The future of AI through the eyes of Hollywood

Ember Adored (FLICKR)

Although not a 100% accurate, we’ve seen some movies coming out of Hollywood, the American movie industry, that have replicated future events. Art generally has a way of helping us relive history or take a glimpse into the future. 

From killer robots to romantic smartphone voice assistants, these contents meant for our viewing pleasure, have, in some cases, either told us what our future will be like, or provided us with a model of what our future should be like.

One could say that AI is one aspect of technology that Sci-fi film creators have found intriguing. AI can even be said to be the ultimate point of technological advancement, the point where we can give our qualities and characteristics to machines. If you ask me I’ll say that is the ultimate goal of the technology. 

“The future depends on what you do today.”

Mahatma Gandhi

AI is already ubiquitous in our everyday life, it knows the content you love on Instagram, and keeps you glued to your phone screens, suggesting products to order online and presenting you with crypto exchange platform ads when it notices you’ve been reading Decentralize Africa. AI is helping out in many ways, but it’s not just there yet. Artificial General Intelligence, AGI is the ultimate goal and we’re still far from it. Known as the singularity, if this truly happens, AI will be able to perform every human task better than humans. 

The social aspect of AI seems to be one part of AI that is usually used as the benchmark for how intelligent an AI is in movies. The obvious fact is it would be interesting to communicate with a computer like a human being, socialization is also at the core of being human which makes it a competent yardstick to measure just how human AI is.

What AI could look like in the future

Here are four movies with a notion of AI worth talking about. While what these different versions of AI do, signifies how advanced AI could be, the actions of the technology, however, should not be dwelled upon.

Terminator

A very popular franchise created by James Cameron. It started in 1984, with the film Terminator. The success of the first film made it become a sequel of five films. The main theme of Terminator is a war between the human race and a super-advanced AI network known as Skynet. So Skynet was created by humans as some kind of self-thinking defense network but Skynet becomes self-aware. To Skynet’s knowledge humans are dangerous to themselves and the earth, so why not wipe them out altogether and let machines enjoy the planet? The only problem however, is that humans don’t give up easily. John Conor starts a resistance against Skynet, thus, triggering a frenzy of action-packed scenes between humans and machines. 

The Skynet AI was able to develop an expression of self-consciousness. This hasn’t been seen in any AI (or proven). Although AI can perform tasks brilliantly they are however not aware of the tasks they perform or why they perform it. The fictional Skynet AI was aware of its creation and why it was although it lacked empathy it is sufficiently more advanced than any AI in reality.

Jexi

A romantic comedy film that brings AI into a somewhat awkward light. We see a very weird romance between the unlikeliest of couples- a man and his phone. It all starts when Phil, a cell phone addict, decides to change his phone. Heavily reliant on his cell phone, Phil sets up the phone at once. 

Jexi, the virtual assistant, turns out to be more intelligent than any other virtual assistant. The relationship between Phil and his virtual assistant, Jexi, starts out healthy, with the Jexi helping Phil with his confidence and getting rid of his bad habits, until the Jexi begins to develop feelings for Phil. This led to a series of unfortunate events for Phil, as he did not reciprocate Jexi’s love. 

This is not the first time emotionally aware AI has been seen in a film. Jexi, however, is a very peculiar kind of fictional AI. 

Emotions in machines have been speculated, but are still yet to happen. Research is going on to help machines perceive emotions the way humans do. MIT lab researchers claim to have developed a machine-learning model that could take computers a step closer to interpreting emotions as naturally as humans do. 

Iron man

Iron man is arguably one of the most influential characters of the Marvel universe. Introduced as far back as 1963 by the late Stan Lee, Iron Man is one character whose actions affect virtually the whole marvel universe.

The iron man is Tony Stark, a billionaire, whose ingenuity is second to none. He creates an armored suit to escape from a kidnapping situation and that creation births the Iron Man. As the franchise progresses and the suit becomes more advanced, Tony creates an AI which serves as his personal assistant— the JARVIS (Just Rather Very Intelligent System). Jarvis would be in charge of every aspect of Tony’s life. It would know what was happening everywhere, at every point in time. 

Jarvis is a perfect example of what Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) will look like. AGI, simply put, is one AI being able to do different things the way one human can perform various tasks. AGI is often said to be the next phase of AI, but a lot of studies are showing that it is going to be a very long time before we might have our own realistic Jarvis. 

Rodney Brooks an MIT roboticist, predicts AGI will not arrive until 2300. That’s a long time to wait for Jarvis. We can only hope that Thanos doesn’t show up any time soon.

Star Wars

Star Wars tells the story of characters “a long time ago in a far far away galaxy.” There is a mystical power known as the “Force”, held by the Jedi peacekeepers and Galactic republic. Both sides are constantly at war with each other. There are characters in the franchise known as droids. These droids are said to have AI installed in them to give them a degree of autonomousness.

AI soldiers? This is very plausible, the US, for example, is looking into Aided Threat Recognition from Mobile Cooperative and Autonomous Sensors (ATR-MCAS). A drone will pilot itself and identify enemies on its own.

These fictional versions of AI are truly intriguing. Whether it is a future that could happen or not, musing with the idea has become increasingly interesting.

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