Raleigh Company Provides AI Expertise in New Netflix Docu

New Netflix docu about the dangers of AI feats Raleigh company

“How would a robot know the difference between what’s legal and what’s right?” So asks the riveting new Netflix docu Unknown: Killer Robots. The documentary—which features Raleigh-based company Collaborations Pharmaceuticals Inc—started streaming July 10, and its chilling and timely investigation digs into the dangers of AI and the harmful consequences it can have when used in military application. Translation: Should a machine make a decision between a person’s life or death? 

“In our case, we were not aware of how AI could be so easily used to design toxic molecules,” says Sean Ekins, CEO at Collaborations Pharmaceuticals Inc. “If we could misuse AI in our domain of expertise, I cannot imagine just how easy it would be to find other dual uses for the technology elsewhere. AI is a double-edged sword!”

After a talk on the subject at the 2021 Convergence conference, Ekins, along with Collaborations’ Associate Director Fabio Urbina and a few other experts, teamed up to publish a paper about how AI could be misused for the design of biochemical weapons. The most spine-chilling part? This isn’t a plotline from The Matrix… it’s real life. 

The paper soon went viral and garnered media—and eventually Netflix’s—attention, leading to Collaboration filming with Netflix for the feature four times throughout the span of six months.

“As far as our role/representation in the documentary, we will find out along with everyone else when it is released,” says Aaron Oliver, Collaborations’ business development manager ahead of Unknown: Killer Robots launch. Adds Ekins: “I can’t wait to see it.” Tune in to find out for yourself: Will “these nerds kill us all?” netflix.com

Sean Ekins, CEO at Collaborations Pharmaceuticals Inc.; photo courtesy of Collaborations Pharmaceuticals Inc

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.