A terrifying insight into the nature of war, Unknown: Killer Robots is an essential watch for an overview of how AI is being implemented not just in warfare but in other parts of our society. It comes at the perfect time of AI hype and reminds the audiences of the horrifying consequences as well as the life-saving benefits of this technology.
Here is our review of the 2023 Netflix documentary Unknown: Killer Robots. This is part of a series of films called Unknown.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has taken the world by storm since the emergence of ChatGPT, captivating the world with its almost limitless potential to come up with articles, code, write essays, and even play a game of Dungeons and Dragons.
Many began to prophesize the death of industries like journalism, and some began to wonder about the potential of this technology on the battlefield.
Militaries have been thinking about the applications of AI for years, figuring out how to develop the ultimate fighting robot. Unknown: Killer Robots shines a light on this, showcasing that robots can be used in some really helpful and frightening ways.
Unknown: Killer Robots Review and Plot Summary
Unknown: Killer Robots cleverly starts with a section focusing on the positive use of AI, with an impressive drone using technology seen in self-driving cars into aircraft, mapping outbuildings. It avoids fire and sends live feedback, something that would normally put a human at risk.
It’s easy to see the benefits of this. This eases audiences in with AI and lets worries about killer robots settle. Saving lives is something everyone can get behind.
After this, the audience gets a very brief explainer on Autonomous Weapons Systems, self-directed robots making decisions with little to no human input. This isn’t futuristic sci-fi tech either, with Turkey and Israel already possessing AWS. Robots are here, and they’re already killing.
Switching back to something more positive, audiences get a look into the Boston Dynamics robot dog. It’s cute and could be helpful for disasters. But if the US military gets its way, this good boy will become a mobile weapons platform.
There’s a section on a pharmaceutical company using generative AI in drug research, trying to do good. But when asked to give a presentation on the misuse of AI, they quickly find how easy it is to come up with tens of thousands of potentially deadly toxins. This part is truly terrifying, demonstrating just how dangerous this technology can be.
Peppered throughout are several interviews with people across different fields, giving well-informed and easy-to-understand views.
They’re well-shot and staged. Audiences get a good idea of the arguments for and against this technology, saving lives and keeping up with opponents, but balancing that against the immoral nature of letting a robot kill and making it easier for terrorists to cause destruction.
Data is barely mentioned, which is disappointing, overlooking how AI comes up with its information. The battlefield is just one avenue, as AI uses the internet just as much. Missing this also leaves out a key criticism, if AI uses flawed data, there could be catastrophic consequences.
That aside, the documentary is very engaging. It covers a lot of ground and presents both sides of one of the most important debates in the military. It’s timely and, most of all, scary to see that some in the military are blind to the possible consequences.
Is Unknown: Killer Robots Good?
Yes. Whether the viewer is for AI or terrified of its consequences, this documentary is highly informative, highlighting the benefits and negatives of using AI in war.
Something particularly striking is how easy it is for this technology to generate doomsday scenarios. It’s extremely scary to know that anyone with this technology could end humanity if they wanted to, and they wouldn’t even have to push a button.
Is Unknown: Killer Robots worth watching?
Unknown: Killer Robots is a very educational documentary and manages to capture most of the key issues when it comes to using AI in warfare. For anyone who’s kept up with AI over this past year, this documentary will be a fascinating watch.
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