Artificial intelligence is on a lot of people’s minds lately, and some people are quite worried about AI. It makes sense, given that we have machines that can play Super Mario, cars that drive themselves, and even the beginnings of AI sex dolls.
Hollywood has released a lot of great movies exploring the issues of AI over the years, though filmmakers attitudes to artificial intelligence have varied wildly over the decades. Regardless, here are 10 of the best movies about AI we recommend you move Heaven and Earth to see.
Alex Garland’s 2015 thriller is my personal favorite in this category. A programmer at Bluebook (a fictional amalgam of Facebook and Google) is chosen by lottery to spend a weekend at his reclusive boss’s mountain house. When there, he’s tasked with determining whether or not Ava — a beautiful robot with advanced AI — passes the Turing Test.
Phenomenal performances by Domnhall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander drive this gripping thriller that forces viewers to take a deeper look at the implications of creating true artificial intelligence.
HAL 9000 is one of the most iconic characters in film history, despite his almost total lack of physical form. HAL’s actions on the ship Discovery One reveal some of the interesting issues that may arise if humans were to create artificial intelligence and give it a mission; there’s no telling how the machine would reason through meeting its directives.
As one of the most influential sci-fi movies of all time, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 is an absolute must-see no matter what kind of science you’re interested in… but it’ll give you an especially large amount of things to think about if you’re into AI.
The Cold War brought about a lot of technological advances, and WarGames explores what might have happened if artificial intelligence was one of them. The War Operation Plan Response (WOPR) supercomputer is accessed by a young hacker, triggering the computer’s simulation of nuclear war. A race then ensues to stop the computer before it actually starts World War III.
How can we teach a computer the difference between a simulation and reality? This is one of the core issues of WarGames, and makes for a truly thought-provoking film.
Less terrifying than the previous movies on this list, Her focuses more on the effect an artificial intelligence could have on human emotions. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a man who falls in love with an artificial-intelligence-powered operating system named Samantha, and the film explores the sorts of issues this relationship might have.
Her presents a situation that, while it may seem far-fetched, may be something that we need to deal with in the not-too-distant future. And it does so in an emotional and heartfelt manner that’s missing from many other movies about AI.
After Johnny Depp’s character is given a month to live, his consciousness is uploaded into a quantum computer. Though the new artificial intelligence seems to be benevolent, its actions raise a number of moral questions, ultimately forcing the other characters to examine their motives and their repercussions.
Although it wasn’t well-received by critics, Transcendence asks a very challenging question of AI: what happens if a machine’s intelligence isn’t created by programmers, but transferred there from a real human mind? And what power might a true AI bring to bear on the world?
After putting their son into cryogenic stasis until a cure for his disease can be found, a family receives a new member: a lifelike robot boy named David. After their son wakes up, the family goes through a tumultuous time trying to find balance. Another AI movie with emotional appeal, A.I. Artificial Intelligenceexplores the relationships that could someday develop between humans and robots.
As a sort of modern-day adaptation of Pinocchio, this film brings up a lot of questions about life with artificial intelligence and what that life may have in store both for humans and the artificially intelligent beings we end up creating.
Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics have been the subject of much discussion. And although this film received lackluster reviews, it does bring up some interesting points about those laws and how they could potentially be interpreted to our detriment, despite being designed specifically to help humans and robots peacefully co-exist.
Although it shares very little in common with Asimov’s work, it does make for an entertaining action movie and will get audiences thinking about the Three Laws and why they’re more complicated than they first appear.
Although Terminator 2 is generally considered to be the best installment in the series, the third movie deals more directly with Skynet — a global artificial intelligence birthed by the Cyberdyne corporation and taken over by the Air Force — and its rise to power.
With military research driving a great deal of the advances in artificial intelligence, T3 serves as a cautionary tale. Maybe not the best one, and certainly not the most accurate, but one definitely worth watching.
One of the earlier movies to deal with artificial intelligence, Colossus leaves something to be desired when it comes to flashy technology, but it makes up for this with a great story. The American and Russian militaries create supercomputers to control their nuclear arsenals, and all goes well until the computers insist on communicating with each other. After that, humanity is in trouble.
While connecting a military computer with a similar computer of the enemy’s might be a bit of a stretch, artificial intelligences communicating with each other is certainly within the realm of possibility. And how can we predict what they’ll say? Answer: We can’t.
Although you could argue that the replicants created in the Blade Runner universe don’t quite qualify as artificial intelligence, many of the philosophical questions at the heart of the movie transfer quite well to AI. If a replicant (or a machine) thinks, feels, and believes that it is human, who are we to say otherwise?
This is a classic movie for good reason, and has served as an influence to an entire generation of noir-cyberpunk fans. Absolutely not to be missed.
Obviously, the inclusion (or exclusion) of a film on this list is a matter of opinion. If you think you know of a better movie than one of those listed above then inform us of our mistake in the comments section below.
These 10 movies will get you thinking about artificial intelligence: its creation, maintenance, and a wide range of political, moral, and safety issues that it could bring about.
There are lots of other movies about artificial intelligence out there, and we want to know your picks for this “best AI movies” list. Share your favorites with us below, along with the reason(s) you think they deserve to be included on the list!