AI developments made a profound impact on film making. From cameras to post production tools, technology allowed cinematographers to achieve a kind of story telling thanks to breathtaking visual effects.
Another impact new technologies had on film making is linked to the economy. Technological advances, a whole new set of film making courses and jobs have been created in the film industry.
And the rise of tech didn’t just improve the technical side of filmmaking. It also had a big impact on movie narratives, too. Enter: science fiction.
The ubiquity of digital devices, the web, and artificial intelligence led to a sharp increase in the number of movies about artificial intelligence. Indeed, there are so many AI films today that it’s basically taken over the sci-fi genre.
Of course, not all films about artificial intelligence are worthy of your time. As with all genres, there are plenty of subpar artificial intelligence movies out there! But the best movies about artificial intelligence are among the best movies of all time, so even if you’re not normally drawn to sci-fi flicks, they’re worth checking out.
In this blog, we’ll run through some of the best of the best.
Movies about AI don’t come much better than The Matrix, the 1999 smash-hit blockbuster from the Wachowski sisters. Indeed, so successful was the film that it’s basically responsible for a not insignificant number of people believing that we’re living in a simulation.
Not that you need to go down that rabbit hole to enjoy The Matrix. It’s stylish, the storyline is perfect, and it has some of the best action scenes in cinema history. You can forget all the sequels; they basically said everything they needed to say about the dangers of artificial intelligence in the first film anyway.
1982’s Blade Runner may be 40 years old, but it remains one of the best sci-fi movies ever to come out of Hollywood. It’s actually set in 2019 Los Angeles, and we should all be thankful that Ridley Scott’s vision of the future didn’t come to pass.
The AI aspect comes in the form of a group of ‘replicas,’ bioengineered robots who aren’t too happy to be locked away in their space colony. Once they escape, all hell breaks loose, and it’s not looking too good for mankind. That is until Harrison Ford gets on the case.
The Terminator is a feature film about a cyborg assasin. It certainly has a very pessimistic look at what AI technologies could lead to. The plot revolves around robots who have sent a cyborg assassin to kill the woman who will one day give birth to the child who will save humanity from the robots.
It’s an excellent movie, and if you like that one, then be sure to check out Terminator 2, which is just as good.
Artificial intelligence in films is usually presented in a negative light. Evil ai systems out to control and destroy humans and civilisation. Plus, they’re nearly always films that you have to be at least 15 years of age to see. So we’re happy that we can include at least one family-friendly movie that subverts the genre.
Wall-E — the main character in the movie — isn’t a threat. He’s loveable! It’s a sweet film, though the secondary message is that we should all probably consume less, move more, and spend a little less time in the digital eco-space.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Yes, A.I. Artificial Intelligence is about artificial intelligence. The movie was something of a disappointment when it first came out in 2001, but its reputation has improved in the years since.
This is an AI Steven Spielberg movie, but it could have been a Stanley Kubrick AI movie. He had plans to make the AI movie, but alas, he died before he had a chance, so Spielberg took over.
Happily, we already have an outstanding Kubrick movie about AI, and it’s called 2001: A Space Odyssey. It came out way back in 1964, which goes to show that Kubrick really was a visionary.
The Machine is comfortably the lowest-budget movie on this list, but it still manages to pack a powerful punch, thanks to the strength of the plot. The British Army needs a killing machine for strategic purposes but then they realise that you can’t always control a monster once it becomes too strong.
Disconcerting and profoundly moving are two adjectives that pop to mind when we think of Ex Machina. There’s a need for caution when you’re developing artificial intelligence that could be better than humans in all the ways that count. That’s the general theme of Ex Machina, a unique movie that feels similar in tone and feel to 2001: A Space Odyssey. We won’t say too much about the movie here because spoilers would ruin your first viewing of the film. But it is a perfect example of a Turing test.
Ich bin Dein Mensch
Ich Bin Dein Mensch is a German movie that translates into English as “I’m Your Man.” That’s right: they do make artificial intelligence films outside of English-speaking countries! And not only that, they make good ones, too.
This movie is part romance, part comedy, and part drama that is somewhat similar to the concept of Her, which we will dissect in a brief moment.The movie follows Alma, a scientist who begins dating a robot that has been specifically designed to be her “perfect partner.” But as she finds out, there’s no such thing as a perfect partner.
Can a computer program ever replace human love? That’s the question that Spike Jonze set out to explore in his excellent 2013 movie, ‘Her.’ It follows Theodore Twombly, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who slowly falls in love with an operating system following a painful break-up.
Based on the Transformers franchise from the 1980s, the film series is full of autonomous vehicles equipped with strong AI algorithms, speech recognition and capable of problem solving. The film follows the rivalry between two factions of intelligent robotic life firms : autobots and decepticons.
One of the best loved cartoon series of the 1960s, Jetsons envisions a fully automated future full of self-driving cars, robotic maids that can perform specific tasks and intelligent personal assistants.
Delving into the history of Ai on the silver screen and small screen without mentioning Star Wars would be sacrilege. Again a juxtaposition of primitive civilisations and super advanced technology. Flying cars, spaceships, robotic assistants, intelligent AI systems and a fight between good and evil. Astrophysics meets fantasy epic.
They’re just some of the best movies about artificial intelligence. But if you’re hungry for more, fear not — there are plenty to choose from. Plus, interest in AI is growing stronger, not weaker, so we’ll likely see even more movies with this theme coming out in the next few years. And if you’re interested in AI but don’t have time to watch movies, then that’s no problem either: AI will probably be part of our lives pretty soon, anyway!