MIS 2101.702 – Courtney Minich – Fall 2017

Weekly Question – #6

Artificial Intelligence is rapidly advancing in today’s society. It’s presence is not only in real life but also in the entertainment industry. A Netflix series, Black Mirror, discusses artificial intelligence and machine learning in various episodes. Watch the Black Mirror episode titled “Be Right Back” [Season 2, Episode 1] and discuss the different areas in which machine learning [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_learning] is present throughout the episode. 

29 Responses to Weekly Question – #6

  • Machine learning was present in the phone calls that Martha made with the artificial intelligence. The AI not only mimicked her deceased lover’s voice, but also picked up the way the lover talked. In addition, there was also that scene where Martha was touching the cheeks of the AI who met her in person. The AI used texture mapping to mimic the feel of regular skin.

  • This episode discusses machine learning through this concept of “mimicking” someone. After the machine reads emails, texts and posts it begins to recognize patterns and can respond to questions and interact the same way the person would have reacted. It can even joke in the same way that this person would have. The more information you give it, the more it becomes someone, by sending videos to the machine it even can replicate the voice of the person who passed. Eventually, the woman in the episode becomes obsessed with talking to him to the point where she breaks down when she thought she was. This process even goes as far as to replicate the person who died and turn them into a robot of the person. When you order the replica robot you get a blank, the robot will grow and form to be the person you wanted it to be in time, you must let it grow. The machine even learns on a visual aspect, when you by a synthetic copy it learns and replicates pores and wrinkles that were on a person.

    Over the course of the episode we see the main character, Martha, trying to accept the fact that her husband passed away. At first she was overjoyed to be messaging him, where they had limited conversation, that was before she released more intimate data of him, allowing her to hear him, due to the computer copying the sound of his voice it gained from a mixture of videos. The episode then goes a step further as to allow her to produce a totally synthetic copy of her husband. The issue regarding the intelligence that was presented in the video was that the robot could gain no thoughts of its own. It hard to learn everything, making Martha frustrated that she was not actually with her love.

  • Black Mirror was something I would never of chosen to watch especially since my father passed two years ago and it has been difficult, getting harder not easier to go through life without him. With that being said I sucked it up and got through it.

    I can relate to Martha in not being about to move on however as we can see, while Ash came back to resemble himself in appearance, machine learning is limited and can’t take the place of a human. There are limitations and it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Ash didn’t have the mole on his chest, he didn’t recognize her sister, he wasn’t breathing the way Ash did, Martha asked him to leave and he did yet the real Ash would never of done that.

    The machine learning came from Ash’s emails, Facebook, chats, phone, text etc and if Ash didn’t disclose something then it was not learned such as his sexual responses.

    It was in the back of my head the entire time that what is learned is limited and I was wondering if Ash would turn on her or could he have learned something from a wrong source. I must say I am not a fan of this upcoming technology.

    This movie did help in that it confirmed what I always knew, my dad is one of a kind and there is no one who can replace him.

    • Your take on this show was very moving. You are right, your father will never be replaced. You are a brave soul for getting through the episode and writing this response.

    • Karen, you hit the nail on the head. It’s the littlest things that humans notice which machines cannot-moles, subtle laughs and facial expressions that are unique to us as individuals.

      Thank you for watching this and for relating your story back to the show.

  • I am a big fan of Black Mirror and find this episode to be very mind blowing. Throughout the episode, Be Right Back, AI is shown through the mimicking of Martha’s late husband, Ash. Ash passes away in a car accident, Martha had a very hard time grieving his loss so she joined an online chat. Here she was able to message a machine that was mimicking Ash. Through stored emails and personal information that was discovered about Ash, the machine was able to reply as him. The machine knew his characteristics, his sense of humor and reactions. The machine was then able to call Martha and sound exactly the same way Ash did. Further into the episode, Martha orders a black mannequin and activates “Ash” a machine that looked, felt and talked exactly like Ash. The machine was so intelligent that is developed a beauty mark in the same exact place as Ash had one.
    While watching this episode for the second time, I kept thinking, if at some point in our lifetime we see this kind of technology develop, would I want to participate in this program?

