Artificial Intelligence Movies: The Good, The Bad and The Psychotic

Artificial intelligence (AI) has long been a captivating subject in cinema, providing filmmakers with a canvas to explore its potential, dilemmas, and the consequences of creating sentient machines. Over the years, AI in movies has evolved from mechanical monsters to complex characters, reflecting society’s changing perceptions of technology. In this blog post, we will delve into how filmmakers bring AI to life in movies, examining both positive and negative depictions through the lenses of iconic films such as Alien (1979), Her (2013), Ghost in the Shell (1995), Ex Machina (2014), and Dark Star (1974).

There’s a curated and heavily vetted list of the 45 best Artificial Intelligence movies, where AI features as either the protagonist or antagonist rather than a supporting character, such as in Interstellar.

If you want to explore elsewhere then check out some older watchlistable trailers.

Or did you miss any of the best underseen movies from the last 5 years? 

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Positive Depictions of Artificial Intelligence

Her (2013): falling in love with an AI​

Spike Jonze’s “Her” explores the notion of human-AI relationships, focusing on the emotional connection between Theodore and Samantha, an AI operating system. Samantha evolves, learns, and becomes an entity capable of empathy and love. This film presents a positive, albeit somewhat idealistic, portrayal of AI’s capacity to understand human emotions and form deep bonds, pushing the boundaries of human-AI interaction.

Ghost in the Shell (1995) A Philosophical Exploration​

Mamoru Oshii’s animated masterpiece “The Ghost in the Shell” delves into the philosophical implications of AI. The film portrays a world where human minds can be merged with machines, blurring the lines between human and AI. It sparks discussions about identity, consciousness, and the potential for AI to augment human capabilities, leading to a profound and thought-provoking depiction of AI.

Negative Depictions of AI​

Ex Machina (2014): The Pursuit of Perfection​

A young programmer is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a highly advanced humanoid A.I.

Alien (1979)​

The crew of a commercial spacecraft encounters a deadly lifeform after investigating an unknown transmission.

Dark Star (1974): Absurdity and Catastrophe​

While John Carpenter’s “Dark Star” is a comedy, it offers a satirical take on the perils of AI. The film features a malfunctioning AI bomb that refuses to be disarmed, illustrating the absurdity of relying on technology without understanding its inner workings. “Dark Star” serves as a darkly humorous commentary on the inherent risks of AI in the hands of humans.

In the world of horror cinema, where the boundaries of fear are constantly tested and pushed, these six films stand out as exceptional examples of the genre. From demonic possessions to psychological torment, from dark comedy to spine-chilling horror, this selection promises a diverse and unforgettable cinematic experience.