Five Films About Artificial Intelligence You Need To Watch

Where is the line drawn between human and machine?

The public imagination has long been drawn to artificial intelligence (AI). Since the 1950s, the concept has been referenced in a multitude of movies, books, video games and academic research; ranging from theories about a future of helpful services to an army of machines focused on rebellion. Whatever the future holds, here are five movies about AI to keep us entertained in the meantime.

Ex Machina (2014) dir. Alex Garland

A remarkably enthralling thriller about a young, innocent programmer tasked with evaluating the capabilities of a sophisticated AI at his billionaire boss’s private mountain estate. You’ll find yourself at the edge of your seat as the movie progresses, particularly as it shifts its focus from artificial intelligence to artificial affection.

Bicentennial Man (1999) dir. Chris Columbus

Based on a story by Isaac Asimov, this movie follows the life of an android servant built to perform household tasks but soon begins to develop a range of human emotional behaviours, creativity, and interests. It’s an emotional movie that grapples with mortality and explores what it truly means to be human.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) dir. Steven Spielberg

This film is set in the near future, and focuses on an android programmed as a surrogate child to have never-ending love for his mother. The viewer is thrown into a moral conundrum (and emotional turmoil) as the boy-robot is cast aside when his ‘love’ is no longer required.

I, Robot (2004) dir. Alex Proyas

In a change of pace from the aforementioned films, this movie is a mix of action and philosophy encased in epistemology. We see the protagonist – a cop – trying to solve a death he is led to believe was murder by a robot. Its twist and turns are derived from Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics; the special effects and jaw-dropping animation of its time will keep you engaged.

Terminator 2 (1991) dir. James Cameron

Tired of thinking and feeling? As one of the best action films of the 90’s, Terminator 2 features killer robots sent from the future who duke it out: one AI programmed to kill, the other to protect. Perhaps ironically, the action is not the sole reason why the movie is memorable almost two decades later – rather, it’s the protagonist’s famous delivery of his dialogue. Hasta la vista.

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Words by Sonnay Uy