Four Corners: Aug 9

Monday’s Four Corners story “Are you scared yet, human?” is a BBC Panorama production on how AI should be used and controlled.

AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation.” Elon Musk

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way we work and live in ways that were once dismissed as the stuff of science fiction. The technology has the capacity to improve our lives, but it also presents new challenges and potentially grave risks.

“If we’re not careful, George Orwell’s 1984 could come to pass in 2024.” Brad Smith, President of Microsoft

In this insightful and provocative program, those working at the cutting edge of this technological revolution give their insights into how AI should be used and controlled.

“Technology is never neutral, some technologies are in favour of tyranny… Surveillance and social control are what AI is good at.” Research scientist

AI and machine learning is driven by the data we create every time we interact with our devices.

“It’s estimated that 90% of the world’s data was created in just the last 2 years alone.” Missy Yong, Chief Information Officer, Switch

Increasingly, AI is being embedded into military hardware and strategic planning.

“We need humans to be making the combat execution decisions because humans have legal moral and ethical responsibilities, they have chains of command, they have repercussions, robots do not.” Defence contractor

“Our mission statement is clearly to transform the Department of Defense through accelerating the adoption of artificial intelligence.” Lieutenant General Michael Groen, Director, Joint Artificial Intelligence Centre, US Department of Defense

In interviews with senior US military personnel and contractors, the program shows how AI is transforming defence departments around the world.

“Every weapon system that our troops use will have some component of artificial intelligence integrated in it, in fact we’ve made it a requirement that for every new weapon system they develop artificial intelligence capability.” Congressman Seth Moulton, Chair, US Future of Defence Task Force

China is also heavily investing in artificial intelligence with the desire for AI supremacy fuelling what some fear is a new arms race.

“The Chinese Government including state-owned weapons manufacturers are aggressively pursuing AI enabled weapons.” Gregory Allen, Chief of Strategy, Joint Artificial Intelligence Centre, US Department of Defence

The adoption of AI has also fuelled concerns about the moral and ethical responsibility of those working in the heart of “Big Tech.”

“Google should not be involved in the business of war. I kind of felt like I had blood on my hands.” Former Google software engineer

Decisions made now on who will control this technology and how it will have a critical impact on our future world.

“The time that we’re living in now is a crossroads for the human race and if we get it right it could be a golden era for humanity…If we get it wrong we could create a dystopian technology, reinforced global dictatorship, we could even lose control over the world to our own technology. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General

Monday 9th August 8.30pm on ABC.