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When Sci-Fi Becomes Reality

Sci-fi fans love seeing science fiction become reality. We play the game of pointing to the latest discoveries and developments and thinking of which SF movie, book or TV show imagined it first. That sentiment is definitely evident behind the cool infographic, Times When Sci-Fi Got It (Mostly) Right, we shared recently, created by Demetrius Harrison. We chatted with Demetrius to learn a little more about his love for SF and the inspiration for the infographic.

RECURSOR: What is your interest in science and sci-fi?

DEMETRIUS HARRISON: Primary school is where I connected with my techy side. In high school, I strengthened my skills in science — conducting research to measure the successor between traditional passwords and biometric security.

I remember watching a ton of sci-fi movies with my parents when I was younger, too. My dad loved The Jetsons and Back to the Future; we used to binge-watch the trilogy as a family on weekends.

I’ve always found joy in the unknown, which is why I gravitate to science fiction. Every time society deems something unrealistic, it drives me even more, because nothing is impossible. If the human mind can imagine it, it’s possible… and we imagine a lot of things.

You’ve written for Robotics Business Review. Tell us about your interest in robotics.

My interest in robotics dates back to the seventh grade. I was a member of the after-school Student Technology Leadership Program, as well as in the Robotics Club. It was very hands-on. We designed robots out of Lego blocks, attached them to a USB, and programmed them to do simple actions like walking, dancing, and speaking. At this time, Artificial Intelligence was foreign to me, so it’s interesting AI has reconnected me with robotics all this time later, now that I write AI articles on Robotics Business Review.

What inspired the creation of the infographic, “Times When Sci-Fi Got It (Mostly) Right”?

We created this infographic to incorporate a fun, relatable approach to discussing a complicated topic. At large, people assume Artificial Intelligence equates to robots taking over the world. It’s interesting to analyze how artificial intelligence is really at our fingertips and in front of our daily lives: some good, some bad, as with all things in the world.

The infographic does a great job of highlighting both the potential benefits of scientific tech developments, and the potential hazards or dangers, the way it can be abused. What do you think about that dichotomy? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

The biggest surprise I noticed in this infographic is how the AI surveillance camera technology from Person of Interest is now helping police predict when criminals are about to strike in real life. As stated before, there are pros and cons to everything. Although I understand the purpose of this software is to recomb through possible suspects the human eye could miss, there have been several reports of Artificial Intelligence falsely identifying and mistaking civilians for criminals — further imprisoning them. 

This becomes a question of: will the court of law be as eager for your defense as they are for your prosecution? It’s a matter of quality over quantity.

Besides, this technology is so new to have already been legally admissible as an aide in policing. There is a lot of racial and gender bias that needs elimination in this particular sector of AI before we continue to rely on it as grounds for arresting people.

If you could choose the next sci-fi tech that gets made into real-life tech, what would you choose, and why?

My favorite movie of all time is MR. AND MRS. SMITH. In the film, there’s a slight use of sci-fi tech that’s easy to overlook. In the plot, both characters are unaware they have competing assassin firms. When Mr. Smith goes into his office, he uses a facial recognition scan instead of a password to log into his computer. On the other hand, Mrs. Smith has a full body scan that grants her access to the front door of her firm. Of course, I don’t want to be an assassin, but those are great AI security features I’d love to see come to life, although I’m sure they already exist somewhere out here.

What do you think about the future of AI?

Whether or not we have a great grasp on artificial intelligence right now, it’s impractical to deny or reject its existence and impact. We live in the digital era, and technology is our future. Artificial intelligence will exist in our future, down to the cameras photographing your license plate to bill you as you cross a toll bridge to the automated phone lines you call into. By 2030, something like 70% of businesses could utilize some form of AI, so it’s important we educate ourselves on the ethics of AI, so we can be the drivers of this industry rather than viewing it from the backseat.

Demetrius Harrison is the Jr. Promotions Specialist of NowSourcing, Inc and an author at Robotics Business Review as he is pursuing his B.A. in Sociology & Marketing. He describes the perfect day as one lounging in sweats, adventuring for brunch, and joyriding to music.