Countless questions, scenarios and challenges present themselves as artificial intelligence obliterates the boundaries that yesterday seemed so far away?

James McRory

3 December, 2019


It’s no longer science fiction but a matter of science fact. Artificial intelligence is not just a reality but an increasingly important reality that has far-reaching and ever-increasing implications on the way we live, work and play.

A thought-provoking new film simply called MACHINE, explores the myriad implications of artificial intelligence – what it means now and what it could mean tomorrow as the technology races forward and increases its own possibilities exponentially. 

From autonomous cars to autonomous friends and even autonomous enemies – or at least autonomous weapons – the very idea of machines operating without ‘us’ is both exciting and frankly terrifying, but every aspect is explored in the Justin Krook directed MACHINE.

Experts in a variety of related fields – from robotics to ethics, autonomous mobility to machine learning, weigh in on the good, the bad and the potentially ugly in a film that is both captivating but will leave you wondering and questioning.

Of course the possibilities for positively enriching human existence are tremendous and in more way than might immediately spring to kind. The idea of autonomous vehicles springs to mind, giving the user more time to relax or work on their daily commute for example, while the vehicle transports them to their destination. Tremendous advancements have already been made in this field, and while many legal and indeed, logistical questions remain, autonomous vehicles are coming, says Dr Mikloss Kiss, head of Autonomous development Audi AG, and one of the industry experts featured in MACHINE.

Experts in a variety of related fields – from robotics to ethics, autonomous mobility to machine learning, weigh in on the good, the bad and the potentially ugly

Bigger than the industrial revolution and more pervasive than the internet, artificial intelligence has the potential to enrich, but also to destroy

But what of artificial intelligence learning the subtle nuances of of a person’s speech, or online communications – essentially the foundation for the Replika software developed by Eugenia Kuyda. A potentially enriching resource for isolated or lonely people? A way to unburden oneself of personal worries, or potentially something more sinister?

Machines able to outthink, outmanoeuvre and outplay human beings, is not something that has been possible in the past. Indeed we have been accustomed to being the very top of the ‘food chain’ in terms of intelligence since the very beginning. With AI we are actively seeking for the first time to build machines that have the potential to be smarter than we are, and advancements in artificial intelligence are such that the potential is quite literally, beyond imagination.

Bigger than the industrial revolution and more pervasive than the internet, artificial intelligence has the potential to enrich, but also to destroy. Too that end, the United Nations is already besieged with those calling for bans on the development of autonomous weapons that have a potential that is chilling to even consider.

Thinking robots for companionship and even sex. Thinking machines tasked with transporting us safely and thinking machines developed with the sole purpose of conflict and war conducted by machines against human beings. The possibilities are seemingly endless, but of course there are different types of AI and not all of them will result in super intelligence far greater than our own. From machine learning to autonomous driving in its various stages right through to super computers, capable of matching giant human intellects at fantastically difficult tasks, AI exists and is growing at many levels.

MACHINE examines the realities and the possibilities, the pluses and the negatives as well as the ethical considerations that will increasingly come into play as the technology develops. Is it a cause for concern and a yearning for simpler times, or a reason to celebrate and be optimistic about a brighter future? Without doubt it is a little of both, but certainly, tomorrow will not be boring.

MACHINE starts with a powerful quote from Alan Turing, the man credited as the father of Artificial Intelligence that very much sums up the situation:

“It is customary to offer a grain of comfort that some particularly human characteristic could never be imitated by a machine.

I cannot offer such comfort.

But I believe that the attempt to make a thinking machine will help us greatly in finding out how we think ourselves.”

Yesterday’s novelty drinks robot may have been consigned to the ‘what were we thinking’ file, and the idea of a terminator coming back from a machine-led future regarded as a childish film premise. But artificial intelligence is real and its ongoing impact is far reaching, fast moving and fascinating.

MACHINE will be in select cinemas across Australia from 12 December, 2019. To find out more, visit www.machine.movie.

But artificial intelligence is real and its ongoing impact is far reaching, fast moving and fascinating.