Rashida Jones tackles the pros and cons of AI

Apple TV+

Robots and AI, friend or foe? That’s one of the issues at the heart of the new Apple TV+ series Sunny, which stars Rashida Jones as a woman who loses her husband and son in a plane crash, though everything is not as it seems.

The darkly comedic series, which debuts Wednesday, is set in Japan in the near future, when everyone has robot helpers in their homes. But Jones tells ABC Audio that it delves into the human condition, as well.

“We’re having this, like, very large, global conversation about AI and what it means,” she says. “But it’s really a conversation about humanity. … What do we mean to each other? … Like, is there some giant existential threat to, like, how we deal with each other? And is that all wrapped up in, like, this robot?”

Jones says the show will leave viewers conflicted: “Why would we invite something into our world that … we still kind of question, you know, whether or not it’s good for us and is, like, ultimately dangerous and maybe violent? But that’s maybe true with people, too.”

Sunny, the helper in the series, was an actual robot, which Rashida says was hard to not think of being real.

“All of a sudden you’re, like, relating to something and it’s very easy to see that thing as something real and sentient when it’s, like, smiling or it’s looking at you, you know, with its sad eyes or wanting eyes or whatever it is like. It just changes the whole thing.”

Sunny is set in Japan, where Jones lived for six months while filming, and there was one custom she brought back with her to the U.S.

“Definitely do not wear shoes in my house anymore. Ever again.”

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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