Most people have a very basic understanding of artificial intelligence through media and movie representations of it, even if those depictions aren’t always accurate. Despite the overblown representations of artificial intelligence in most popular media and films, these movies can often help explain the basis of the technology and some of the expected applications of it in the future. While we generally enjoy films for purely entertainment purposes, the depictions of this technology and its application within the films we watch give a good example of some of the aims and goals of these programs for the future.
A number of the most popular movie depictions of artificial intelligence show a future world in which the application of AI technology is already far greater than what it is today. While artificial intelligence can be found in nearly every aspect of our lives, these films generally explore the myths and misconceptions about the future in which robots and super-intelligent machines influence even more facets of daily life. Suspense and apprehension are a common theme in popular movies about AI, touching on the fears that many have about a world in which artificial intelligence takes over society as a whole.
Regardless of the validity of the claims in these films, the subject matter is a compelling one to explore and these media representations are not only entertaining but raise questions about our own future with artificial intelligence. Scientists and philosophers have been grappling with these questions and fears for decades, proving yet again the vast potential that lies within the advancement of the technology. The feelings and questions explored by the subject matter in films about artificial intelligence are often colored by the apprehensions of those who research and study the potential behind the scenes.
Most of the best movie representations of artificial intelligence are inspired by fiction books on the subject matter, with adaptations and screenplays often coming directly from the works themselves. Literature is the best way to educate yourself on the inner workings of this complex technological frontier as well as explore some of the best fictional representations of AI.
For some of the best in-depth works on artificial intelligence, Cool Things Chicago’s article on the 22 Best Artificial Intelligence Books to Read in 2020 will guide you in the right direction.
Below is a list of the best movie depictions of A.I. that will really impress you.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
In this 2001 Steven Spielberg film, the exploration of artificial intelligence as a replacement or substitute for emotional connection is the key theme that not only touches the hearts but also the minds of those watching. Replacing the love of a child, the robot who acts as the main character of this film develops deep and meaningful connections with his pseudo-mother, exploring the sentience that might one day be possible in artificial intelligence. As those watching the film develop an empathetic view toward this robot character, it calls into question how real artificial intelligence might one day become, leaving viewers with a complex series of thoughts to ponder.
George Orwell’s dystopian novel has been adapted to screen in a number of different forms and formats, from loose reimaginings to full-screen adaptations. The theme is a frightening one for many; a world controlled by the highest levels of society and the technology they use to control those beneath them. This classic is required reading in schools across the world and today more than ever, it seems like artificial intelligence could potentially become used in this way.
We are seeing signs of the risks that come along with artificial intelligence mirroring the theme of this classic novel turned movie. China has enacted a social currency that will blacklist individuals if the algorithm scores them too low, speaking to the real-life risks that were explored in Orwell’s text so many decades ago.
Speaking of 1984, this year brought with it James Cameron’s blockbuster hit “The Terminator” and called into question the future of AI in the world for viewers across the nation. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a giant, destructive robot that works to bring chaos and mayhem to this sci-fi infused world in which artificial intelligence begins to take away control from the humans around the planet. The phrase Skynet was coined by this film decades ago, but it has become synonymous with many of the fears people have about artificial intelligence to this day, making this film one of the best to watch in order to understand the concerns we have today.
This 1999 classic has been a favorite film for years, with scenes and quotes that are instantly recognizable the world over. The theme of the film is again exploring a fictional world in which computers have become more intelligent than the people who built them, usurping control from the population who must figure out a way to take back control. The prevalence of this theme throughout movies and films is an indication of the apprehension that the population has about the scope and future of AI technology and will be one that is explored again and again as the technology continues to progress.
This 2013 film by Spike Jonze explores the other side of the public’s interest in AI technology, exploring the complex relationship between a man who develops an intense emotional connection with his computer program. Much like “A.I. Artificial Intelligence”, the inherent human-like ability of the computer program to empathize and relate to the main character is a striking example of what could one day be possible in the world of machine learning. This unlikely romance title is a peculiar addition to the list of films about AI, showing just how broad the exploration of this topic truly is.
There are a plethora of films about artificial intelligence to explore, spanning across all themes and many decades. As the technology continues to grow and innovate at a rapid rate, popular culture and media will continue to explore these themes in a number of ways, promising a wealth of entertainment options to explore in the future!