This article, written in 2018 but never published, aimed to explore how AI and ML influence our daily lives on a human level, without passing judgment on their ethical implications or their impact on important cultural issues.
Caleb, a programmer employed at a colossal internet company, recently won a week-long vacation at his boss’s opulent mountain retreat. However, his escape takes an unforeseen twist when he discovers that he’s not alone. His boss, Nathan, introduces him to his latest project, Ava: a self-aware female A.I. robot. To Caleb’s surprise, this retreat is a facade for a Turing test, with him as the ‘lucky’ participant. As the test unfolds, the machine rapidly gains self-awareness, learns human behavior, and starts making life-altering decisions, leading to unforeseen and dramatic consequences that challenge the capabilities of artificial intelligence and its relationship with the human mind.
That’s a brief (and spoiler-free) synopsis of the film Ex Machina — a fictional doomsday-flavored tale of what might be a near-future reality for human life–a machine-coded life, approaching us with every passing day.
It’s not all scary and theatrical as the movie plays out. Contrary to the ominous portrayal in the movie, our embrace of machines is not solely a cause for concern. In fact, we’ve already welcomed technology to make significant decisions on our behalf, ensuring our safety on the roads and simplifying our daily lives. Technologies like Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) inundate our vehicles with millions of bytes of data, calculating precise distances, speeds, and more to enhance driving experiences. What’s even more promising is the imminent availability of autonomous driving kits, allowing even traditional cars to become safer on the roads. The march of progress doesn’t stop there — delivery robots, passenger drones, emotionally-aware personal devices, and automated knowledge discovery tools are all poised to enrich and, at times, replace aspects of human cognition and interaction.
We’re happily embracing our new algorithm-assisted lifestyle with the machines writing for us a new Life-Code.