Segments in this Video

Introduction: In the Age of AI (06:10)


The world champion of the Chinese game, Go, took on a Google program that could mimic the neural networks of the human brain. AlphaGo won, a turning point for deep learning. “Front Line” presents five stories on how artificial intelligence is changing society.

China Has a Plan: Tech Entrepreneurship (06:56)

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced plans to catch up to American artificial intelligence by 2025 and to lead the world by 2030. China leads the world in ecommerce, and citizens buy products using facial recognition. Kai-Fu Lee and other entrepreneurs are paving the way with AI.

China Has a Plan: Authoritarian Capitalism (07:56)

The Chinese are increasingly reliant on mobile devices for payments and other daily interactions. The amounts of data they provide make the country ideal for AI implementation. Facial recognition is used to identify lawbreakers, raising civil liberty concerns.

Promise: Autonomous Vehicles (05:31)

Alex Rodrigues is the 24-year-old CEO of Embark, a company working on replacing human drivers. He believes driverless cars are the solution to traffic fatalities. Algorithms pioneered by the University of Montreal’s Yoshua Bengio have made the technology more feasible.

Promise: Medical Application (05:14)

The promise of artificial intelligence is that it can come up with solutions to urgent and complex problems that humans cannot fathom. AI helps Constance Lehman of Massachusetts General Hospital come up with treatment plans for her breast cancer patients.

Promise: New Era (03:38)

The Industrial Revolution allowed humankind to overcome the limits of muscle power. Author Andrew McAfee believes society is undergoing a similar transformation today, as AI overcomes limits to brainpower. The technology promises to reshape every aspect of our lives.

Promise: Displaced by AI (05:55)

Trucker wages declined rapidly after the industry’s deregulation in the 1980s, and driverless cars may eliminate long-haul trucking as a viable profession. Hope Cumbee, a former driver, elaborates on hardships her family has faced. Her husband is stranded in Tennessee.

Future of Work: Eliminating Jobs (08:31)

Lee believes half of all jobs will be threatened by AI in the next 15 years or so. Researchers at Oxford University have identified jobs that are especially vulnerable to automation. White collar jobs may be more at risk than manual labor.

Future of Work: Left Behind (08:50)

Factory workers used to earn middleclass wages in Saginaw, Michigan, but the poverty rate there now exceeds 30%. American worker pay no longer correlates with productivity. Researchers say automation has contributed to this trend much more than offshoring.

Future of Work: Disruptive Technologies (07:05)

Women are disproportionately affected by AI. The workplace of the future will demand different skills, and not everyone will be able to afford to learn them. New machines will reshape every sector of the economy, replacing labor and contributing to rising inequality.

Surveillance Capitalists: Data Mining (11:01)

A handful of tech companies are cornering the AI market, amassing tremendous wealth and power for their owners. Pedro Domingos, Shoshana Zuboff, and other critics are increasingly uncomfortable with how far these companies have reached into our private, daily lives.

Surveillance Capitalists: Customer Surveillance (05:03)

Tech companies provide a free service, and millions of users give away their valuable data. Facebook has run “social contagion experiments” to learn how the company can manipulate world events. Alexa and smart appliances make monitoring customers that much easier.

Surveillance Capitalists: Upending Democracy (03:20)

Mark Zuckerberg had to appear before Congress to explain how the data of 87 million Facebook users wound up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica. Billionaire Robert Mercer hired the company to target potential voters in the United States and Britain.

Surveillance Capitalists: Need for Regulation (06:38)

Activist Alastair MacTaggart championed an initiative to protect user data which lead to California passing a consumer privacy law. Big tech lobbyists are fighting a strict national privacy standard, and AI has seeped into everyday life in ways the average citizen can barely understand.

Surveillance State: Bamboo Curtain (14:38)

Authoritarian China uses AI to scan citizens for signs of unrest. The government’s Sharp Eyes project aims to have cameras on every corner of every village. Muslims in Xinjiang province are scanned and rounded up for “re-education.” The U.S. does not trust Huawei technology.

Surveillance State: High Stakes (05:27)

Lee believes the world’s two AI superpowers should work together to make the technology a force for good. However, Bengio does not believe the current use of AI is aligned with democracy and building a better society.

Credits: In the Age of AI (01:03)

Credits: In the Age of AI

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In the Age of AI

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



It has been called "the new Space Race." This time it is China taking on the United States, and the race is to seize control of a technology with the potential to change everything: the way we work; how we play; how our democracy functions; how the world could be realigned. Frontline explores some of the ways in which our world is being re-shaped and reimagined by the technology of artificial intelligence, a sea change that has been compared to the Industrial Revolution and the discovery of electricity. The film explores both the peril and the promise of this ascendant technology: tracing the battle between the U.S. and China to harness its power; examining fears about what AI advances mean for the future of work; and revealing how AI algorithms are ushering in an age of both great problem-solving potential and of new and troubling threats to privacy and democracy.

Length: 114 minutes

Item#: BVL203087

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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