Film Review: Justin Krook’s Machine gives us a taste of life with A.I.

It won’t happen overnight; but, it will happen. That’s certainly the message we should take away from the documentary, Machine. The film is a fascinating dive into the technological revolution that our world will experience, in time, as artificial intelligence (AI) augments all aspects of our lives.

The film comes to us from the creators of Chef’s Table. Director, Justin Krook has packaged up a tight and sharp piece. Coming in at 86 minutes it packs in quite a lot of material, including some real balance on this topic. On the one hand we are introduced to the possibilities of these amazing tools: AI, machine learning, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and neural networks. But we’re also served quite an unnerving dish in that we are forced to confront the question about what happens when machines advance to possess super-intelligence, i.e. one that surpasses human’s abilities?

The talking heads deployed throughout this film are from quite diverse backgrounds. There’s roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro, sex roboticist, Matt Mcmullen, and tech writer, Tim Urban. As well as entrepreneurs and specialists in philosophy and ethics. Eugenia Kuyda who created Replika describes the idea for a chatbot, originally an idea to memorialise her late husband’s voice, and something that is now used by other people wanting similar comforts. On the subject of autonomous vehicles, the filmmakers describe the trolley problem for viewers. It’s fascinating.

This film can seem a tad episodic at times. It is devoted to different topics, but these seem to be more standalone rather than a cohesive whole. They have utilised quite a sci-fi-flavoured soundtrack and imagery. The amazing visualisations are a real delight to look at.

Machine is a film that poses a lot of questions but not so many answers. It is one that is designed to pique your interest to explore more and to keep the conversations on the future of tech at the front of our minds. As a lay person, there is a lot you can take away from this practical explanation of what is ultimately such important material.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Machine is now available to rent and buy on digital platforms.

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