THE INCREDIBLES (2004)
Pixar’s Tech Take
In this movie about a superhero family, the movie’s villain, Syndrome, uses high-tech robots to cause chaos. Over time, these robots use artificial intelligence and machine learning to gain information from battles with superheroes and improve their fighting techniques.
The key robot in the arsenal, called the Omnidroid, evolves through eight versions, including four iterations of its AI software. In the final battle of the film, the robot turns on its creator – identifying Syndrome’s remote control as more of a threat to himself than his master’s enemies.
Machine learning has developed into an integral assistant in recent years. From helping cars drive themselves to giving Uber riders accurate pickup times to filtering email spam, both simple AI algorithms and sophisticated deep learning software is essential to many service technologies.
We haven’t yet seen self-actualized, AI-powered weaponized robots. And, according to most technologists, we’re still some ways off.
“One scenario I don’t think we need to worry about is the one in which robots become conscious (whatever that means) and decide to kill us,” says scholar and machine learning researcher, Catherine Stinson. “For one thing, conscious robots are still far off. For another, consciousness doesn’t lead directly to murder.”
After the earth becomes over-populated and uninhabitable, the main character, a robot named WALL-E, is left to cleanup the planet. He independently locates, collects, compacts, and piles trash to be incinerated with hopes that humans can eventually return.
Meanwhile, humans live on a space station populated and employing robots in many jobs we have today – barbers, stylists, waiters, security personnel, deliverers. These robots travel through hidden highways in the belly of the spaceship.
The whole ship, its operations and navigation, is run by a sophisticated computer called AUTO, using artificial intelligence to make complex decisions.
Robots already do repetitive tasks in places where humans used to. Manufacturing, shipping, food processing, farming, energy, even banking … almost all industries have been impacted by digital or physical Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
In the future, our cities’ infrastructures will be run by AI technology, much like AUTO. One plan of the smart city of the future shows service robots traveling underground, transporting mail and garbage and reducing human traffic. In addition, each neighborhood will be monitored by thousands of sensors, measuring and regulating building temperatures, utilities, trash collection, and other processes automatically.
Pixar’s Tech Take
Dug is a golden retriever who belongs to the movies main character, the elderly Charles Muntz. He is a fun-loving dog who wears a special collar invented by Muntz that translates his thoughts into speech, in real-time.
Automatic language translation is no longer a far-off technology. Using AI-powered neural networks that mimic the patterns of the human brain and learn from experience, computers can now translate with minimal human supervision.
Google has developed its own AI, called Google Neural Machine Translation system (GNMT), to beef up its popular Google Translate software. The updated system takes advantage of new machine learning technology to translate entire sentences, understand context, and provide more accurate translations to its 500 million monthly users.
In November 2017, Google released its Pixel Earbuds, which promise real time translation from a speaker to a listener. The speaker talks into a phone app, which translates their language into the earbud wearer’s native language, in real-time. While some complain of a translation lag and its awkward process, it will only be a matter of time before we see a more polished language translation system.
MORE THAN JUST MOVIE TECH
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