Do you think even the best AI movies ever made couldn’t imagine a future like the one we are living in? Think again.
As we probably get closer to a possible emergence of singularity (a hypothetical future where the growth of technology is out of control in an irreversible manner), could watching some nicest examples of AI movies comfort us humans? Whether the answer is yes or no, learning about the capabilities of AI can still be terrifyingly entertaining.
The historical background of the idea of artificial intelligence has a past that spans hundreds of years, but the term itself literally became an intellectual and cultural concept when it was actually coined in 1956 at a conference held at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
Today, we do have a large variety of examples of artificial intelligence in our daily lives. However, it’s being sentient in a full-fledged manner is still something we have not completely discovered except the fictional narratives we create about them.
For our readers who would like to be reminded of some of the classics of this genre or for the ones taking their very first steps into such narratives, here are the 15 great titles we picked for you:
Best AI movies for 2023
In a year where our truth unavoidably turns into some fiction, these best AI movies we picked for you may show you that it is also fiction that slowly turns into truth, in turn:
- Blade Runner
- The Matrix Trilogy
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- A.I. Artificial Intelligence
- The Terminator
- Minority Report
Now, let’s take a closer look at these and see what they are basically about:
For many sci-fi fans, Blade Runner is probably the finest piece of art that defines the horizons of the genre combining a unique taste of aesthetics and a certain sense of philosophical attitude.
Based on pioneering American science fiction writer, Philip K. Dick’s novel called Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Ridley Scott’s movie, Blade Runner depicts a dystopian future where “humans” can be manufactured artificially with the advancements of genetics. These artificial humans are called “replicants” and are generally used for dangerous jobs basically as slaves throughout the outer colonies of the Earth. The technological sophistication applied by Tyrell Corporation upon these replicants, particularly the model called Nexus-6, makes them “more human than human”, which is exactly a motto used by the corporation itself. Besides their resembling humans, the fact that they are indeed far superior to us physically is precisely the point that makes the viewers question this: What is the line that separates humans and those replicants? What exactly makes us human?
The storyline of the movie develops further exactly on this question while we witness how these replicants were declared illegal on planet Earth followed by a bloody mutiny that took place on the planet Mars where they operate simply as slaves. This clash between replicants and their human masters is set to be solved by the assignment of a special police force, Blade Runners, as their aim is to identify, track and kill (or “withdraw”) the fugitive replicants acting in a rebellious manner on Earth.
Ex-Machina is the first movie directed by Alex Garland, previously known as an acclaimed novelist and screenwriter (28 Days Later, Sunshine). Presenting a genuine approach to the concept of artificial intelligence, the movie also manages to stand out with its exceptional and minimalistic storytelling.
The movie basically unfolds around the relationship and interaction between a young programmer played by Domhnall Gleeson and an ambitious scientist portrayed something like a Dr. Frankenstein figure (Oscar Isaac). The story slowly turns into a menacing thriller as Gleeson’s character begins to realize that there is something deeply troubling and even psychotic dimension in the scientist’s desire to create artificial intelligence.
The Matrix Trilogy
As one of the greatest cinematic phenomenons, Wachowskis’ 1999 sci-fi classic, The Matrix, definitely had some groundbreaking effects both on the genre itself and the art of cinema to a larger extent. Neo’s choice of taking the red pill led the story to a narrative of “waking up” within the depths of reality where we are subtly left to keep questioning the limits of an enduring sense of an illusion, especially through its two sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions in 2003.
2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey undoubtedly provides us with one of the most elegantly projected visions of the conception of artificial intelligence. As the oldest title in this list of Best AI movies, the movie proves itself to be a timeless classic as the years go by. Based on a short story by master sci-fi novelist Arthur C. Clarke, the movie carries out a multilayered construct where we question the evolution of humans throughout different historical epochs. Where the story comes to a climax, of course, is precisely where we see a decisive clash between artificial intelligence (namely, HAL, as the ship’s computer system in the movie) and Dr Dave Bowman and other astronauts on their mysterious mission that reaches an enigmatic turn.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
At its core, the movie could be considered as an attempt to update the well-known story of a puppet who wants to be a real boy into a modern take where, this time, it is a sentient robot child called David who wishes to become a human child. Spielberg’s movie successfully builds a well-established dark, futuristic sci-fi fantasy that has an unforgettable flavour of a dramatic ambience of classic fairy tales.
Have you ever thought that, in a fairly near future, someone could fall in love with a “granddaughter” of today’s artificially intelligent operating systems, simply known as virtual assistants, like Siri, Alexa and Bixby? Someone indeed thought about this and came up with a very provocative cinematic material: Her. The movie is particularly interesting and deserves to be on the list of Best AI movies precisely because of its very contemporary themes such as social dating apps and conversations with AI-based software.
Including many references to the sci-fi classic, “2001”, but presenting them in a lighter and funnier atmosphere, Moon gives us a refreshed and confidently entertaining vision of the relationship between a solitude astronaut figure (Sam Bell) and his artificially intelligent companion in the ship (GERTY).
The Terminator 2: Judgement Day
If 2001: A Space Odyssey is the “classical music” of AI-oriented sci-fi cult movies, The Terminator could easily be attributed as the “rock’n roll” take on this theme. That’s why if there is a list called Best AI movies, this is the movie no one can’t ignore. Combined with the element of time travel that surrounds the war between Sarah Connor (and his son) in the name of the human race and artificial intelligence represented by the company called Skynet, The Terminator is proved to be one of the most stylish examples of the genre.
As another adaption from a Philip K. Dick novel, Minority Report is the movie where Steven Spielberg dealt with the concept of AI, once more, shortly after the release of ‘A.I. Artificial Intelligence’. What makes this story extraordinary is that it depicts a neo-noir future in which modern computer science has gained the skill of being predictive in terms of foretelling technology. Set in Washington D.C. in 2054, this action-detective thriller effectively thematizes a type of psychic technology utilized by police to arrest and convict murderers avoiding their crimes before they commit.
WALL-E is the only animated movie on this pretty subjective Best AI movies list but that does not mean it cannot convey the emotion and the message any less than the other titles above. Produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures, the movie is based on the story of a lonely robot (WALL-E) in a future where Earth is not habitable anymore. WALL-E’s sole mission on this deserted planet is to clean up all the garbage. The mastery of the movie is based on its ability to open up many topics to discussion such as consumerism, corporatocracy, environmental issues and global catastrophes with a little flavour of nostalgia.
These are the visual stories that should make you wonder “how deep the rabbit hole goes”. We will not offer you a choice between a red and a blue pill, but to see some of the real-life reflections regarding the capabilities of AI, we can offer you some links: