AI at the movies
Is “thinking” technology overtaking fiction?
Like you, we at SmartCloud enjoy thinking about cool technology and how its future is portrayed in the movies. Often cinema, like science fiction literature, ends up becoming reality. SmartCloud’s technology, artificial intelligence, has been a popular theme in cinema past and present. And in these cinematic worlds of artificial intelligence we are introduced to androids, robots, and friendly and malevolent computers.
So much of AI has already become reality – AI within
computing devices large and small is making society
more efficient, productive, and entertained. We at
SmartCloud find AI at the movies to be a fun way to
contemplate future possibilities. Let us know if you agree…
AI in space
Stanley Kubrick was one of science fiction’s best authors
who created classic stories and films. His 1968 film
2001: a Space Odyssey is still considered one of the
great AI movies of all time. His characterization of the
central computer, the HAL 9000, showed the potential
good that AI could bring as it assisted astronauts in their mission. But when HAL developed human feelings and
felt threatened, we saw another side.
The movie raised some questions about AI becoming more human. This man-machine relationship has been explored by many science fiction movies, and the trend continues as Intelligence moves from artificial to natural and beyond.
AI and human emotions
In the 1970s, Kubrick also got to work on another film destined to make its mark in science fiction and raise new questions in the field of AI: Artificial Intelligence.
Kubrick was the brains behind the AI movie. The film was held up because the technology of the time couldn’t give Kubrick the realistic computer-generated imagery he wanted for an android - a boy robot, and he felt there was no actor at the time who could give the lead role believability.
That all changed some years later.
In 2001, Kubrick turned the film AI over to Steven Spielberg. The story was similar to that of the HAL 9000, in that the robot had feelings. The idea was to create a boy robot that would love his mother, not just in external behavior, but would actually have the feeling of love.
The movie raised all kinds of AI questions. Can machines really love? Can humans really love machines? These questions were further investigated in the movie HER.
AI seeks perfection
In Spike Jonze’s award-winning movie HER, the computer
operating system (OS) develops an emotional attachment
to Theodore Twomblay. The OS learns to adapt and
evolve, to the point where the human relationship is
no longer good enough.
Also termed “Consciousness,” the OS decides at
the end of the movie to associate with other machines
instead of with humans. Could this be the beginning of
Technological Singularity – the term coined by John von
Neumann in 1958 to describe “beyond human intelligence?”
Singularity may take AI beyond our wildest dreams and into
the realm of super-natural-intelligence. If we can imagine it, we can realize it.
Evil in the Cloud
While movies generally have AI at work helping humans
and striving to be more human-like, there are those who
prefer to highlight the potential evils of rogue robots and
Two such movies come to mind – I, Robot and
the Terminator series.
Inspired by Isaac Asimov’s collection, I, Robot
describes a renegade robot which misinterprets
the three basic rules of robot AI: protect humans,
obey humans, and protect self. This leads to chaos
and human conflict. The story itself is actually
inspired by an Agatha Christie murder mystery and a Jeff Vinter screenplay named Hardwired. Can a machine be suspected of a capital crime?
September 21, 2014
In the movie, Terminator, a self-aware AI called Skynet perceives all humans to be threats. It develops a machine-based military including terminator robots. Humans fight back as the Resistance. Both sides develop Time Travel and continue the combat through the ages. Will machines ever really oppose humans?
That question is hypothetical. A better question is “Does AI really exist?”
AI at work in the real world
Beyond the AI imagined in the movies, there are real AI systems today which learn from past events and predict and control future events, quickly and efficiently. Using vast amounts of data, these AI systems can analyze and determine best actions.
Such systems are being developed today at SmartCloud. For example through our Big Reasoning technology we’ve been putting AI into the smart power grid to help human operators more quickly respond to situations of concern and to rapidly changing energy demands.
The grid of tomorrow will be a bidirectional system allowing energy to flow from power plants and substations to distribution points to homes and business and back again. Energy consumers will also be energy providers. Energy will be directed from many sources to where it is needed. And peak demands will be predicted and managed efficiently through AI networks in a pro-active rather than reactive way. SmartCloud is working on these kinds of solutions.
Smart systems will wash the dishes later
More and more homes and businesses are seeing smart meters and “smart sockets” to allow HVAC systems, refrigerators, dishwashers and other energy consuming devices to dynamically adjust their operation in real time. Automatically reducing AC levels or delaying dishwashing during peak energy times can prevent general power failures and can save homeowners money.
AI will also be harnessing the new forms of energy and intelligently combining them with the old. Renewable energy sources like wind turbines, solar panels, and hydroelectric pumps will be harnessed to combine with older fossil fuel sources to optimally generate and distribute energy.
Will AI become transcendent?
As movies continue to stretch the boundaries of what
seems possible with AI, will the real AI become the
transcendental technology of the future? Will it take
us to places we have never been before?
The movie Transcendence portrays such a future,
where the consciousness of mankind develops a
limitless intelligence, absorbing all the knowledge
of history, and acquires the power to control its
environment. Anything is possible.
SmartCloud’s aim is to make the AI reality of tomorrow
the reality of today for business. We are working with
companies to bring intelligent awareness and response to their real-time operations so that they can achieve better reliability, improved efficiencies and reduced costs. And we are just getting started. We can’t wait for tomorrow.