The fifth episode of Tom Rob Smith’s Class of ’09 showcases one of the greatest fears of the modern age, coming true in the future. In this episode, AI becomes a sentient entity that begins deciding people’s fate based on its black-and-white notions. Similar to the binary system of a computer, the AI views crime as 0 or 1 and punishes anyone it deems guilty. In the previous episode, Mark Tupirik’s terrorist plot caused the FBI building to collapse in 2023, and as a response, the AI that detects criminals was invented. However, the AI majorly malfunctions in the future, and here’s how everything falls apart in this episode.
After passing their firearms test, the Class of ’09 is taken on a trip to see Dr. King’s home, where Tayo is dazzled by the tour guide and advocate, Vivienne McMann. She echoes his feelings about the injustices against people of color and other minorities, and throughout the tour, they steal glances at each other. As their bus is about to depart, Tayo asks for a few minutes and asks Vivienne out on a date. She’s the same woman whom Tupirik’s men attacked in the third episode, so it’s clear that the two dated and eventually got married.
Did Poet And Lennix Survive The Collapse Of The FBI Building?
Poet and Lennix survive the crash of the FBI building, but Poet is blinded in one eye, while Lennix’s right forearm is crushed. This explains the bionic devices they will install in their bodies in the future, but Poet is taken aback when Lennix professes his love for her while they’re stuck under the rubble. However, after getting a mechanical arm, Lennix returns home to find that his wife has left him. He calls Poet, but he also claims that he doesn’t remember what he had said that day under the rubble. Therefore, the two haven’t gotten back together, even in the future.
How Do Tayo’s Prejudices Impact His Profession?
When one’s own prejudices get in the way of their professional life, they end up endangering not only the ethics of the workplace but also the people around them. Tayo Michaels let his prejudices against the ones who treat minorities unfairly, run amok. He had no way of knowing how bad the system would be in the future, but for now, he lobbied for it as much as possible. However, he was turned down before the Senate as well as by the FBI director, and Tayo took the matter especially hard, because both times, his suggestions were denied by older white men. He considered that this was a systemic way of keeping people like him suppressed and not allowing everyone to have equality before the law.
As a result, Tayo met with a billionaire named Amos Garcia, who’d made his fortune by creating a deep-learning AI that could predict people’s shopping choices, and suggested using it to predict criminal behavior instead. Amos showed up at Tayo’s place a few days later with the possibility his AI could offer, where instead of the usual suspects, the entire country would be viewed as suspects. Only an agent would be able to convict the ones they suspect the most, thereby giving human input priority. This would be a system where everyone would finally be equal before the law and nobody would escape if they committed crimes. However, Amos’s arrival happened after the mass killings had already happened at a synagogue a few days earlier.
What Happened At The Synagogue?
Hour Nazari and Tayo watched from their surveillance sector as two terrorists, holding the members of a synagogue hostage, wanted water to be delivered for the victims. After the water was delivered, Tayo advised the sniper team to eliminate the threats, and soon afterwards, the hostages were rescued. However, moments after stepping out, one by one, they all collapsed and died. The water had been laced with arsenic, and the people had been dehydrated. This was a terrorist plot, and after scouring a humongous load of data, Tayo learned that the terrorists were gamers who’d discussed poisoning drinking water as a more effective way to kill people. It wasn’t possible for Hour’s system to scour the entire world’s online data to pinpoint the one with criminal intent, but Amos’s AI could achieve the impossible. However, neither of them knew what was to become of this AI if it was allowed to run by itself.
How Does The AI Wreak Havoc In The Future?
It’s 2034, and Poet, Lennix, Hour, and another graduate from their class are arrested one by one by agents working for Tayo. He enters the room and lets them know this is their final warning. Trying to go against the system will land them in prison without exception. This shows Tayo has gone blind in his pursuit to put an AI on a pedestal over humans, because he’s convinced that all people are bad. He’s been hardwired this way because he was a victim of racism in the past. His fellow graduates are released, and they decide to meet the senator, who’s presenting her case before the judge at the moment. The judge is none other than Tayo’s ex-wife, Vivienne, and she’s insistent that she trusts her former husband and knows he won’t let any harm befall anyone because of the AI.
What Does Tayo Know About The System?
Poet and the others want to show Tayo that the system he’s hell-bent on protecting is a blind and vengeful entity that doesn’t use the salient feature of humanity—conscience. Instead, it views any human who doesn’t comply with its directives as a threat and takes them down, something Poet had argued against during their firearms assessment test. The team heads to a church where they meet the senator, but soon the bureau’s surveillance drones follow them. Father Smith hides the others behind a closed door and warns the drones not to enter the sacred space of the church, but the tools smash through the tinted glass as the Father arms himself with a metal stick. Tayo bursts into the surveillance room and tries to shut down the device, but by now, it’s acting on its own. It identifies the priest as a threat because he’s protesting against the church’s sanctity being transgressed and tasers him. Tayo wonders why his ‘child’ of sorts didn’t follow his commands as the episode draws to a close.
Remember Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 2, starring Tobey Maguire and Alfred Molina, where Doctor Octopus’s mechanical pincers started acting by themselves, as if they had a mind of their own? The same happens in the fifth episode of Class of ’09, because by now, Amos Garcia’s AI is no longer a mechanical tool that can be operated by pressing buttons. Now, it’s got a mind of its own, and it’ll act as it sees fit and dish out punishment accordingly. This is the future many are terrified of, where human judgment is replaced by that of AI, and the worst thing is that the latter doesn’t judge. It’ll gun down a mother trying to protect her infant if she has a weapon on her because the AI considers the weapon to be a threat, not taking into the consideration the reason she has to use it. This is what Tayo’s indulgence and prejudice against people have led to. He hated humans so much that now he’s got no option but to watch as the AI he nurtured takes down innocent civilians. Does he come to his senses and try stopping the AI from causing further damage? We’ll have to wait until next week to find out.