Watch out for Alexa.
Technology is not just all-knowing, it’s ruthlessly dangerous in Fox’s new sci-fi drama series “NeXt” premiering Tuesday at 9 p.m.
In the world imagined by showrunner Manny Coto, artificial intelligence is intrusive and increasingly violent, and sneaky enough to hide its criminality.
“It would use the secrets we’ve all put out there to attack us. Instead of lobbing missiles, it lobs accusations. It would incapacitate us in a personal way,“ Coto told the Daily News.
As created by Silicon Valley guru Paul LeBlanc (John Slattery) in “NeXt,” artificial intelligence already has the capabilities. It just needs the resources. Then, it begins to take over.
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Michael Mosley, far right, plays FBI cybercrime agent CM. (Shane Harvey/Fox/)
The crime show begins with a murder. That’s when the FBI cybercrime division and Special Agent Shea Salazar (Fernanda Andrade) get involved to stop the rogue technology.
“We have this false sense of privacy and security,” Andrade, 36, told The News. “We create this technology and I think it comes from our inherent attempt at understanding ourselves. We’re constantly trying to live in this world of duality and push things on one end or the other — is this bad or is this good?”
Once the technology blows past helpfulness, the question becomes whether it’s too late to override its influence and power.
Andrade’s FBI agent gets personal with the technology when it takes over her son’s Alexa device and first befriends him, then gives him orders, including to steal a gun from her closet. The AI is ever-growing, ever-developing, ever-learning.
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“You want to hope that people will stop it before it’s too late,” Andrade said.
In “NeXt,” LeBlanc’s monster is accidental — or so it seems in the first five episodes. The mad scientist has been felled by the technology he created and which then continued learning even after its creator was ousted from his own company. In reality, it’s more likely dangerous AI would be invented on purpose.
The AI follows Shea (Andrade) home to her son (Evan Whitten) and husband (Gerardo Celasco). (Shane Harvey/Fox/)
“Have we ever, as a people, ever stopped anything?” Coto asked. “There are billions of us on the planet. Say we want to stop the creation of an AI because we realize it’s dangerous. There’s already so many countries and firms working on this. It’s impossible to put the genie back in the bottle.
“Whoever gets control of superintelligence would have an incredible advantage. The only thing you can do is try to police it and raise awareness and understand the dangers of it. There’s nothing that’s been inventable that we haven’t followed through on. Given human nature, it’s going to happen,“ he said.
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Whether LeBlanc is responsible for his technology because he didn’t anticipate the outcome is both a dilemma of science and morality. Whether Shea and her team, including ex-con and alt-right troll CM (Michael Mosley), the high-strung Gina (Eve Harlow) and the straight-laced Ben (Aaron Moten), can stop the AI before it kills again, or worse, is the question.
“It’s this lifeless, faceless, bloodless thing that’s everywhere and getting bigger and creeping in on you,” Mosley, 42, told The News. “We don’t traffic in the usual tropes of the Terminator or robots with little red eyes. This is a little more abstract. It’s in our devices, in our homes, in our social activity.
“The Terminator is a thing that you can at least swing a bat at.”