By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
at the Victoria Film Festival
Get your pass here to view beginning Feb 5th, 2021
Note: Available to view for residents in British Columbia
To become an iHuman is less about what applications can benefit from the use of artificial intelligence, but more on how that information is used. There are pros and cons, as everyone knows, to giving birth to a SkyNet from the movie Terminator. Is the human species doomed? Thankfully, not yet.
This documentary directed by Tonje Hessen Schei is very telling. It’s scary when considering it lists who is interested in making use of machine guided decisions. And it’s not with monitoring the habits of smartphone and computer users worldwide.
We already know about the ways Google and Facebook are using your data. The latter tracks your likes and dislikes. Even on Amazon’s mass marketplace, where you can buy anything (it’s not just about books), the website knows your tastes; when you flip to its video streaming service, the television programs you may not have heard of are on top of the recommended list!
But there’s more to what this digital information can do for the industry, governments and military. I don’t buy into facial recognition of who is a LGBQ by their looks, but the many ways we use AI are frightening, especially concerning where China is at. Some of their cities use this type of tracking to follow individuals because they are labelled as “dangerous.”
In what’s terrific about this work is that we have human rights being examined. Philip Alston is just one person speaking up for every man. More can be said in this rather lengthy documentary in this category, as it’s merely scratching the surface of where AI’s use will lead to a dystopian future ala George Orwell.
Max Tegmark from the Future of Life Institute is more hopeful about about the state of where AI is headed. Intelligence is not mysterious and doesn’t exist inside biological organisms. It’s all about information processing. It doesn’t matter if it’s with a certain atom. Part of the success of AI is that it steals ideas from evolution; its abstracted into neural networks by those who know how to fiddle with machine language and other programming languages to approximate human thinking.
The fact that some good uses for AI exists makes this documentary a must watch. This work compares and contrasts and weighs in on the pros and consequences. When a significant portion of the world is running and dependent on the Internet, Big Brother is not a human being but rather a machine instead.
4 Stars out of 5