I can’t say that I’m a technophobe and that I am especially afraid of the development of technology, artificial intelligence and the like, which has become completely impossible to follow and understand, but every now and then a documentary appears showing how all this can be really scary. Maybe it’s better not to think that we are already practically living in the Orwellian time when something up to what he and his fellow dystopians described has already appeared, while something that exists and may already be in function, we don’t even know or think about. . For example, for some time now, there has been a technology in which artificial intelligence recognizes human faces, and this technology is already in operation in various parts of the world. From China and the US to the UK where there is an organization that is pushing for this outrageous technology to be phased out and for facial recognition cameras to be removed from the streets of London.
Still, the documentary, made by American documentary filmmaker and human rights activist Shalini Kantayya, begins with a seemingly bizarre mistake spotted by young MIT computer scientist Joy Boulamwini. She was working on a program that recognizes human faces, and she realized that artificial intelligence quite often fails to recognize her face. She tried to figure out why, and when she put a white mask on her head, the algorithm immediately recognized her. As the title of the film “Coded Bias” says, this research documentary premiered at Sundance is trying to find out if there really are “prejudices” in algorithms and how something like this is even possible, and the results and everything we’ll see along the way are truly terrifying.
The main question posed by this film is whether one should blindly trust artificial intelligence, all this vast data that is being entered, the algorithms and how it all works. Already today, our lives depend in large part on some automated processes, algorithms with a tendency to be more, and this documentary shows how algorithms and artificial intelligence discriminate against people by race, gender and social status. It may sound silly that artificial intelligence is something that can have prejudices, but when we think about it better and see who is basically entering all the data that AI works on, it doesn’t sound so stupid.
It sounds scary and terrifying because we also see examples where human rights are already being violated and how data about people is being used to target advertisements on the Internet, but also for some other, much more serious things. We also see China, which has definitely gone the furthest in the implementation of this sci-fi technology, and how there is something called social credit. We see how the local population is controlled through various applications and programs that many citizens arbitrarily accept. We also see how various large global corporations are not only developing, but also pushing into use automated systems that have been proven to be not good and have a number of serious flaws. It was “Coded Bias” quite a frightening and disturbing documentary with which the world around us may become a little clearer and how we can no longer hide anywhere. Blessed were the partisans who hid in the forests, because if something goes wrong, even the good, old forests will not save us. Rating 7/10.
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