Do You Trust This Computer?

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Do You Trust This Computer? Movie Poster Image
Docu about machines taking over has scares, not solutions.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 78 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Serves as a warning about artificial intelligence becoming too intelligent, possibly resulting in humans losing jobs, freedom, privacy, and more. The movie offers no real solutions or alternatives; it's just a warning. But it's something to think and talk about.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Many of the interviewees are respected in their fields, and there's some diversity among them, but the movie doesn't really go into depth about who they all are or what they've contributed to their field. Most viewers will know Elon Musk, who has both his dark and bright sides.

Violence

Violent news footage of riots, fires, police beatings, etc. Discussion of war/weapons. Footage from R-rated action movies.

Sex
Language

A use of "f---ing," a use of "a--hole."

Consumerism

Company names mentioned: Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Do You Trust This Computer? is a documentary about the speedy rise of artificial intelligence, focusing on how quickly it has become part of our lives and how completely it has -- or will be -- taking over. The film warns viewers about the looming possibility of losing our jobs, our freedoms, our privacy, and more but offers few solutions or alternatives. The movie is more frightening than informative, but for many viewers, it will be interesting and effective. Expect a few violent news clips of fires, riots, and police beatings, as well as brief images from R-rated movies (Terminator 2, etc.). Language includes a use of "f---ing" and a use of "a--hole." Brand names like Google, Amazon, and Facebook are frequently mentioned.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLousie M. August 16, 2018

Do you trust this computer? Parent Guide

Helps people understand that advancing technology could probably cause risks.
Adult Written byeroark August 31, 2018

AI will eventually destroy the world

Do You Trust This Computer? is a spell binding documentary telling the tale of the rise of AI and what it could do to the human race and industries. As they st... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In DO YOU TRUST THIS COMPUTER? experts discuss the wide-ranging impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and the possible downsides to its meteoric rise. Google, for example, no longer simply provides search results; it catalogs each user's searches and guesses their preferences. Today, computers are used in war and in medicine, and computers have even beaten humans at complicated games like chess and Go. The film discusses AI's involvement in Facebook and "fake news" feeds and its possible role in elections. One interviewee warns that AI could become something like an immortal dictator, from under which we can never escape. Another says that we're a slave to the technology "because we can't go back."

Is it any good?

This documentary covers a wide array of examples of the potentially scary downside of artificial intelligence, none particularly in depth but with enough ingenuity to cause alarm. Director Chris Paine (Who Killed the Electric Car?) jumps back and forth between an array of experts, including Elon Musk, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times technology journalist John Markoff, and filmmaker Jonathan Nolan (Memento, Westworld, etc.), capturing moments of both wonder and horror. Robots do incredible things, but they quickly surpass what they were intended to do. Do You Trust This Computer?'s picture occasionally twitches and glitches out to illustrate how scary these things are.

For example: A machine that helps a doctor with routine surgeries seems amazing ... until the doctor admits that he can't remember how to do the surgery himself. And a lifelike robot seems amazing ... until it suddenly seems creepy. To underline its point, the movie includes a wealth of footage from movies that have warned us about computers taking over the world, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Terminator 2, The Matrix, and Ex Machina. It's all quite frightening, almost gleefully so, but the movie doesn't offer solutions to balance out the fear, nor does it offer any kind of positive upswing. If you see this film and the machines do eventually take over, your only satisfaction will be a spirited "I told you so."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Do You Trust This Computer?'s use of violence. How do the news images and movie clips heighten the tension of the movie's message?

  • Do you agree with the movie? Do you believe that computers will eventually take over? Did watching make you more concerned about your privacy?

  • Did the movie scare you? What's the appeal of "doom and gloom" documentaries?

  • What, if anything, does the movie recommend doing about the situation it describes? What do you think you can do?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love documentaries

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate