In the face of a century of traditional polling to predict public opinion, there is a shakeup afoot in the prediction game. Margin of Error: AI, Polling and Elections examines how a startup called Advanced Symbolics (ASI) uses artificial intelligence (AI) and public social-media data to forecast voter behaviour. But the promise of new technology also comes with questions about its accuracy, the threat to citizens’ privacy and our democracy itself.
Every one of us volunteers a huge amount of private data with virtually every Internet service we use, without reading or understanding the terms of service. This data can now be harvested by AI to accurately predict among many other things, how we will vote.
Even without surrendering personal information, the new AI algorithm Polly, developed by ASI, combs social media to build profiles of different demographics and determines their preferences.This method has already led to Polly’s success in predicting both the 2016 Trump victory and Brexit. With the 2019 Canadian federal election campaign as a real time back drop, Margin of Error puts Polly to the test revealing how an AI doesn’t just give a detailed picture of the publics voting intentions, but also how specific events can alter them.
But will knowing what our hopes and concerns are, give politicians the intel they need to respond to our needs, and lead to a “utopian” society, as ASI’s CEO Erin Kelly claims, or can this data be misused to mislead us – either by our own governments, or those of our adversaries? And should politicians even be responding to our desires, as expressed through social media?
If you’ve ever gotten separated from your child for just a few moments and remember the depth of panic that sets in, then you can begin to understand what Noreen Gosch has felt over the last 30 years since her son Johnny disappeared delivering newspapers on the morning of September 5, 1982.
More than any other missing child case, Johnny’s story has spawned countless theories and has instilled intrigue in the millions who remember the kid on the side of a milk carton. Along the way there have been mysterious sightings, strange clues, bizarre revelations and ambiguous photographs. A confrontation with a person who claims to have helped abduct Johnny paves the way to a crime scene and the possible involvement of a child abduction and prostitution ring. And then a knock on the door in the middle of the night raises as many questions as perhaps it answers..
Who Took Johnny is an examination into the infamous thirty-year-old cold case behind the disappearance of Iowa paperboy Johnny Gosch, the first missing child to appear on a milk carton. The film focuses on the heartbreaking story of Johnny’s mother, Noreen Gosch, her relentless quest to find the truth about what happened that tragic September morning when Johnny never returned from his paper route and her life since in helping others to mobilise the authorities when their children go missing.
Who Took Johnny captures the endless intrigue and conspiracy theories surrounding the eye-witness accounts, compelling evidence and emotional discoveries which span three decades of the most spellbinding missing person’s case in U.S. history.
“Timely, shocking and relentlessly compelling, documentary Who Took Johnny recounts the strange story surrounding the disappearance of paperboy Johnny Gosch, one of the original milk carton kids..Viewers with a taste for true-crime drama and plausible conspiracy theories are likely to come away wanting more, making the film a good candidate for a spin-off series. Others may cherish the ambiguity here, the way Capturing the Friedmans it allows room for debate.. despite the potentially lurid nature of the material, the film is never exploitative and a sense of compassion and respect, one untarnished by sentimentality, for victims and their families shines through throughout.”
Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
“An amazing, lunatic documentary that will leave you creeped-out, excited and surprised”
John Waters, director of Hairspray and Crybaby
Following the horrors of World War II, there was a strong desire for a better world in which peace would be maintained and human rights respected – the U.N was born. Now, more than 60 years later, the image of the UN has become severely tarnished.
International peace and security is in a perilous state, and scores of stories are flying around demonstrating that the UN and its Security Council could have done more harm than good.
Documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz takes us on a brutal tour of a number of places where the UN has intervened. Through interviews with those involved — some of whom wish to remain anonymous — and archive footage, we uncover facts about abuses and scandals surrounding UN missions and personnel.
The ‘forgotten’ shooting in Côte d’Ivoire, during which UN soldiers opened fire on unarmed demonstrators, the “Oil for Food” program in Iraq, which resulted in the wrong people reaping the benefits and the harrowing case of the UN soldiers who stood by, powerless, during the genocide in Rwanda. These are just some of the stories uncovered in what the Los Angeles Times has called ‘a scathing take down of the United Nations’.