Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the forefront of people’s minds lately, especially with the launch of ChatGPT last fall. The chatbot has found favor amongst professionals, students, and individuals that like to use or explore the capabilities of this language processing tool. As with any technology, AI comes with questions about security and ethics, the latter being heavily focused on in the media right now as further advancements in technology are made. AI ethics are also a main theme in a new movie you may have heard about called M3GAN.
M3GAN is a horror/comedy film (yes, the movie does a pretty good job of mingling these two genres) about a young, orphaned girl, Cady, sent to live with her aunt who just so happens to be a roboticist at a large toy company. As each struggles to adjust to the new living situation, Cady and her aunt bond over a new toy prototype: a human-like doll, M3GAN, driven by artificial intelligence. M3GAN adapts and improves her algorithms as she spends time with Cady, and she soon takes on a life of her own, becoming too clever for programmers to handle. In return, we see Cady become too attached to M3GAN as she seeks emotional support while grieving the loss of her parents. I won’t divulge any spoilers, so if you’re curious about the shenanigans that ensue, you’ll have to watch the movie.
While M3GAN is a very unlikely worst-case scenario, and definitely not the first movie to feature robots gone awry, it does raise some ethical questions: Is an unhealthy attachment or addiction to technology/AI being created? Is technology/AI replacing duties that should be done by a parent or human? Is technology/AI manipulating the vulnerable?
Further ethical questions about privacy, security, exploitation, and information bias will also arise with the emergence of new AI technologies. Careful and thoughtful consideration of these concerns must be addressed as the world moves from science fiction to science reality.