The pandemic has pushed many of us to up our TV-watching game, and for me that means revisiting old movies. Recently, my channel-surfing led me to War Games, a 1983 classic starring Ally Sheedy and Matthew Broderick.
In case you are too young to know the plot, and many of you are, the story follows a teenage boy who unknowingly, and through dial up, hacks into a military central computer. The computer asks, “Shall we play a game?” Not realizing the consequences, Matthew’s character, David, thinks it would be funny to choose the game “Thermal Nuclear War”. He quickly learns that the computer is programmed with artificial intelligence to help him learn, but the twist is it is also programmed to win at all cost, which results in the potential of the end of the world.
While not the first movie to take on artificial intelligence, War Games might be the first time I contemplated machine learning, and the concept of a computer making decisions outside of human intervention. As I watched it this time, with my experience as a contact center veteran under my belt, I was reminded that there is a central truth to the movie that still holds true: AI is only as good as the training it is given by a human.
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