While the concept and development of artificial intelligence goes back at least to the 1960s, in the last couple of years it’s taken a big leap forward in a way that’s at once exciting and also a little frightening.
In the past we’ve seen AI that can play games, answer certain questions, and label or classify different images—in essence, finding the “correct” response.
But the new development—Generative AI—is less constrained by what’s right, and more able to surprise us, spark new ideas and inspirations, and perhaps even give us all a means to explore our creative sides more easily.
Now we have AI that can write fictional stories, formal emails, poems and songs; paint fantasy landscapes, design website layouts, and take/make photos of people that don’t exist; play the guitar, create voices, and compose soundtracks.
Whether you’re a digital artist, marketer, or just someone that’s tired of writing emails, there’s a powerful new AI tool somewhere out there waiting for you to take advantage.
But generative AI is not without controversy. Some worry about ownership and copyright infringement, others about job losses, and some are concerned about biases and other thorny ethical issues. The list of concerns is almost endless.
Some of these issues have been around since the dawn of AI, others are new and specific to today’s generative AI. There’s clearly plenty to be discussed and figured out if we’re going to build more powerful AI in a way that benefits us all.
The following documentaries will help you make sense of where AI has come from and where it’s going, while addressing the biggest questions and offering expert insights.
Given the potential this technology has to shape the structure of life and society, now is the time to gain an understanding of what we’re dealing with. So let’s dive in.
Want to try out Generative AI for yourself? Here are 100 AI Productivity Tools or you can take my online workshop AI For Growth: Using ChatGPT for Content Marketing.
1. Generative AI Is About To Reset Everything, And, Yes It Will Change Your Life
This 20-minute documentary from Forbes examines the rise of generative AI and its potential impact on modern society, the workplace, and democracy.
They focus on OpenAI and Stable Diffusion, two of the most notable AI developments of recent years. They also get Bill Gates’ thoughts on the matter, and even engage in a little AI-editing on the documentary itself.
2. It’s Time to Pay Attention to A.I. (ChatGPT and Beyond)
This one’s from the great Youtube channel Cold Fusion, and focuses mainly on OpenAI’s ChatGPT model, which you’ve surely heard of by now.
They explore the many uses of an AI language model, including helping to write professional emails, getting you out of parking fines, mental health counselling, and cancelling those unwanted subscriptions.
If you enjoy this, I’d also recommend watching Google Panics Over ChatGPT and the Rise of AI Companions.
3. The Cr[AI]tive Revolution – The Future of Art
This is a longer documentary from indie game developer Jonas Tyroller, who delves into the effects generative AI will have on artists and what they can do to best take advantage.
He also highlights some great tools to help make AI work for us, compares AI to human intelligence, and explores the problems with AI learning from content scrapped from the web.
4. The Age of A.I.
Let Robert Downey Jr. take you through AI and future technologies with his characteristic wit and charm, in this 9-episode Youtube Originals series, ‘The Age of AI’.
Each episode is 30-40 minutes long, across which you’ll tackle AI in medicine, art, love, building on Mars, searching for aliens, and more.
5. Machine Learning: Living in the Age of AI
This 2019 film from the popular tech magazine/website Wired touches on a long list of AI use cases, as well as ethical implications that inevitably crop up.
Everything from self-driving cars to DIY robocars, identifying pancreatic cancer, helping farmers get the most out of their land, digital characters and AI news anchors, to helping seniors live with more ease and mobility.
6. Artificial intelligence And Its Ethics
Would you marry an AI? If you answered yes, you wouldn’t be the first. That’s just one of the many perplexities this documentary from DW explores.
They also cover the use of AI in healthcare, surveillance, and autonomous weapons, with insights from physicist Max Tegmark, philosopher and ethicist Thomas Metzinger, and AI Professor Jürgen Schmidhuber.
DW also has another excellent documentary on Artificial intelligence and algorithms: pros and cons
7. Toward Singularity – Neuroscience Inspiring AI
This documentary strives to examine the links between brains and computers, intelligence and computation, neurons and neural nets.
How have artificial neural networks been inspired by the original neural networks of biological brains? What happens if/when AI can do everything a biological brain can do? Could we one day upload our brains into a computer? When will AI surpass us and achieve artificial general intelligence and the singularity?
8. The History of Artificial Intelligence
This is a compilation of documentaries covering the history of computers and AI, and the documentaries themselves go back to the early days of computers.
They include a 1960s discussion with president emeritus of MIT, Jerome B. Wiesner; a short presentation from the father of information theory, Claude Shannon; and an interview with one of the founders of artificial intelligence, John McCarthy.
9. Mind Forward: Super-Humanity through Brain-machine communication
This documentary takes the symbiotic relationship between humans and machines to its extreme, imagining what might unfold if we merged brain and computer.
It might help us better understand what’s going on inside that complex organ in our heads, but it might also open up ways of expanding its capabilities, making it possible to see, hear, and experience things not possible with our current bioware.
10. The Economy of Tomorrow | AI Revolution
Past revolutions have altered our way of life in drastic ways, and there’s no reason to think the AI revolution will be any different.
Here, Moconomy asks: how will we support people displaced by AI that can do their jobs? How can we support an ageing population? What can we do about rising populations and growing inequalities?
This documentary debuted in 2019 at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. You can watch the full iHuman documentary here.
It takes a critical look at the connections between society, power, and AI, questioning what life might be like if everyone were governed by algorithms and the constant surveillance that entails.
The Future of AI
Artificial intelligence is creeping into every nook and cranny of society.
Sometimes it’s a dramatic step such as the recent advances in generative models like ChatGPT and MidJourney, but even when it’s less obvious, the progress is still there.
Now’s not the time to stick our heads in the sand and ignore these changes. Building truly intelligent computers could be mankind’s crowning achievement, if we can do it safely.
And even while we’re in the process of deciding what the right course of action is regarding the future implications, it’s possible to take advantage of many tools available now.
No matter what profession or industry you’re in, the new models and programs are worth adding to your arsenal of productivity and creativity boosters.
They’ve opened up a world of possibility to everyone, evening the playing field. No matter your skill level you can design a website, build a brand, code a program, or direct a movie. Now’s the time to start creating.