‘Unknown: Killer Robots’ (2023) Review: Gives A Cautionary Message About The Future Of AI

Netflix has brought forth a thought-provoking documentary titled Unknown: Killer Robots, which provides a chilling depiction of the pervasive use of AI technology in military industries, research, and studies. While AI offers numerous useful functions and advancements, it also carries with it the potential for unintended consequences and adverse effects, including the potential for the harm and loss of human life.


In the documentary, the filmmakers highlight the dual nature of AI’s presence in our lives. On the one hand, AI has become a mundane and integral part of our daily routines. From voice assistants that help us manage our schedules to personalized recommendation algorithms that suggest movies and products, AI is deeply embedded in our digital interactions.

However, Unknown: Killer Robots unveils the darker side of AI’s intrusion into our lives, particularly in the context of war. The documentary explores how military technologists have eagerly embraced AI to enhance their operational capabilities. The advancements made in autonomous aircraft, guided by AI, have the potential to revolutionize military aviation. These AI-powered systems can analyze vast amounts of data, adapt to dynamic situations, and execute complex missions with reduced human intervention.


Former Navy SEAL and co-founder of the company ShieldAI, Brandon Tseng, a key figure in the documentary as well as in the implementation of AI technology in the military, divulges his experiences and insights into the thriving AI technology within military agencies. Brandon provides firsthand accounts of how AI has transformed military operations and of the potential risks associated with its adoption. Several other scientists and technologists are seen working on creating these artificial intelligence bots. Simulation plays a vital role in the development and training of AI bots. By creating virtual environments that replicate real-life scenarios, researchers can expose AI bots to a wide range of situations and gather valuable data on their performance. Simulations enable AI bots to learn from various scenarios, allowing them to make better-informed decisions and respond appropriately in different contexts.

Furthermore, the film explores how AI technology can be utilized to protect against the foreign threats. The military’s adoption of AI in military industries aims to leverage its capabilities to enhance defense and safeguard national security. By employing AI-powered systems, military strategists aim to gain an edge over adversaries and ensure the safety of their forces. The emphasizes that AI technology, as it becomes more advanced and autonomous, raises important questions about its outcomes and implications. The fear of AI becoming a “killing machine” is a genuine concern, as it lacks the ability to comprehend the ethical implications of its actions and decisions.


One of the central themes explored in the documentary is the concern surrounding autonomous AI systems making life-or-death decisions. As AI becomes more capable and independent, questions arise regarding accountability, transparency, and the potential for unpredictable behaviors. In contrast to the portrayal of AI in popular culture, Unknown: Killer Robots skillfully highlights the distinction between real-life AI and the often fantastical depictions seen in movies and fantasy dramas. While fictional narratives often depict AI as human-like beings with consciousness and emotions, the documentary presents a more accurate representation of AI as a machine-like technology driven by data analysis. In popular culture, movies like Ex Machina or Blade Runner often showcase AI entities that possess human-like traits, engage in complex emotional relationships, and exhibit a level of autonomy that surpasses their programming. While these portrayals make for captivating storytelling, they tend to blur the lines between science fiction and reality.

The film reminds us that AI, in its current state, lacks the subjective thinking and consciousness attributed to human beings. It does not possess desires, intentions, or an inherent understanding of morality. The future possibilities and implications prompt us to question the path we are taking and encourage us to approach AI technology with critical thinking and ethical considerations. The scientists, technologists, researchers, and engineers involved in the development of AI are keenly aware of the potential risks and strive to make AI technology safer. Their focus is on minimizing the potential adverse effects and ensuring the responsible use of AI in various domains. These professionals dedicate their expertise and efforts to implementing safeguards and ethical considerations in AI systems. They work on developing algorithms, designing fail-safe mechanisms, and implementing rigorous testing and validation processes.


Unknown: Killer Robots skillfully captures and presents a range of minute yet intriguing details throughout the film, offering a balanced perspective on the benefits and potentially harmful effects of AI. While the first half of Unknown: Killer Robots may seem less cinematic, it serves a purpose by setting the foundation of the subject matter. By presenting a factual overview of AI’s integration in various industries, the film establishes the context and an understanding of AI’s prevalence in our lives. This approach allows us to understand the broader implications of AI technology before delving into the complexities and potential consequences associated with its use in warfare industries.

As the documentary progresses into its second half, it successfully engages and holds the attention of viewers. It delves into the complexities surrounding AI’s presence in warfare industries, research, and studies, raising thought-provoking questions about the ethical implications of relying on autonomous AI systems. The documentary presents a compelling narrative by interweaving expert interviews, real-life examples, and visuals that depict the advancements and potential risks associated with AI. Overall, Unknown: Killer Robots stands as a call to action, urging us to embrace the potential of AI while remaining vigilant, responsible, and committed to the ethical use of this powerful technology. It reminds us that as we shape the future, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that AI serves as a tool for progress, innovation, and the betterment of humanity.


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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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Overall, Unknown: Killer Robots stands as a call to action, urging us to embrace the potential of AI while remaining vigilant, responsible, and committed to the ethical use of this powerful technology.'Unknown: Killer Robots' (2023) Review: Gives A Cautionary Message About The Future Of AI