that an AI cannot replace her human strength and compassion.
The creation of “The Ballad of Tita and the Machines” was made possible through Indeed’s Rising Voices program, which provided funding for short films exploring the future of work. Caballero and Aldana, both queer Latinos from immigrant families, decided to use their own personal experiences to tell the story. They wanted to shed light on the often invisible working-class families and communities that play a crucial role in society.
The film juxtaposes humans against AI, highlighting the essential skills and irreplaceable contributions of workers like Tita. The filmmakers were inspired by the increasing presence of AI technology and the discussions surrounding its impact on labor.
By incorporating humor, the film addresses the dehumanizing nature of AI while emphasizing the importance of supporting the work of living people. It challenges the narrative that discounts all forms of human labor and raises questions about the ethical and practical implications of relying on AI.
“The Ballad of Tita and the Machines” also aims to subvert sci-fi stereotypes by making the working-class character the hero. As queer filmmakers and children of immigrants, Caballero and Aldana bring their unique perspectives to the genre, adding nuance and representing the voices of queer Latinos in California.
Through small exchanges onscreen, the film portrays the diversity of experiences within the Latino community in the U.S. Moments like Tita holding up a picture of her late wife and switching between English and Spanish reflect the complexity and richness of the Latino experience.
– Tribeca Film Festival
– NewFilmmakers Los Angeles
– Indeed Rising Voices program
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