Artificial intelligence and technology are complex fields requiring intensive education to have working expertise. But not all people require such a level of expertise. Some just need to be informed. And what better way to stay informed than to do so through media on AI? As such, we at Sparkd.ai have compiled our top picks for AI and technology documentaries, all available on Netflix without restriction on location – let’s dive in!
1. Coded Bias
Our first pick for AI in media, was released in 2020, where it premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in January 2020. Coded Bias is a US documentary film directed by Shalini Kantayya. The main idea tackled by the documentary is the relationship between AI and human biases. It delves into the importance of paying attention to the people behind the algorithms. The show does this by showcasing the use of AI in surveillance algorithms and policing.
It effectively highlights the systematic problem at work: the engineering of these machine learning algorithms by a mostly male, mostly-white cadre of engineers. Possibly the film’s greatest feat, it illustrates the necessity of diversity required to build inclusive algorithms that govern society at large. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 100% based on 43 reviews with an average rating of 7.9/10. A must-see!
2. The Social Dilemma
The Social Dilemma is an American docudrama which was also an official Sundance Selection for 2020. It is directed by Jeff Orlowski and written by Orlowski, Davis Coombe, and Vickie Curtis. The film examines the relationship between the design of social media and addiction. In particular, it focuses on how the design nurtures addiction to maximize profit. And its ability to manipulate people’s views, emotions, and behaviour and spread conspiracy theories and disinformation.
Furthermore, the film also investigates the effect of social media on mental health. More specifically, the mental health of adolescents and rising teen suicide rates. It features interviews with former employees, executives, etc., from the top tech companies. These companies include Google, Facebook, and Twitter. The film was well received. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 85% based on 68 reviews with an average audience rating of 83%
3. Inside Bill’s Brain
AI and technology on media isn’t always negative. Our last recommendation is a bit more dated, a three-part documentary created and directed by Davis Guggenheim in 2019. It highlights the positive of technology quite well. The short series explores the history, mind, and motivations of Microsoft’s founder and of the most influential man in technology and business: Bill Gates. Davis brings the documentary to life through the accounts of the different people in Bill’s life. He also includes interviews of Bill himself. Each episode focuses on different causes Bill is working on, apart from the progression of his life.
The first episode tackles his interest in sanitation in developing countries and the omni processor, which is a plant that treats human-generated faecal sludge to remove pathogens and simultaneously create commercially viable products like energy. The second episode touches on his work to eradicate polio in Nigeria, advance polio vaccination, and his friendship with Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft. The last episode focuses on his search for climate change solutions, his marriage with Melinda Gates, and his notorious friendship with the business magnate Warren Buffet.
Learning doesn’t need to be boring. And when it comes to the technology that inundates our lives at every turn, it is imperative that we have a working knowledge. At Sparkd.ai, we believe in the moderation of artificial intelligence and technology at large. The question of whether the advances in computer science and engineering are deemed good or bad comes down to application. And so, we should remain vigilant – so put these documentaries on your watch lists!
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