The double-edged sword that is technology lies at the root of "Humans, Gods and Technology", an absorbing and timely documentary from the vpro backlight series. In particular, the film explores the modern age of artificial intelligence. Will it bring about a bold new world of limitless possibilities or contribute to the demise of the individual?
Throughout the history of humankind, technology has both enhanced and limited our potential. Both rustic and sophisticated tools have expanded our average life span, increased our efficiency in performing vital daily tasks, and even empowered us to journey beyond the confines of our own planet. On the other hand, we've largely abandoned our connection to the natural world, we've become completely reliant on electronic devices, and we lack the survival instincts that distinguished our ancestors.
The film recaps this complicated history as a prelude to the reality we are facing today. Historians, futurists and other interview subjects confirm that artificial intelligence is no longer a figment of imaginative speculation; we have already reached the crucial point where we can create our own forms of life. These technologies can operate autonomously. One day soon, they could evolve to read our every thought and feeling, and connect the minds of billions of people across every corner of our planet.
The central dilemma before us could shape the course of future generations and of humankind itself. Will we play God responsibly and for the good of all mankind, or will we allow our creations to ultimately control and destroy us?
These concepts were once looked upon as irrational fantasies, but they are now very prescient and consequential realities for all of us. We're clearly at a crossroads in our evolution.
To properly address these modern concerns, we must reach back to the most basic philosophical questions that have plagued our species since the beginning of time. Why are we here? What does it mean to be human? What kind of future do we want for our children and grandchildren?
"Humans, Gods and Technology" is a precautionary portrait that urges us to confront these critical issues before it's too late.
Directed by: Rob van Hattum