  • This whole semester when you mentioned Black Mirror, I was like “I wonder what this is…”. I feel so dumb now because I had actually watched it awhile ago! This episode was very interesting. Everyone has watched it and a couple people gave a synopsis of the episode “Be Right Back” so I won’t do that. Basically, machine learning is taking all of that unstructured data from emails and social media (the 80% or so of all data) and applying data analytics to discover knowledge and patterns within and applying it. Machine learning discovers the patterns within unstructured data and displays the patterns. That is exactly what happens in the Black Mirror episode! Martha is signed up for a program, starting small at first with email correspondence, and after using it she ends up getting an AI replica of her late husband. The AI robotic Ash has learned EVERYTHING about the real Ash through emails, texts, photos, videos, social media, recordings, and anything else out there. All of that unstructured data was then displayed and utilized in this program that could mimic the real person because it had so much data. It basically just goes to show how much information about ourselves is really out there. We may not even realize how much of that data we provide through these mediums. Creepy! and cool…

  • Machine learning is the use of unstructured data to write a template- in this case a human beings mind. “Be right back” explores machine learning when the AI (Ash) learns everything about the real Ash through all of his social media, text messages, emails, pictures and everything else that was posted or shared. I believe the AI (Ash) is also learning through the conversations he has with Martha.

  • I think it was learning how the guy talks and how he chatted online. The conversations they started having seemed kind of real. It also showed this learning during the phone call where it learned more of his patterns. I feel like AI are getting pretty close to being able to virtually mimic a real person based on how well they’re programmed.

  • The Black Mirror episode “Be Right Back” is fascinating. In terms of machine learning I never understand why television and movies treat artificial intelligence as the most naïve beings. Anyone who has been around children knows that you have to TEACH a child how to be nice. Being mean is inherent. All of the texts, emails, and pictures of Ash would have reflected being mean in someway. Ash, once newly reincarnated, hints that he looks so good since we typically “only take good pictures”. While this is mostly true, we don’t just save the best texts and emails in a relationship. His actual personality should show through more, without Martha teaching him.

    End rant of that oversight. I think machine learning to this extent is horrifying. Martha is clearly going through numerous psychological issues because Ash looks like Ash but doesn’t have all of the attributes. Technology like this just makes me think of the recluse society that we are moving closer to everyday.

  • There was a lot of machine learning present in this episode of Black Mirror. The biggest showing of machine learning is the program that the widow used to talk to her deceased husband. This program used social media in order to learn about him and mimic his personality. The program was also able to learn his voice using social media and other videos in order to sound like him. Towards the end of the episode the program created a clone of the deceased husband that acted very similarly to him but still had human learning to do.

  • Never seeing this show before I was hesitant to watch an episode in a second season and be very lost. I think it is interesting how each episode essentially tells a new story. In this episode a women named Martha loses her boyfriend Ash. In an attempt to reconnect with him she takes advantage of a service that allows artificial intelligence to mimic someone and help cope with their loss. This is the main instance in which machine learning in present. The program goes through all of Ash’s digital records such as social media, AIM, videos, messages, pictures etc. It also uses machine learning and AI when they create the “real life” version of ash which the program is uploaded to. All in all I thought this was an interesting concept and definitely would consider watching from the first season.

  • Machine Learning is a field of computer science that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. In this episode of black mirror this program is used when the widow talks to Ash , but it really is not him. Since the machine learns everything about Ash through his social media, it is not truly an accurate which in turn messes with the widows mind. I think that even though the program was close to acting like a human, this wouldn’t be a good idea in the real world. Programs like this would not let people properly grieve over their lost ones, so all in all I believe it’s a bad idea.

  • My husband really likes Black Mirror and tried to get met to watch it with him but the show kind of creeps me out to be honest. The show does generate interest conversation though because it is so bizarre but also, especially with this episode and the advancements of AI seem to be a version of reality that could come to pass. There are many instances where the AI version of Ash exhibits machine learning. AI Ash is programmed to have similarities with the deceased Ash but the AI must learn as it goes without the programming and learn from his social media accounts, email, etc. He also learns from his new personal encounters such as how to have sex and through telephone conversation.

  • Machine learning was first present through the online service that Martha was using to message “Ash” after he died. The service used Ash’s past online activity and social networks to gather information about him and how he would respond to conversations and experiences. Later on in the episode the online service is able to replicate Ash’s voice after Martha uploads videos and recordings of him. When Martha receives the artificial body that resembles Ash’s physical appearance she soon realizes that this “Ash” is only able to replicate certain aspects of the real Ash. The AI Ash then learns those certain attitudes and characteristics that Martha mentions the real Ash possessed and the AI then tries to recreate them.

  • The episode shows artificial intelligence throughout it. It shows how computers are constantly evolving to what we do as humans. The scene where the woman is checking her email and moving her hand to the side it shows the computer is following her hand movement to delete the email. This is similar to how the new iPhone follows eye movement. Later in the episode the way the computer can generate a human being who is dead is in my opinion something not out of this world. We already have robots, and the way the show depicts the artificial person talking by using posts from online and videos to make the person sound the way the did while alive is all signs of how computers can machine learn. The robot who plays asham appears to always be learning when he is talking and watching his girlfriend. Nothing will ever be the same as a real human, especially his emotions, which seem to be even more distant than when he was alive.

