The conventional wisdom over the past few years is that, while we weren’t looking, the ’50s utopian sci-fi dream of a robot and AI-assisted future has started to look increasingly like a reality. We regularly marvel over the work of Boston Dynamics, which makes frighteningly limber, strong, adaptive robots that could do wonders in factories and other industrial settings, as well as the machine-learning algorithms in use at Google and Facebook, which can actively teach themselves to get better at identifying objects, translating languages, and generally replicating the thought patterns of humans. That they will someday rise up to destroy us is an understood subtext of the whole thing.
Normally, the best way to get to know this exciting and terrifying technology is through enormous thinkpieces, but TechCrunch opted, instead, to send comedian Judah Friedlander to explore the topic. (It was produced for them by Onion Studios, the long-form content development arm of Onion Inc., but we swear we’re not biased.) Across eight episodes, Judah Vs The Machines explores recent advances in AI with a delightfully droll antagonism, puncturing Silicon Valley pretension as well as, say, Silicon Valley itself. While getting a tour of Facebook’s palatial HQ, for example, he spends most of the time wandering off in search of free food; the episode about the shopping app Operator is calling “Judah vs shopping app thing,” a tone from which he never strays. His aim is solely to represent humanity in the early stages of our war against the machines.
You can watch a trailer for the series here:
All eight episodes are available over on TechCrunch’s site here. They’re a quick, funny way to better understand our impending robot overlords, if Friedlander can’t stop them first.