It doesn’t seem that long ago that artificial intelligence was a pipe dream, and the existence of robots and independent learning for machines was limited to the film and television industries alone. However, technology has made some massive advancements, and artificial intelligence, or AI, is fast becoming our reality.
Smart homes already make use of a lot of robotic and artificial intelligence, including things like voice assistants, already smart controlled heating and lighting and many other things. Robots are already able to perform certain surgeries and have the accuracy and steady hands that a human surgeon can lack. So, if you fancy watching some of the best AI movies to compare what has happened and what remains out of our reach at the moment, here are some of the best films you can binge on this weekend.
- The Matrix
Starring Keanu Reeves, the Matrix is possibly the most disturbing of the AI movies. It was released in 1999 before we had much understanding of artificial intelligence and what it was actually capable of and works on the premise that we are all imprisoned inside of the Matrix in what is called a dystopia. Initially, our main character is happily living inside the Matrix but is introduced to Morpheus, who shows him the truth behind the life we think we are living. This is a movie that explores the dark and dangerous side of AI, and of course, so far, the uses of AI that we have are more positive and beneficial to the human race. There are three films in the Matrix trilogy, so this makes a perfect binge-watch.
- Blade Runner
An even earlier speculation of dystopia and artificial intelligence is Blade Runner, which first came to screens in 1982. In this movie, bioengineered robot replicas look human and live among humans but only have a four-year life span and are controlled by artificial intelligence. There is little clue as to who is a real human and who is a robot except for this short and existence. Also available for your binge-watching pleasure is the sequel Blade Runner 2049, which looks at further uses of artificial intelligence and what could possibly happen in the future. Again, it’s best not to take this too seriously, as you could have nightmares.
- 2001: Space Odyssey
Of course, a lot of artificial intelligence movies are also scripted to take place in space, as filmmakers like to predict things that have yet to happen and explore the concept of other worlds. Hal 9000 is a supercomputer, and the story takes place on a spaceship that is on course for Jupiter. This straightforward mission is somewhat complicated by the computer going rogue and changing its mission to make it one of destroying the world instead of exploring new uncharted territories. It also gives rise to one of the most famous quotes from movies, ‘Open the pod bay doors Hal’, ‘I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that’. The film is a little terrifying and a stark warning of what could happen its artificial intelligence were to be able to take control over humans. Thankfully we are not there yet and hopefully never will be.
- Star Trek: Generations
There always was a lot of fantasy technology and artificial intelligence in the Star Trek series and movies, and Star Trek Generations, which was released in 1994, is no different. Lieutenant Commander Data is an AI android who is sentient and self-aware. He is perfectly capable of functioning as one of the senior officers on board his ship, the USS enterprise. In order to make him seem even more human, he has an emotion chip that is able to replicate the emotions that humans feel. Because of his AI build, however, his brain is far superior to that of a human, and his risk calculation is spot on and makes him an invaluable member of the team.
- The Terminator
Artificial intelligence meets time travel in this 1984 cult classic movie featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton. The premise is that sometime in the future, Skynet is an AI system that is responsible for creating a nuclear Holocaust. This film explores the premise of AI being used as an existential threat. In the future, John Connor is part of a rebel group and leads the way in fighting the Skynet Corporation, which clearly, they are not prepared to put up with. Therefore, they create the Terminator, who is a Cyborg assassin powered by artificial intelligence and send it back in time in order to prevent the birth of John Connor. Arnie is on hand to save the day, and there are many fights and chases, including the horrifying moment where, having thought they successfully killed the Terminator, he melts into a puddle of liquid metal and reforms unharmed. Truly the stuff of nightmares and reason, if a reason were needed, why we need to take care and ensure that we do not create any form of artificial intelligence that has the capability of wiping out humanity.
These are five of the best AI movies, and there are certainly plenty of others, including Robocop, I, Robot with Will Smith, Interstellar, Westworld and many more. As more is discovered about artificial intelligence, more writers are inspired to create new films and showcase both the good and the bad side of letting robots into our lives.