Published on October 5th, 2020 | by Chris O'Connor
Machine Movie Review
Summary: Justin Krook explores the world of artificial intelligence and how it is already a part of our lives and how it may become a bigger part of our lives, potentially to our detriment.
Machine explores the world/s of artificial intelligence where it has come from, what state it is at/in now and what the future may hold for it. It is broken into chapters that explore different fields that are using artificial intelligence for different goals, (yes sex is one of those chapters and it’s early on too). It covers many interesting applications and speaks to experts in engineering, philosophy, ethics and more to get various perspectives on the state of things and what we might be able to expect in the future if we continue on our current path.
As a philosophy major myself, with a not insignificant interest in robotics and the idea of artificial intelligence I was quite interested to watch this documentary and it does indeed pose some questions that do make you think. (I have a mild issue with the comment about the 5 philosophers contemplating the “trolley” problem… but that’s just me being defensive of my field). I did find it interesting in the section about A.I. being used for autonomous war fare that Missy Cummings had an issue with the U.N. not having any other members of the military there to discuss her side of things (as if she didn’t realise that she was the representative of the military in that debate). The question in that section about whether we should use autonomous drones, from Missy Cummings perspective seemed to be that it would help prevent pilots coming back “changed” people and it would reduce the number of civilian casualties and “friendly fire” incidences… I presume we only got a portion of her arguments because I would imagine removing the human aspect from the act of killing might also have the effect of making it too easy to kill more, if we no longer have the psychological impact of killing affecting our military… what’s to stop them killing more often? Perhaps a better solution might be to try and find another way to avoid conflict rather that to make conflict easy enough that it can be left out of sight out of mind.
But that is arguably part of the strength of the documentary, it does raise questions, it does make you think. Each person will come away with their own ideas about what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable and what isn’t. I think one of the best and perhaps most telling comments was near the end of the film in which it was noted that if we create a future in which A.I. destroys us it will be because we didn’t provide them with our sense of morality…. “which is what we do with children”. I think that’s a decent take away from the film and one that has been considered since some of the earliest days of contemplating A.I. after all there is a reason we have the “three laws”.
Though the content is fascinating I did find at times that the flow of the movie was not as fluid as I would have liked. Or to be more specific, some chapters didn’t seem to “end” so much as just leave on a note and then the next chapter began. This also happened at the end which faded out from a scene that almost seemed like it was going to make another comment. It’s not deal breaker stuff but just feels a little too open ended, but perhaps that’s sort of the idea, you are left to make up your own mind or to ponder the notions some more?
Ultimately it covered some ground I was already quite familiar with but also threw in some uses for A.I. that I was less familiar with (the artist having his robots paint for him). It remains a fascinating field and the thing that has always been true from the start remains true now A.I. could one day surpass us for intelligence, what it does with that intelligence will only be limited by how we set limits for it.
Certainly worth a watch if you are interested in Artificial Intelligence but I would consider it more of a sampler than in depth. It dips into some of the fields it is being used in… but doesn’t do a deep dive, but it might just intrigue you enough for you to want to learn more.
RELEASE DATE 12 December 2019
RUNNING TIME 1hr 26m
RATING M | Surgical scene, nudity and violence
CAST Toby Walsh
DIRECTOR Justin Krook