On Arte, artificial intelligence in all its forms, for better or for worse


Arte is offering two complementary documentaries this weekend onartificial intelligence (IA). This technology has already invaded our daily lives through smartphone voice assistants, conversational agents (or chatbots), film recommendation systems… Constantly, it reminds us, through breakthroughs that dazzle or frighten, such as victories in the game of go, poker or video games, and the production of fake videos…

To the point that this omnipresence makes us forget the essential. How it works ? How smart are these technologies? What do our brains have in common? What are their flaws? By different paths, the two documentaries propose to answer these questions and to question the future or rather the futures promised by AI.

We advise to look first Autopsy of an artificial intelligence, which explores the heart of these machines. Animated infographics help to better understand – and demystify – the functioning of these “brains”. The deliberately humorous tone, with parodic sketches, helps to pass the two or three biggest educational pills. The spectator is thus put in a state of more critical vigilance to approach Artificial intelligence, when emotions get involved.

Human biases

It is, in particular, recalled many failures of AI, in health, for border surveillance or justice. This draws a clear line between those who think that these AIs are just new forms of mechanization and automation, not very “intelligent”, and those who see them as brains functioning like ours (but faster or better ). This is the point of view adopted by Rebecca Snow in most of her documentary.

One of the flaws is developed in the two films: AIs tend to reproduce human biases (such as racism, discrimination, sexism, etc.), particularly in the detection of emotions. The documentary on ” the emotions [qui] get involved » also brings an important dimension, not present in the first one: these systems do not have any common sense, nor even any sense at all! They need a body with touch, exploration capabilities, sensations to learn, like a child, rather than swallowing thousands of images. Hence the presence, on the screen, of a great deal of experimentation and research with robots.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers “Artificial intelligence is moving the boundary between human and non-human”

Both films bring their share of surprises, such as the hundreds of Japanese married to intelligent holograms, or the people employed to remotely control autonomous vehicles and correct their errors. Inevitably, they end with different visions of the future of these technologies. The first wonders about the place that these machines will leave to man, while the second wonders if they will not become gifted to the point of bringing out new forms of life. As if the two films appealed to different areas of our brain. For Autopsy…, a more critical view; for Emotions…, more feeling (wonder, anxiety). The two go hand in hand.

Autopsy of an artificial intelligence, by Cécile Dumas and Jean-Christophe Ribot (Fr., 2022, 55 min). On Arte.tv until December 13.

Artificial intelligence, when emotions get involvedby Rebecca Snow (Can., 2021, 52 min). On Arte.tv until December 20.

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On Arte, artificial intelligence in all its forms, for better or for worse

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