When it comes to the dangers posed to us by automatons – film-maker Maxim Pozdorovkin wants us to start thinking beyond what Hollywood has warned us about.
‘This idea of a single malevolent AI being that can harm us – the Terminator trope … I think it’s created a tremendous blind spot’ he said to the Guardian.
‘[It gets us] thinking about something that we’re heading towards in the future – something that will one day hurt us.
If you look at the effects of automation broadly globally right now – it’s much more pervasive.
The things happening – de-skilling – the loss of human dignity associated with traditional labor – they will have a devastating effect much sooner than that long-distance threat of unchecked AI’.
That isn’t to say that robots can’t also just reach out and crush us.
In his new documentary The Truth About Killer Robots – Pozdorovkin traces all manner of dangers – economic – psychological – moral and yes mortal – posed to our species by automation and robotics.
At the center of his film lies the question: ‘when a robot kills a human – who takes the blame?’
Pozdorovkin had long sought to make a film on automation but he had a difficult time figuring out a way to approach the subject given its scope – as well as the many misconceptions surrounding it.
It wasn’t until he heard about a case in Germany where a manipulator arm crushed a line worker at a Volkswagen plant to death that he knew he had his way in.
Using science-fiction author Isaac Asimov’s First Law of Robotics – ‘A robot may not injure a human being – or through inaction allow a being to come to harm’ – as a jumping-off point – his documentary covers a sampling of deadly incidents involving automated machinery – including a couple driverless car accidents that resulted in fatalities – as well as the first intentionally lethal use of a robot by American law enforcement.