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17 May 2018 | Filed under: ICT | Tagged: , ,

AI – how movies impacted the world & could Skynet happen?

Tony Edwards
Tony Edwards

Cost Area Lead for ICT

As it is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day and the theme for this year is around enabling the positive use of AI, I thought about how science-fiction shapes the world around us by thinking back to the films of the last few decades and some of the crazy ideas that work so well in the world of Sci-Fi, that have made an impact in real-world scenarios such as AI.

The flip communicator from the Star Trek Original Series was the inspiration for a number of Motorola mobile phones (StarTAC and Razr to name a couple). Wearable technology has boomed over recent years, not quite to the extreme of a self-drying and sizing jacket like in Back to the Future 2, but who is to say that won’t become available in the next few years?Image courtesy of

The idea of micro-chipping people that featured in films like Demolition Man was deemed quite taboo in the 90’s but in the past six months this concept has seen traction in the UK news. For example, Alex Lewis; who lost both his arms, legs and some of his face when he was diagnosed with Strep A, has had a chip the size of a grain of rice implanted under his skin to allow him to unlock his front door without a traditional key, thus giving him back some of his independence (

Moving on to Artificial Intelligence, I always seem to think of Terminator 2: Judgement Day and the battle to try and prevent Skynet becoming sentient, or KITT from Knight Rider. Obviously, these are both very different extremes and luckily (in the terminator example) fictional.

Artificial Inteligence; or the concept, at its most basic has been around since WW2 when Alan Turing conceived the theory of computation. But it wasn’t until the late 90’s that Artificial Intelligence started to gain any sort of traction when companies began using AI and basic machine learning to assist with logistics, data mining etc. Fast forward to now and anyone with a smartphone carries around some form of Artificial Intelligence interface. Siri, Digby and all of those intelligent assistants use complex algorithms that come from lengthy Artificial Intelligence research.

A survey was performed by the Boston Consulting group and MIT Sloan Management review ( and they found that out of over 3000 business execs, managers and analysts across over 100 countries and over 20 industries that 72% of respondents in the technology, media, and telecommunications industry expect AI to have a significant impact on product offerings in the next five years, while 85% say that AI will enable them to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage. Yet only 23% of them have adopted the technology.

With all of this being said, I believe that AI, Robotics and Machine Learning are very much in their infancy, but over the next 3-5 years we will see huge leaps in the applications that they can be used for, which will benefit businesses large and small and that it is a promising technology which Auditel will be following avidly.

Do I think that something like Skynet will happen, I think it is possible, but not in our or our children’s lifetime.

Auditel have written a briefing paper on AI and Robotics, which can be downloaded here. If you are interested in the micro-chipping technology mentioned at the start of this blog check out –

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