UNKNOWN: KILLER ROBOTS on Netflix is a documentary with a runtime of just 68 minutes. It’s all about the use of AI in the armed forces. And yes, it’s pretty damn terrifying. In fact, the runtime is too short to cover it. Read our full Unknown: Killer Robots review here!
UNKNOWN: KILLER ROBOTS is a new Netflix documentary that offers a behind-the-scenes look at how Artificial Intelligence (or simply AI) is being used in the US armed forces. The runtime is very short at just over one hour. In fact, I found it to be too short.
We only really get to scratch the surface and while I can imagine this has to do with secrecy around military-funded projects, other areas could’ve been covered more extensively. This isn’t a bad documentary, but I did find it quite lacking in depth. Not while watching it as much as when it was suddenly over.
Continue reading our Unknown: Killer Robots review below. Find it on Netflix from July 10, 2023.
Artificial Intelligence in Warfare
Sure, “Killer Robots” is a catchy title, but after watching Class of ’09 or simply a series like Person of Interest, I would think it’s obvious that the AI inside a computer is more than scary enough. People will do as they’re told – certainly those in jobs where obeying orders is paramount – so we don’t even need the robots’ part for the killing to happen.
DO CHECK OUT
A title like “Artificial Intelligence in Warfare” is just as accurate. In fact, that might turn out to be the biggest danger. We can all see the dangers and challenges of robots that fall over and self-driving cars that crash or explode. Both the machine-learning AI is “invisible” code that can essentially run the world in many ways.
In Unknown: Killer Robots, we meet the people working with military-funded AI projects. Of course, they’ll talk about how it’s amazing and brilliant because it’s their livelihood.
However, when they then say that it’s not like the movie Wargames or Terminator, they inadvertently end up explaining their projects in ways that make it sound exactly like those two movies. Admitting that AI is much faster and smarter than we are.
Precisely the thing that creates problems for us humans in all the sci-fi horror movies about AI (or Killer Robots) taking over the world. Something that is also pointed out by those who have tried to “flip the switch” and ask AI to do evil. Yes, I’m oversimplifying, but – hopefully – you get the gist.
A new docu-series from Netflix
The Unknown: Killer Robots documentary is actually part of the new UNKNOWN four-part docuseries event with weekly episodes. The first documentary was released on July 3, 2023, and the fourth and final (of this round anyway) will be out on July 24, 2023.
The four UNKNOWN documentaries released in July of 2023 are:
- The Lost Pyramid on July 3, 2023.
- Killer Robots on July 10, 2023.
- Cave of Bones on July 17, 2023.
- Cosmic Time Machine on July 24, 2023.
While I do love good documentaries, I would very much have preferred that Netflix has done something along the lines of the Fear Street movie trilogy for the summer of 2023. Oh well, maybe next year.
Watch Unknown: Killer Robots on Netflix!
Jesse Sweet is the director of the Killer Robots episode in this new Unknown docuseries on Netflix. He has previously directed many docuseries including episodes of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Death Row Stories, and Enhanced. I like the approaches made to the subject, but simply feel the documentary was too short.
It’s an extremely interesting and intriguing area that I would love to know much more about.
Officially, this documentary looks at what happens when AI makes life-or-death decisions and other dangers of artificial intelligence in military applications. And yes, this is covered, but Unknown: Killer Robots could easily have been a two-hour documentary and remained interesting throughout.
I did really like (even if it was scary) seeing how AI-powered robots are used and hearing the reasoning behind letting them make their own decisions on the battlefield. Because we hear from both soldiers and scientists as well as activists, a lot of different views are covered.
I suppose it’s a compliment of sorts that I also wanted more. But it does also result in a documentary that wasn’t as fulfilling as it could’ve been. Bottomline; Watch it and be both amazed and terrified but also left with many questions. Maybe nobody knows the answers, but that doesn’t make it any less scary that the use of AI is then being pushed forward.
Unknown: Killer Robots premieres on Netflix on July 10, 2023.
What happens when a machine makes life-or-death decisions? This documentary explores the dangers of artificial intelligence in military application.