If you could have a conversation with a dead person, who would you want talk to?

It’s just one of the first things that Machine, in cinemas Thursday 12 December, touches on. The documentary looks at the many ways that AI is being used today and the impact it’s having – or will have – with the aim of amplifying researchers voices and bringing discussion surrounding AI and ethical standards into the broader social discussion.

No longer is AI just a common theme in sci-fi movies, it’s becoming a real and ever-present part of our lives. From deeply intuitive chatbots to driverless cars, AI is going to fundamentally transform nearly every aspect of our lives. Even the ability to search for keywords like “cat”, “dog” and “animal” in the photos on your iPhone is an example of AI in action.

Is the future shiny and automated? Well it depends on who you ask. The documentary shows just how divided the science community is on the direction of where these technologies are headed. Some are wary of the possibility of a robot apocalypse, whereas others doubt that the technology in a Roomba could one day outsmart mankind, given that it can barely navigate around the furniture in your living room.

Image credit: iRobot

There’s also the question that, if the technology could advance to that stage, what it should be used for. War results in casualties. As does human error. So, should we use AI to try to reduce the number of casualties and instead make a drone responsible for delivering the fatal blow? Now you see it’s not just a question of electronics, but ethics too.

One day we may not be the smartest ones on the planet. As AI gets smarter, our priority should not just be improving the technology, but also providing it with the ability to feel empathy and a values system. It’s the only way that we can ensure a harmonious future with the technology that we created.

Explore the fascinating world of artificial intelligence. Machine is in cinemas from Thursday 12 December. Get tickets here.