Chris Paine’s documentary looks at the potential dangers of our intimate relationship with smartphones and laptops In all likelihood, you are currently reading this article on a device that contains all the salient parts of your life. You’ve given it your bank account information, and use it to move your money around.

It’s privy to your conversations with loved ones and work associates, perhaps even words uttered out loud in private moments. It knows your schedule, where you are at any given moment, what you buy, what music you listen to, and who you should date.

It’s hard not to enter full-on panic mode as Paine blows through digital threats to life as we know it as if from apocalyptic flashcards. While advances like artificial intelligence, increased automation, and algorithmic learning have propelled humanity into a faster and more convenient future, they have paved the way for some chilling developments as well.

“There are tentpole concerns,” Paine explains. “The danger of autonomous weapons, the danger of election tampering and other hacking, the hazards of overpersonalization – these are part of the ‘existential risk’ we’ve covered in the three years of working on this film … People are very fast to trust things that take care of them.

We trust airplane autopilots, and we trust the FAA to make sure the pilot’s not flying under the influence or something. Like machines or governments, digital programs have a real relationship with the humans that use them. Read more from…

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