“Chappie” Speaks to Our Robotic Future and Artificial Intelligence

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Not long ago I saw the movie “Chappie”, a film challenging human morality as it pertains to artificial intelligence, and wondered could this be our future?

Not long ago I saw the movie “Chappie”, a film challenging human morality as it pertains to artificial intelligence, and wondered could this be our future?

Possible Spoiler Alert:

Before I can tell you about my thoughts I have to first give you a brief synopsis of the movie.

The Neill Blomkamp movie starts off with a young scientist Deon Wilson (Dev Patel from HBO’s The Newsroom) that has developed a robotic police squad with the capability of lowering the city’s crime rate considerably. The scientist has also secretly been working on an artificial intelligence project that would allow robots to learn and think for themselves like humans. The scientist ends up plugging this artificial intelligence technology into a defunct police robot (later named Chappie). This would frame the premise for the movie.

At one point, Chappie ends up in the wrong hands and begins learning some, let’s say, ‘less-than-desirable’ habits, but he is made to make a promise to his creator (Dev Patel) to not submit to a life of crime and immoral behavior. He promises….in the end Chappie winds up choosing the right path and saving the day. But wait….

 

Chappie_Movie

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This whole story of a robot that is capable of learning and making decisions, in the very vivid way on its own really made me think…is this what our future will look like? We are already at the point where cars are basically driving and parking themselves, droids are able to adapt and learn from certain situations, and devices can respond in novel ways to human interaction. So is this movie really that far-fetched? Is it really just a science fiction concept that was drawn up by the writers to entertain the audience?

At the rate that technology is progressing and computers are getting smarter and faster, how long before we have robotic co-workers that are more efficient then we are? I am not one to be afraid of a technological future but I cant lie this possibility does slightly frighten me.

If you have a robot that can learn and make decisions on its own, how long before they are clever enough to realize they are smarter than their creators?

The movie also brought out a feeling in me that I feel could be a reality for a lot of people one day. There was a point in the movie that Chappie was by itself in the world for the first time, and some teenagers started to throw rocks and bottles at him and even threw a Molotov cocktail at him….You could feel the confusion and pain going through Chappies robotic mind at that point. This made me both infuriated yet sadly remorseful for Chappie. I felt like, “why are they assaulting this innocent robot? Why don’t they take a second and see that he is different from the other robots?” I felt conflicted in having to can those feelings and say “It’s just a robot”.

Could this too be a reality one day where we are choosing sides in the fight for robotic rights?

I don’t know…maybe I am thinking and making way too much out of this but am I the only one that thinks this way? What are your thoughts?

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