As the years go on, our fears of artificial intelligence only become more palpable. With recent progressions in A.I., like language learning model chatbots, deep fakes, self-driving cars, and AI-generated art, it's hard to fathom what our world could look like in just twenty years. So naturally, we fear the unknown. These ten films brilliantly capture our human worries about AI getting out of control or taking over.
1. Ex Machina (2014)
Unsurprisingly, Ex Machina is the most commented and upvoted A.I. film. The top comment is, “That movie made me afraid for our future.” Others called the film “profound.” This 2014 film, directed by Alex Garland, is about a young programmer who wins a contest to stay at the luxurious but secluded home of the C.E.O. of his company.
Caleb must evaluate the human qualities of a highly advanced humanoid A.I. It was nominated for a few Academy Awards, but many wonder why it wasn't nominated for Best Picture. Ex Machina is my favorite film about artificial intelligence. It's rated 7.7 on IMDB but should easily be a 9.
2. I, Robot (2004)
The second most upvoted film is I, Robot. The movie takes place in 2035 and stars Will Smith as a speciesist cop investigating a crime that a robot may have committed. It deals with ethical dilemmas like utilitarianism, the unique differences between humans and machines, and the implications of integrating human-like robots into society.
It has a solid 7.1 rating on IMDB. Another commenter says it's one of the best movies they've seen. It's undoubtedly a highlight of Smith's filmography.
3. Upgrade (2018)
Upgrade, as one person put it, “is head and shoulders above the rest” with a “unique concept executed so well.” They add that the audience is along for the ride with the protagonist until suddenly, you aren't.
Set in a future society where technology is king, technophobic mechanic Grey Trace suffers a series of personal tragedies and turns to a chip implant to enact his revenge. Rated 7.5 on IMDB, the film's reception has led to the development of a T.V. show adaptation that has yet to come out.
4. Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
For a less recent film take on A.I., turn to 1970's Colossus: The Forbin Project. Many film buffs described this movie as an unofficial Terminator movie, with Colossus being the proto-Skynet.
The plot is this: attempting to prevent war, the U.S. government places control of the country's nuclear defenses in the hands of an impenetrable supercomputer, the ramifications of which they are unprepared. Another movie-watcher claims this movie is more believable and scarier than the Terminator movies. It has a 7.1 rating on IMDB.
5. WALL-E (2008)
A few people listed WALL-E as a great movie depicting the future consequences of over-reliance on machines. Namely, people become fat, lazy, and materialistic. It takes place 700 years into the future when humankind has become habituated on other planets than Earth.
This endearing Pixar animated film is about an Earth-bound trash-collecting robot named WALL-E who feels lonely and longs for connection. When he falls for another robot, he accidentally embarks on a space mission that could decide the universe's fate.
This movie is a great watch for all ages and deals with themes like consumerist capitalism, obesity, artificial intelligence, and love. It has earned a well-deserved 8.4 on IMDB and won the Oscar for Best Animated Film.
6. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Starring Jude Law and Haley Joel Osment, this 2001 film is about a boy who is an artificially intelligent robot with a human mother who abandoned him. The film explores the boy's desire to be a real boy to win back his mother's love.
Be warned, though, as one user said, “Man, it's heartbreaking.” A second commenter shares, “I went into it expecting sci-fi. I was not expecting to have my heart ripped out of my chest.” This one is for when you want a good cry. It has a respectable 7.2 rating on IMDB, and many movie lovers in the thread believe it's underrated.
7. M3GAN (2022)
M3GAN is the most explicit horror sci-fi film on the list, and it's one of my personal favorites of the new releases. M3GAN is a model three generative android built by robotics engineer Gemma, played by Allison Williams, to provide her recently orphaned niece with connection, consolation, and guidance.
Unprepared to be a parent, Gemma builds this life-like A.I. doll to replace the role of a parent, but the doll starts to have a mind of its own. With a 6.4 IMDb rating, one person thinks they should have stuck to the original script, which was scarier and gorier. Unfortunately, the script had to be edited to earn a PG-13 rating. A second commenter says it's better than Child's Play.
8. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Numerous people suggest 2001: A Space Odyssey. This trailblazing 1968 film by Stanley Kubrick paved the way forward for most movies that came after it, especially in the sci-fi genre of artificial intelligence.
A mysterious artifact known as a monolith is uncovered beneath the Lunar surface. Two men on a spacecraft go on a mission to Jupiter to find out where it came from and what it is. Onboard the spaceship is the supercomputer H.A.L. 9000.
This is a must-watch for anyone interested in sci-fi or A.I. and still holds up as one of the best portrayals of artificial intelligence in film. The cinematography and special effects are high-quality; it's remarkable the film was made so many decades ago.
9. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Blade Runner and its sequel, Blade Runner 2049, were both frequently recommended, and they're a package deal, so watch this one after watching the original.
This film, directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, explores Blade Runner Agent K, who discovers a long-hidden secret that will change everything.
This discovery leads him to track down fellow Blade Runner Rick Deckard, who has been hiding for three decades. This movie won two Oscars and is rated eight on IMDb.
10. Her (2013)
Several suggest watching Spike Jonze's Her for a different take on A.I. than the usual apocalyptic thriller. One person comments, “Not this big apocalyptic thing, but one of the best conceptual and personal representations about the rise and expansion of A.I. that I've seen.”
It's about a lonely writer in the future, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who begins to anthropomorphize his operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson, designed to meet all his needs, leading him to fall in love with it. Rated 8 out of 10 on IMDb, it won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay in 2014.
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