Increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence technologies can assist us with a variety of practical tasks in everyday life. Their diversity of purpose can also be employed to help us explore and analyze the outer reaches of space. Whether earthbound or travelling through the universe, there's almost no aspect in which these technologies cannot be applied. Charlie and the Humans explores the intersections between people and AI, and how one might compliment the other as these technologies continue to evolve.
AI has perhaps enjoyed its most meaningful applications in the world of healthcare. The filmmakers observe an elderly woman as she tests out a variety of devices - from a pair of glasses that remind her when she should take her medications, when her blood pressure is elevated and when she should take a rest to a bed sheet that alerts her doctors and nurses when there might be a medical emergency taking place. Might these technologies evolve to a point where doctor-to-patient contact could be a thing of the past?
We meet an agricultural engineer who utilizes AI to upgrade outdated farming equipment. A German car designer explains how self-driving cars might one day be able to provide restaurant recommendations, menus and parking instructions based on their interpretations of the passenger's eye movements. The filmmakers also visit the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, and speak to its chief executive about new developing technologies that can read a patient's every move in a nursing home environment. These devices are especially beneficial if the patient suffers a fall or other medical event.
A series of essential questions are addressed throughout the film. To what extent should we trust these technologies? Do they run the risk of throwing our lives off course, and depriving us of our basic desire for interpersonal relationships?
The film also exposes a crucial age gap issue. Older persons are not as likely to welcome the intrusion these technologies can create in their daily lives.
Regardless of these potential drawbacks, Charlie and the Humans remains largely optimistic about the possibilities, and believes that these smarter systems are destined to become the accepted norm.
Directed by: Norman Striegel