A documentary sounds the alarm about the dangers of automation

Un documentaire sonne l’alarme sur les dangers de l’automatisation

TORONTO — automation is killing us, ” warns filmmaker Maxim Pozdorovkin in his new documentary “The Truth About Killer Robots” (The truth about the killer robots), which will be presented Saturday world premiere at the Toronto film Festival.

A sign of what the future holds may be to the film industry, the film is the first to be narrated by a robot.

The director of Russian origin, said especially of interest to “to the way in which the technology influence” the human, “how automation transforms us. It is a deeper problem, which is fundamental to who we are as a species”, he said to the AFP.

The film examines the laws surrounding the robots that Isaac Asimov had imagined in his story called Runaround (vicious Circle), published in 1942, and according to which the machinery must not harm humans.

It presents the points of view of engineers, journalists, philosophers, and Asimov himself, thanks to archive images.

In the film, Maxim Pozdorovkin illustrates a number of fatal accidents caused in recent years by technologies becoming more self-sufficient, such as in a factory of Volkswagen in Germany or with cars, semi-autonomous Tesla in the United States. It also discusses the case of the Dallas police, who has chosen in 2016 to send for the first time a robot carrying a bomb to kill a gunman who shot and killed several police officers.

These stories raise many questions, but for the filmmaker, it is clear that automation kills jobs, while making our minds lazy and undermining our relations with others.

“We’re talking about societal changes in important”, he notes. “And I think it will continue”.

A good number of consequences are gradual, as in the case of the truckers, americans, now required to be assisted by a software of navigation, in exchange for less money on their payroll.


“The automation back little by little in a question of wages, skills and the dignity of the truck and will not have because of their profession,” says the director.

He noted that the breakthroughs of artificial intelligence and robots well beyond the factories, are now being extended to firms, lawyers, pizza restaurants or taxis.

The economic benefits are easy to understand: robots are faster and more productive. But what will happen to all these people who lose their jobs, he asked.

What is even more worrying, according to John Campbell, a philosopher from the university of California, Berkeley, it is the “loss of authentic connection with another person” that leads to the use of increasingly widespread of robots and artificial intelligence.

He explains in the film that robots designed to mimic human emotions — or to trap us — are likely to make people less empathetic in general.

“By relying on technology, your mind becomes more lazy,” says in the film, a witness to a collision in Florida between a semi-trailer and a car semi-autonomous Tesla, whose driver died while watching a movie.

After the use of a robot to bring down a shooter in 2016 in Dallas, the police chief has asked the city council more technology, and not police officers, to deal with future threats, a demand that has arrested the director.

“We are becoming more robotic,” says a sniper in the Dallas police in the film, which will be released on 26 November by HBO.


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