A woman grapples with the existential implications of a new AI technology, her mother’s death, and the blurring boundaries between the physical and digital, life and death.
Crossing Acheron was written and produced during the darkest months of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, and while it is very much of the pandemic, it is not strictly about the pandemic. The film imagines a world in which there is a plague, but it is more interested in how a new technology—ability to digitize a consciousness—changes us in a truly existential sense. What does it mean to be “alive” when life can exist in either the physical or digital realms? Is death real in those circumstances? And when physical existence becomes a preference rather than a requirement, on what basis do we make that choice? The backdrop of the pandemic became the fabric of the world, putting questions of life and death front and center, but the story itself is about one woman’s choice when faced by this new technology.
Regarding that technology: It may seem like pure fantasy or something from the distant future, but it’s not hard to imagine one of today’s tech giants launching a similar product next week. We can easily imagine a reality where this technology gets bundled with an Amazon Prime subscription or becomes a core feature of Mark Zuckerberg’s so-called Metaverse. Indeed, Elon Musk has been interested in human brain interfaces since he was a child, and Silicon Valley spiritualist and inventor Ray Kurzweil has for years predicted that the Singularity, when he believes we will merge with machines, is just a few years away.
Put simply, there are real people who believe that this scenario is not fantasy, rather, that it is imminent. That puts it on us to begin thinking about how we will interact with such a technology.