Robo Sapiens

Adventure & Travel Science & Technology
robot, Technology, travel
6x 43'
Jelle Brandt Corstius
HD available

In the new six-part VPRO travel series Robo Sapiens Jelle Brandt Corstius investigates how robots and artificial intelligence influence our lives and how this will still be changing even more. The speed of new technological developments is mindboggling. What does this mean for us? Is there a reason to be fearful or should we long for the future with great expectations?

The point of departure is the birth of Brandt Corstius’ daughter a year and a half ago. Fatherhood made him think about the manner in which her life will develop, at a time in which the applications of artificial intelligence are seemingly infinite. In the series he follows the imaginary life cycle of his daughter. Will she have to work in the future? Will it possible that she will have a relationship with robot? And will artificial intelligence eventually give her the gift of eternal life?

Robo sapiens sketches a glimpse of the future, which is at first promising and then once again worrying. AI, or artificial intelligence, is grasping evermore terrain all around us. Take for example the phenomenon of predictive policing. In a growing number of cities around the world the police are patrolling based upon the predictions made by AI that have been acquired from previous crime figures. Critics have stated that this works in a stigmatizing way and sometimes even helps to feed and sustain racism. Other AI applications are also controversial. Initially sex robots might seem harmless but how will this affect the manner in which we as humans will interact with one another?

AI is already beating us in chess and poker tournaments. Everyone agrees that AI and robots will in a very short time surpass humans on an intellectual level and on all fronts. But it also looks like we will quickly reach the point at which independence will develop even further, and without any human intervention. Are we adequately enough aware of the risks? And what will remain of us humans once robots and other smart machines overtake us?

To get answers for all of his questions Brandt Corstius travels to Japan, Ethiopia, England and the United States. He does this while accompanied by a robot who in turn becomes enthralled in his social environment, the social environment of humans that is being surpassed on a growing number of terrains by an improved version of themselves.