The best movies about artificial intelligence include 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Her, and Ex Machina
For years, films that revolve around artificial intelligence have been a staple in movie theaters across the country. Although they have the ability to captivate audiences, they also have the ability to scare these same audiences with their ability to tell a tale about sentient robots who are quite capable of not only capturing human’s unique traits, but they have also shown a propensity to feel emotions.
Artificial intelligence has made big leaps over the past two decades and a lot of it can be seen on the big screen. So, as fiction and reality get closer and closer, we thought it would be fun to take a look at the top 10 movies about artificial intelligence that will leave you thinking and wondering if the future is now.
Should we be scared of it? Should we be worried? Should we embrace it? Movies that explore artificial intelligence have given us reason to consider it all. Here they are, in no particular order.
TOP 10 MOVIES ABOUT ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
It is not a stretch to say Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was the film that was the introduction to artificial intelligence on the big screen. The 1968 film stars Keir Dullea as “Dave,” but the real star of the film is the HAL 9000, the spaceship’s onboard computer with a human personality. The story follows a small group of astronauts embarking on a mission to Jupiter to try to determine just what an alien monolith represents.
As the crew reaches their destination, they begin to discover that HAL is starting to think for himself. Yes, he is following his programming, though as we get further into the film, it appears that his programming is simply showing him the best way to complete the mission.
When HAL finally tells Dave, “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that,” we finally get to see that HAL’s AI is fully engaged. The showdown between humans and the spaceship’s intelligent system is on.
Blade Runner (1982)
Before we jump into the artificial intelligence implications, let’s first recognize that Blade Runner is one the very best science fiction films put on the big screen. Ridley Scott brings Blade Runner to life in a film that stars Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, a burned-out cop in the future who has been tasked to hunt down replicants, which are synthetic humans.
Blade Runner is a great example of artificial intelligence and how these “replicants” can be so human-like. They look, speak, and act much like humans, so much so that the only way they can be told apart from a human is by administering a specific test that is designed for that purpose. AI has never looked so human.
How does one get attached when there isn’t a real person to get attached to? Her stars Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly who finds himself becoming attached to his artificially intelligent virtual assistant (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). As Twombly, Phoenix is a lonely, depressed man, introverted, who has a job as a professional writer who pens personal letters for those who can’t for themselves.
When Twombly purchases an upgrade to his computer’s operating system, included with it is a virtual assistant with artificial intelligence. The system is designed to adapt, grow, and evolve the more he uses it. Twombly decides to give his new virtual assistant a female voice and call her Samantha and as she evolves, he finds himself bonding with her.
Ex Machina (2014)
Ex Machina stars Domhnall Gleeson as Caleb Smith, a programmer with a large Internet company. When Smith wins a company contest, his prize is spending a week at his brilliant CEO, Nathan Bateman’s (Oscar Isaac), private estate. Upon his arrival, Smith finds out that he is there to be part of a test to determine the ultimate capabilities of Ava, the beautiful artificial intelligent robot.
As the testing moves further along, Smith begins to realize that Ava is much more than a simple robot and that her AI is rapidly advancing. She is becoming more self-aware than either he or Bateman realized. She is also becoming very lethal.
The Matrix (1999)
Talk about a mind-blowing experience. The Matrix hit theaters over 20 years ago, challenging Thomas Anderson, aka Neo (Keanu Reeves), to take the red pill or the blue pill. The blue pill would cause Neo to forget everything and return to his life without any worry. Taking the red pill, though, would show Neo everything, including the truth about humans living in the Matrix.
The Matrix is the simulated reality that artificially intelligent machines have created while also using human bodies as their energy source. Neo, with the help of Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne), rebelled against the Matrix. The film spawned three more sequels.
If you do not know what WALL-E stands for, let us help. WALL-E is short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class. These robots are on Earth to clean up the trash left behind by humans. Although most movies that have to do with artificial intelligence typically have some type of human interaction, this Pixar gem tells the story of one robot who has the ability to think, react, and show emotion as he tries to interact with other robots.
WALL-E is fully content to do the job he was built for – cleaning up Earth. For hundreds of years, he does the same thing over and over, but over this time, he begins to develop a personality and realizes he is a lonely bot. Enter EVE, a robot probe sent to Earth to scan what the planet may have to offer. Sparks fly as WALL-E has found his dream bot.
The Terminator (1984)
James Cameron brought artificial intelligence to life in 1984’s hit film, The Terminator, and in doing so, not only made a massive star out of Arnold Schwarzenegger but probably gave a reason why so many today are very wary of artificial intelligence. Who wants to be hunted down by something that can’t be killed?
Arnie and Cameron showed the world just what could happen with AI if given the opportunity. They can be programmed, but they can also think for themselves. They can be relentless in the pursuit of their end goal.
AI: Artificial Intelligence (2001)
He just wants to be loved and that is how his artificial intelligence is programmed. Steven Spielberg picked up where Stanley Kubrick had wanted to go when Spielberg took on Brian Aldiss’s short story, Super-Toys Last All Summer Long.
The project ended up becoming A.I. Artificial Intelligence, a film about David (Haley Joel Osment), an artificially intelligent boy who is brought into a family to help them with the loss of a son who has contracted a rare disease and is now in suspended animation.
David fills the void for a while, but because of artificial intelligence and a series of circumstances, David decides to take a journey to discover who and what he truly is.
Johnny Depp stars as Will Caster, a computer scientist who becomes the world’s first artificial intelligence specimen after a terrorist group poisons him and is given less than a month to live. His wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), comes up with a way to upload Will’s consciousness into a quantum computer and while his body dies, Will’s mind lives on in the computer.
With Will still able to communicate, he wants to be connected to the internet so he can gain as much knowledge as possible. But is Will truly Will now? When Evelyn realizes that Will can now tap into other humans, she finally realizes Will’s motives may be something else altogether.
The Bicentennial Man (1999)
Leave it up to the late Robin Williams to create a non-violent story about artificial intelligence. But also leave it up to Williams to give some heart and humor to his artificially intelligent robot named Andrew. When we first meet Andrew, he is visually a robot. He comes to the Martin home as a servant, performing housework and any maintenance that is necessary.
As Andrew becomes more familiar with the Martins, he discovers that he has emotions. As time goes on and Andrew’s AI continues to advance, he decides he wants to look like a human and not a robot. Little by little, Andrew finds ways to make this happen until he gets to the point where he wants his creator to replace his artificial fluids with those of humans.
The Bicentennial Man is based on the Isaac Asimov/Robert Silverberg novel, The Positronic Man, and offers a serious look at humanity, love, sex, and mortality, while also offering genuine smiles along the way.