Ravensbourne lecturer and students create film exploring AI

Person walks next to an ominous metal-clad building

Article by: David Millett

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Ravensbourne staff and students have collaborated to create a short film exploring the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence (AI), inspired by one of the university’s cutting-edge futuristic buildings.

‘The Building’ is a short drama directed by Dr Orson Nava, a senior lecturer on Ravensbourne’s BA (Hons) Digital Film Production course.

The story explores the ethical and personal issues raised by our increased dependence on technology. At the centre is Caleb, a company CEO who comes to rely on the office manager AI which runs his building for personal and work advice.

Who actually has control in the relationship? And does the AI have a more developed moral sense than the man it serves?

The project was supported by the university as a knowledge exchange project – university staff, students, and recent graduates worked together to bring the project to life.


A student balances on a stepladder to adjust studio lights


Filming took place inside our state-of-the-art Institute for Creativity and Technology (ICT) building. Dr Nava said the striking, science-fiction style interiors were a direct inspiration when writing the film’s script.

The lead actor is Mo Sesay, who was has played an important part in British film and TV. He was previously the star of the first film directed by a black gay director in the UK, ‘Young Soul Rebels’, and the first feature film directed by an Asian woman.

Dr Nava said: “The shoot went really well and I'm looking forward to editing it and getting the finished film out to festivals and conferences. I'm also planning to do a screening at Ravensbourne and in the design district.

“Fiction film can be used as a way of 'rehearsing' certain social scenarios that we will encounter in real life. In this case, that means exploring the types of power relations that will characterise our relationships with AI.

“AI is a fascinating area. It's not all going to be 'skynet' and global destruction. AI will also be an ally and collaborator in the creative sphere. It might also challenge our more selfish impulses if it is programmed to act in a more altruistic manner than humans.”

We were thrilled that our students received this opportunity. Close links with industry and providing opportunities to work on real-world projects is a core part of the Ravensbourne offering.


A man sits with his hands together, deep in thought