In less than six months, we've witnessed a technological revolution and one we haven't seen since the beginning of the internet. Should we be scared? Well, I've seen how most AI movies end, but I also like the thought of having my own C-3PO or J.A.R.V.I.S. Hmmm, typical human logic, I know.
Anyways, I digress! You're here because, like myself, you're loving all the AI chat and want to immerse yourself in the cinematic world of artificial intelligence. Well, lucky for you, as I've scoured the deepest crevices of my brain (as well as the interwebs) to compile a list of the best Artificial Intelligence movies to watch this year. So, buckle up, grab your popcorn, and let's dive into the thrilling world of AI movies.
1. Star Wars
IMDb rating: 8.6/10
Director: George Lucas
Star Wars is a galaxy-hopping adventure featuring Luke Skywalker and his crew of misfits battling an evil empire to restore balance to the Force. I really don't think I need to go into too much detail.
Yes, Star Wars doesn't purely focus on AI, and the likes of CP-30 and R2D2 are more or less supporting characters, but come on, it's Star Wars. And if you haven't seen any of the films... you really have been living under your desk, haven't you?
The AI played considerable roles in all the Star Wars films; I've lost count of how many times R2D2 saved the day. And it's no secret that the Star Wars universe has some seriously next-level artificial intelligence systems at play. All those firing patterns from the Star Destroyers definitely weren't thought up by Imperial officers. And what about the mind-blowing AI that must have gone into factoring those warp jumps?
But besides portraying how technology and humans can work harmoniously, George Lucas also did a marvellous job of showing us that, yes, although helpful, in the wrong hands, AI is incredibly dangerous. Think b1 battle droids (naughty robots designed to be easily controlled, cheap to mass-produce, and obedient) and Auto-fighters, autonomous TIE fighters capable of combat targeting and manoeuvres. It's this "love, hate" for AI that puts Star Wars on the list of AI movies to watch.
2. Blade Runner & Blade Runner 2049
IMDb rating: 8.1/10 | 8/10
Directors: Ridley Scott | Denis Villeneuve
Blade Runner is the ultimate tech-noir flick, which sees Deckard (Harrison Ford), a "blade runner", hunting for rogue replicants, which are now illegal on Earth. With neon-drenched visuals, and Rutger Hauer's iconic "Tears in Rain" monologue, Blade Runner will leave you questioning your morals and whether you'll ever be as cool as Harrison Ford in a trench coat.
Fast forward thirty years, and you've landed in the timeline of the sequel, Blade Runner 2049. And although I prefer the first Blade Runner, 2049 (directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Ryan Gosling) takes an even deeper glimpse into artificial intelligence evolution, which is why it's also on the list.
The AI in both films takes the form of replicants - humanoid robots created for various purposes. These human-like bots are what we usually imagine when we think of AI robots - they look like and sound like us and were designed by big corps for, well, slave labour. Sound familiar?
Blade Runner delves deep into the ethical implications of creating advanced AI. The movie raises several questions about the moral responsibility that comes with the development and use of such technology. It also challenges us to consider our role as creators and whether we're prepared to take on the consequences of playing god. You're missing out if this film isn't on your AI Movie list.
3. The Matrix (Film series)
I'm talking specifically about the first three movies because I refuse to acknowledge that monstrosity that came out recently. And though I would rather talk about the first one because it's far superior - to discuss AI within The Matrix, we need to talk about all three films.
The films feature kick-ass action scenes and some seriously mind-bending plot twists. From dodging bullets in slow-mo to mastering kung fu in seconds - which has always been my favourite concept from the films - the movies are a rollercoaster through a cyberpunk dream and should feature on everyone's must-see AI movies list.
Why? Because The Matrix films don't hold back when it comes to AI, that's why. They cleverly but also terrifyingly explore themes of perception and reality and blur the lines between the digital and physical worlds. They challenge our notions of what's real and raise questions about the nature of our own existence. This is even more so as AI and virtual reality increasingly become prevalent in the "real" world.
The Matrix instils the fear that creating intelligent systems capable of learning without human guidance could eventually lead to dire consequences. Could we soon find ourselves fleeing to our own Zion?
4. I, Robot
IMDb rating: 7.1/10
Director: Alex Proyas
I contemplated leaving this film off the list as I know so many people who hated it, but I actually enjoyed it, so screw it. I might even go as far as saying this could be my favourite artificial intelligence movie - there, I said it! Don't judge me. I have my reasons.
I, Robot, based on the short stories by Isaac Asimo, shows us a future where robots have become an intrinsic part of society, and things quickly go haywire when a robot is accused of murder. With spectacular CGI effects (for its time; it's an early 2000s film, don't judge too harshly) and a gripping storyline, this techno-thriller explores the ethical complexities of artificial intelligence and delves deep into Isaac Asimo's famous laws of robotics, which has now become a staple in robo-related science fiction that's followed. It also stars the Fresh Prince (Will Smith - BEFORE the slap) - think Men in Black meets Blade Runner.
Now, I'm all for anything that makes my life easier, and the NS-5 robots are designed to do just that. They're efficient, quick, and can learn from their surroundings, which is pretty cool. But, and there's always a but, it raises some ethical questions. Are we creating something that could turn against us? Have they been given too much power? Can robots actually have emotions and exhibit traits like empathy and morality?
5. Ghost in the Shell | Kôkaku kidôtai
IMDb rating: 7.9/10
Director: Mamoru Oshii
If you love AI and anime and haven't seen Kôkaku kidôtai (Ghost in the Shell), where have you been?! Under that desk, I bet.
This classic 1995 anime film inspired so much pop culture, from The Matrix to cyberpunk fashion. This movie is a futuristic, action-packed ride that takes you through a world where cybernetic enhancements and artificial intelligence are the norm. It's the perfect film for those who love sci-fi with a side of philosophical pondering and a dash of badassery.
The Ghosts can link their cybernetically enhanced minds through vast neural networks, which is both mind-blowing and terrifying. It's a fascinating concept that adds a whole new layer to the film's exploration of the relationship between man and machine. It also introduces us to new threats - cyber-brain crime? As if the threats we're currently dealing with in the real world aren't enough. Anyway, besides that terrifying thought, Kôkaku kidôtai proves itself worthy of making our AI Movies watch list.
6. Metropolis (1927)
IMDb rating: 8.3/10
Director: Fritz Lang
Every true movie buff knows that the classics are classics for a reason, and Metropolis is no exception. In fact, this influential science-fiction film is the first true masterpiece of its kind, with generations of filmmakers and visionaries from around the world taking inspiration from its artistic vision.
Metropolis explores the dangers of relying too heavily on technology and creating AI machines capable of independent thought and actions, with consequences that could spell disaster for humanity. I also love Fritz's vision of towering skyscrapers and futuristic machinery, which has now become the iconic visuals of "the future".
IMDb rating: 8.4/10
Director: Andrew Stanton
Hear me out! Before you spit your Red Bull at me, you have to admit Disney and Pixar make excellent films, and WALL-E is the perfect mix of animation and AI.
It's thought-provoking, visually appealing and has a heartwarming storyline. It also proves a film can do exceptionally well with minimal dialogue. Grab your kids, a niece and nephew or just yourself, and give it a watch. You'll soon see why it's on our list of must-watch AI movies!