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Jobs & Technology: “In the Age of AI” Documentary Essay (Movie Review)

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Updated: Aug 5th, 2022

Almost every person from time to time thinks about what the future holds for the world and how far technology can go in five, ten, or forty years. Computers, phones, and search engines make life a lot easier, but at the same time make people think about the issue of privacy. The documentary film In the Age of AI by Frontline provides answers to these questions and talks about the prospect of retaining jobs and professions, the development of technology, rivalry between China and the United States, and artificial intelligence.

Interestingly, this documentary movie does not only provide facts and statistics. Instead, it captivates the audience by starting with the description of the oldest abstract strategy board game invented in China. The game of Go is considered the most complex to play as it has more moves than there are atoms in the universe (SkyDesertVids, 2019). In 2016, a computer program known as Google’s AlphaGo managed to teach itself the rules of this board game, create special moves that no one has ever thought of, and won four of the games with the world champion of the Asian Go game Lee Sedol (SkyDesertVids, 2019). From this very moment, it became evident that “artificial intelligence could marshal a vast amount of data, beyond anything any human could handle, and use it to teach itself how to predict an outcome” (SkyDesertVids, 2019). Overall, this shows the power and perspective of AI, but this defeat also demonstrates that artificial intelligence algorithms are entering a new age of both great potential and deepened inequality. The world will be divided into two AI superpowers – China and the U.S.

Further, the documentary explores the issue of advanced technologies taking jobs from people. For example, the self-driving truck company Embark delivers freight from California to Arizona, and although there are drivers in the trucks, they do not drive, and the purpose of the company is to eliminate them in the nearest future (SkyDesertVids, 2019). This will prove the power of artificial intelligence but also lead to job loss. According to AI scientist Kai-Fu Lee, “about 50% of jobs will be somewhat or extremely threatened by AI in the next 15 years or so,” and the unemployment rate and inequality in earnings will rise significantly (SkyDesertVids, 2019).

Another concern explored by this movie is the problem of privacy violations. Everywhere a person goes, they generate a cloud of data that is then used by computers to personalize and adapt the world for this individual. However, some companies that also get this private information may have other purposes and use the data to harm people, so this is what everyone should be aware of (SkyDesertVids, 2019). Humans use Google and social media, but few of them keep in mind that Google and social media also use and search for them. For example, with its facial recognition, China is on its way to becoming a state of total surveillance. It is possible that in the future, countries will need to choose between an American tech sector and a Chinese tech sector, and it will be a cold war (SkyDesertVids, 2019). Essentially, surveillance capitalism claims the human experience as a free source of raw material that is fabricated into predictions of human behavior. Numerous companies use this information to learn what people will do now, soon, and later.

After watching this documentary, it is crucial to keep in mind that one should be careful about what they put on the Internet and how they act around a phone or computer. Certainly, technology greatly simplifies people’s lives and makes them more comfortable; almost everyone orders food through the application and communicates on social networks. However, humans must remember that technologies and their developers know much more about a person than one might imagine, and some companies may use this knowledge for harmful purposes. This is an excellent documentary that explains everything in detail and leaves no questions.

Reference

SkyDesertVids. (2019). [Video]. YouTube. Web.

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