What’s your Favorite Data Science-Based TV-Shows?
Picture this – a humanoid approaches you in a dimly-lit street with the stars blinking above. It’s a cool, breezy evening but the humanoid has all your attention – it’s approaching you with a glint in its eye. How do you respond? Will you stand your ground and greet it or throw all caution to the wind and run the other way?
This plot might have sounded outlandish a decade ago but it’s taken an entirely new meaning in 2020. We have witnessed incredible progress in data science and science fiction scripts don’t feel so alien anymore. A humanoid holding a perfectly normal conversation with a human? Been there, done that (hello GPT-3!).
But here’s the thing – TV shows continue to produce mind-blowing content when it comes to the use of data science. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes Westworld with its Emmy-winning story and a dazzling array of AI-powered characters.
These TV shows are not just gripping, they show us a world we might inhibit in the next few decades. In this article, I have put together a list of 10 classic data science based TV-shows that show us a whole new world.
If you feel I missed out on a classic TV show, drop your favorite in the comments section below and I’ll update the list!
I had to put this series at the top. Westworld is one of those TV series that will make your head spin. On the outside, Westworld is a futuristic theme park with human-like androids- Hosts. It is a place where people come to live their wildest fantasies. An unavoidable dream for anyone! But it is the secrets behind the scenes that really put a feather to the story-telling.
The story moves from the founders of the theme park wanting their smart hosts to achieve Sentience, to the discovery of extensive data storage of the visitors at multiple Westworld theme parks. Then the story moves to the real world where we discover how an intelligent machine named Rehoboam is controlling the lives of human beings by using past data and defining a definite path for them. Hence, ensuring absolute control.
It’s easily the most advanced series when it comes to depicting data science on screen. This is an unmissable TV series.
This, by the way, is a classic example of computer vision in action.
2. Silicon Valley
This is a must-watch series for any data geek. Silicon Valley starts as a series where the protagonist is trying to create a product called Pied-Piper that compresses files using machine learning. Inevitably, the series then shifts to Pied-Piper being the world’s first decentralized internet where people’s data cannot be unnecessarily collected and used.
I loved the series for its simple explanation of the technology and the comic timing.
From a data science perspective, the series highlights the problems of present-day norms of data collection on the internet, the need for a decentralized internet, and how various concepts of data science and machine learning are used to create Pied-Piper’s internet. The series also gives you an insight into entrepreneurship, toxic competition, and the sacrifices required to make such products.
3. Altered Carbon
Altered Carbon is a cyberpunk web series on Netflix. It explores the concept of infinite life where you can digitize your consciousness and live multiple lifetimes by transferring it to another body. It is about a soldier from a rebel group named Takeshi Kovacs who is brought back to life after being in storage for more than 250 years.
From an Artificial Intelligence hotel to AI Unions, the show reeks of the imagination of a potential life where AI is the determinant of one’s life. It triggered my imagination on what to expect from the future and how deep the amalgamation of AI and humanity is going to be.
4. Mr. Robot
This is one of the most complex data science based TV-shows I have ever seen. The story is told through the eyes of the protagonist, Elliot. He is a cyber-security engineer at day and turns into a vigilante hacker by night attacking the very firm he works for.
Mr. Robot is amongst the popular series that talks about the growing power of digital information and its vulnerabilities. Cyber-Security still remains a concern for many companies. Also, the show elaborates on the rising dominance of data and technology.
Quite a title for a data-science based show! Humans gives you a glimpse into the social, psychological, and cultural impact of robots, whom we refer to as ‘synths’. Set in a parallel present, synths are the must-have gadgets in every household now. These advanced robots are not merely made for cleaning or any mundane jobs but for regular human tasks.
That’s right – this is AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) in action!
In the hope of transforming the way they live, one strained suburban family purchases a refurbished synth only to discover that sharing life with a machine has far-reaching and chilling consequences. It serves as a good show with human emotions that intervene with smart robots.
6. Person of Interest
This might be the most viewed data science-based TV series after Westworld. And with good reason!
A mysterious billionaire software engineer creates designs a machine – “the Machine” for the government. It is capable of collating all the information and then predict a terrorist attack accordingly. But the government ignores The Machine’s ability to predict other crimes that it considers irrelevant. So the engineer teams up with a presumed-dead CIA Agent to investigate the Person of Interest identified by the machine.
This TV series perfectly justifies the increased usage of AI systems. Furthermore, a thing to not miss is the advanced facial recognition that the machine showcases. Also, the show sheds light on the ethics of privacy and the potential risks of Artificial Intelligence achieving sentience.
7. Black Mirror
Black Mirror is a dystopian science fiction anthology series that illustrates modern society, showing the unpredictable consequences of excessive reliance on technology. From robots getting to know human emotions and influencing them to access to the digital afterlife, Black Mirror is trying to show all the possible technologies that can be developed with AI and then portraying its dark side.
Additionally, Black Mirror intelligently describes the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) where devices are connected with a human’s everyday routine. Also, it shows how social media, data, and the internet is affecting human life.
8. Weird City
Weird City shows the near future where the rich and poor are divided by a border wall. The “Haves” live “Above the Line,” in a clean, bustling metropolis filled with advanced technology and plenty of opportunities, and the “Have Nots” live on the other side of the wall, “Below the Line,” where the money is tight.
The technology showed in “Above the Line” includes luxurious homes controlled by artistic AI, automated personal assistants, etc. The show truly made me wonder what all lies in the future for humanity and technology and whether it will lead to the division of society.
This classic TV series follows an FBI agent and his brother, a college mathematics professor, and prodigy who helps his brother solve cases by providing some mathematical insights which always turn out to be crucial in solving the crimes.
Math is a natural language to communicate directly with us. If you find mathematics interesting, you just cannot miss this. Additionally, the show aptly describes the impact of mathematics around us. Even petals of a flower follow mathematics!
10. Battlestar Gallactica
Classic science fiction here. Battlestar Galactic is a human battleship in deep space. The ship is fleeing a relentless attack to wipe humanity implemented by their own AI-Cylons. With the final 50,000 humans aboard, they are going to the 13th Colony of Earth.
This is a wonderful sci-fi series that shows the furious battle between humans and robots, exposing the dark side of humans and the human side of robots. In the real world, this is a consistent threat to humans. The show really made me think about the effects of Artificial Intelligence turning nasty towards its creators.
TV-Shows are a great way to display your imagination and storytelling prowess in detail. To conclude, in this article, I discussed the top data science-based tv-shows that the data scientists should not miss at any cost. By no means is this list an exhaustive one. Please feel free to add more to this list.
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Do share your experience of how the above data science-based tv-shows triggered your imagination.