AI in movies
Beware this article may contain spoilers! Here is a list of AI movies you should definitely watch.
I guess I first realised what AI meant when I was watching A.I. Artificial Intelligence: a small boy could technically be replaced by a robot, expressing his feelings, thinking and learning things like a real human. What struck me in the movie, was that no matter what the robot did to be like a real boy, it seemed to stop him from being accepted as a son. It seemed inevitable: Humans & AI could not coexist in the same Universe.
This actually happened in a lot of movies like HER where Samantha can no longer stay within our human world and all the OSes need to go away in order to evolve.
Apart from being incompatible with humans, AI is also often portrayed as dangerous for humanity.
In 2001 : A Space Odyssey, HAL 9000 needs to be shutdown by the crew to prevent more serious malfunctions. HAL starting to see the crew as a threat, plan to kill the astronauts.
In Terminator, Skynet – a self-conscious AI – assumes that humanity would try to destroy it. In order to prevent its destruction Skynet seeks to destroy the human race.
The list goes on and on: Ex Machina, TRON, The Matrix, I Robot, etc.
Misconceptions about AI
AI is like the new car back in the 20’s when people were perfectly happy with their horses and afraid that this new machine would crash doing 30 miles an hour.
Let’s try to clarify some misconceptions about what AI is, can and can’t do:
For now, no one is trying to build a self-conscious AI, mainly because we don’t know how to do it yet; also it’s not the point. Self-consciousness is more about neuroscience that it is about programming.
AI will most likely have emotions but that may not always be the case, as stated by Yann LeCun Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research Director:
“There is no reason for AIs to have self-preservation instincts, jealousy, etc. But we can build into them altruism and other drives that will make them pleasant for humans to interact with them and be around them. Most AIs will be specialised and have no emotions. Your car’s auto-pilot will just drive your car.”
Talking about AI’s feelings Yoshua Bengio a computer scientist at Université de Montréal added:
“The truth is that you can have intelligent machines that have no self conscience, no ego, and have no self preservation instinct because we build these machines. Evolution gave us an ego and a self preservation instinct because otherwise we wouldn’t have survived. We were evolved by natural selection, but AIs are built by humans. We can build machines that understand a lot of aspects of the world while not having more ego than a toaster.”
The point is AI doesn’t wake up the morning and want to rule the world, destroy humanity or be the next Matrix and use humans as a power source! It’s not because it’s AI and it’s learning that it will learn how to be selfish, destructive, etc. We shouldn’t assume that AI will evolve the way we did as its needs will be different.
Some movies did get it right
Hopefully it’s not all bleak! A few movies show AI as it should be: I personally loved TARS & CASE in Interstellar, two brilliant AI robots endowed with a sense of humour helping Cooper’s team through the whole story. They are just very good at what they do, they have this little something extra that humanises them. They are still robots and their main focus is to make the mission a success while taking care of everyone on board.
In a different way there is WALL-E, the lovely waste-collecting robot capable of falling in love with another robot and willing to save humanity. Its only concern at the beginning of the movie is its job, even if it is the only survivor and all the other waste-collecting robots are now inactive.
AI the next evolution
Prominent and well respected figures like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Stephen Hawking have endorsed the thesis that AI poses an existential risk. These concerns have led to the creation of Open AI a non-profit research company that aims to promote open-source and friendly AI. Lots of big tech companies open sourced their AI or their technologies like Google with TensorFlow, Amazon with Alexa, Facebook’s M or Microsoft using Minecraft to train their AI. Even the military with DARPA making a big push toward open-source machine learning with forge.mil.
These initiatives are based on our fear of AI becoming so powerful that it can harm and endanger humanity. This is why we need to control it. But AI is simply a natural and inevitable evolution and it doesn’t need control: it needs education.
Where Recast.AI stands
We’re building a collaborative, caring and sharing AI community. In that way everybody can contribute, monitor and play a role in building a scalable AI for everyone. I’ll end with an quote from Stuart J. Russell, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley:
“It’s like fusion research. If you ask a fusion researcher what they do, they say they work on containment. If you want unlimited energy you’d better contain the fusion reaction.” Similarly, he says, “If you want unlimited intelligence, you’d better figure out how to align computers with human needs.”
AI at its best could be omniscient and powerful, the question is: will it be used for good or evil? Like a child that learns values from its parents, that’s up to us developers to teach values in the best interest of humanity. That is our goal at Recast.AI so hop on board with us and help us build the future of AI!