In this two-hour Frontline special, we enter a race between nations that is taking place in order to become an artificial intelligence superpower and the politics involved in such a goal. It has been dubbed “The New Space Race” except this time it is China who is taking on the United States. It is a race to gain control of a technology that has the potential to change everything. From the way we work, to how governments police their states, and perhaps how democracy functions as a whole.
The birth of artificial intelligence has been compared to the industrial revolution and the discovery of electricity but how exactly is our world being effected and reshaped by this new technology? This film kicks things off in 2016 where we see how Google’s DeepMind project known as AlphaGo managed to defeat the Go world champion. Go is an ancient Chinese game that is said to have more possible outcomes than there are atoms in the universe. Because of this, it was believed that AI was still awhile away from beating championship level players but AlphaGo changed this.
With AlphaGo’s victory over Lee Sedol, Chinese president Xi Jinping stated that China would catch up to the United States in terms of artificial intelligence by 2025 and lead the world by 2030, as such the race was on.
In The Age Of AI takes us inside the incredibly competitive start-up culture seen in China today. Where in just a few years, several highly successful companies specializing in artificial intelligence have popped up, embracing the new technology along with the incredible wealth of data available. Data is a hot commodity, American-Taiwanese computer scientist Kai-Fu Lee, even goes as far as describing data as being the new oil.
We also witness how Self-driving trucks which once seemed like a futuristic vision have started taking to the road. The implications for the labor market, and long-haul truck drivers, in particular, could very well be huge. But this is just the beginning really, no doubt over the next ten years we are going to begin to see the true impact artificial intelligence has on the human race.
Directed by: Neil Docherty , David Fanning