  • The presence of machine learning in this episode of Black Mirror is pretty intense to comprehend. When Martha is chatting with the AI of Ash it uses all of the unstructured data he previously put out into the world on social media and even further she had the option to upload personal data in order to make him even more realistic. I feel that that aspect could be possible in our lifetime but to have a physical body with texture mapping is pretty unrealistic albeit incredible to think about!

  • There is a lot of artificial intelligence shown throughout. Martha was able to talk to her dead husband and he was able to reply. She was even able to have a phone call with him. Martha was able to maintain a relationship with Ash long after he was dead. The AI was able to learn a lot about Ash because he spent a lot of time on social media. The AI was able to mimic him. I felt bad for Martha because she was not able to mourn her husbands death.

  • Machine learning is present throughout the episode. After Martha’s boyfriend died, she was able to communicate with an AI that was able to mimic him. However, it doesn’t show emotion as humans would, and simply obeys her.

  • Artificial intelligence is surrounding our world fast and in controversial matters on many tv episodes. In season 2 episode 1 of the popular show Black Mirror (based from Netflix) we enter a different style of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence was able to learn from Martha’s husband and learned how to reenact Ash (husband) through his previous online connectivity like social media. The artificial intelligence in this episode was so advance that Martha could add more data and allow her AI husband be more accurate to the real thing as we all know in the real world AI takes years to actually make changes and replicate life better.

  • Machine learning is present in three different parts in this episode. The first was when the system used Ash’s old texts and emails to send Martha messages that were typed in the style that Ash used to send messages. The second was when the system used recorded calls to mimic both Ash’s voice and the words he would normally use. The third way was when the robot used videos of Ash to learn how Ash used to act and carry himself.

  • Firstly, Ai was used to understand communication and form responses. Then that Ai was able to adapt its speech to mimic how Ash had talked. Later on, when the Ai becomes an android(Cybrog?) He is able to adapt his body to conform to what Martha wanted. He learned physical motor skills. Imagine creating a robot capable of balancing a tray of food while running around tables. Not excessively difficult for a human, but insane for a robot. Developing instinctual movements is a great sign of advancment. Sadly, Ash 2.0 is not capable of emotions and had to be qued to fake certain emotions.

  • It is very unnerving to think what a machine can learn about a human being and be as good at impersonating one….It will be a strange world when one won’t be able to distinguish IA from a human being. This topic was explored by many, starting from Star Trek, works of Isaac Asimov, scientific theories and many TV shows and movies.

  • The episode used AI when Martha’s boyfriend died. The AI was able to learn how he spoke and what speech patterns he used. I found it a little creepy during the phone call with the AI but that shows what technology could potentially do.

  • They used machine learning to create artificial intelligence of dead people. Eventually once you post enough on the internet, software can create you through what you post. I think it is a little messed up that someone would think it is a healthy idea. A lot of people only post happy things and studies have shown it makes people more depressed when they look at their friends feed.

  • Machine learning is present in this episode from the very beginning. The way the service learns from Ash’s old text messages is the biggest example. Taking in information to piece together a personality and speech pattern isn’t something that’s necessarily out of our grasp in the present. I think the powerful climax of the episode is an interesting example as well. (When Ash 2.0 quickly changes its mind about sacrificing itself as Martha states Ash 1.0 wouldn’t have obeyed the request is a big example of super quick machine learning).

    That being said I’m super glad that this episode DIDN’T go where I was expecting it to go. I’ve only seen two episodes before this, and both were horror episodes. I’m so exhausted with malicious AI stories (Terminator came out in 1984 people, its time to let go). AI is one of my big interests in my major and I’ve been involved in writing a few and none have tried to kill me (yet). 🙂

  • The episode was interesting but scary at the same time. It allowed Martha to have some kind of support when she missed Ash and needed him by her side while pregnant. AI was great in mimicking all the gestures and speech based on Ash’s tweets and posts. However, I was surprised that she kept the “thing” and didn’t get rid of it. Probably, she still wanted a fatherly figure for her kid. It was awesome how AI added the birthmark only by Martha touching the skin

  • Never seeing any season or episode of this show, I must say the writer has done a great job of implementing artificial intelligence throughout from the very beginning. When Ash is on his phone looking through pictures of his little brother who was decreased. The phone technology just seemed way more advance than what we use today. Also that equipment that Martha worked on was way more advanced. The most evident part was the way her friend signed for that website in order for Martha to be able to still communicate with Ash after he is deceased. The fact that she can type questions and he answered based on trends from all of his social media accounts. Taking words and posts from his trends to create an actual response on his behalf making him seem real. I must say I was most weirded out by the fact that the phone app let her actually talk to him or a version of him. While it seems very cool and far in the future, this is all to close in our reality. The charging station for her phone is just like the new charging station for the iphone 10. This is all too real!

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