Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most significant leaps forward in the world of innovative technologies. The general public's knowledge of AI might be limited to its fanciful portrayals in modern TV and film, but how much of this representation is truly authentic? Will AI bring about a fundamental change in our lives, and what are its potential benefits and dangers to mankind? The Great Leap Forward addresses all of these questions and more.
The filmmakers travel across the globe to explore the latest research and development projects currently underway in the exciting world of AI. In the San Francisco Bay area, AI is all the buzz. At an Amazon grocery store, you can perform all of your shopping through a mobile app. Restaurants and cafes are utilizing robotics to serve their clients. The medical industry has begun experimenting with AI's potential for test sample interpretation and the diagnosis of chronic disease. One day, we are promised, the technology might be able to accurately diagnose diseases like Parkinson's at the earliest stages.
The filmmakers find similar initiatives taking place in countries like China and Germany, and others involving public safety, law enforcement and energy conservation.
These innovations represent a double-edged sword for many. The technology requires close monitoring of our daily lives, so the comforts come at the price of privacy. AI technologies eliminate the need for many of our most common occupations - sales assistants, cashiers and servers among them. In addition, they're engineered by humans, and are therefore predisposed to problem solve based on human data. What if the technology's process of interpretation is marred by flawed data?
Every leap forward comes with its own unique set of moral and ethical questions. Are we willing to give up our freedoms if it means we can achieve these goals? If our global society is to have a say, these are issues we will have to contend with before we reach the point of no return.
Produced by the DW Documentary series, The Great Leap Forward is both an exciting portrait of the technologies that will shape our future world, and an urging to consider the kind of world we want that to be.