27 February 2023

Technophobes look away – these films about AI will have you keeping an extra close eye on Siri

With AI becoming one of the biggest talking points in popular culture, join HUNGER as we run you through the best films where technology takes on a mind of its own…

You’ve probably heard those two little letters ‘AI’ more times than your own name over the past year. Whether it was DALL-E letting us create artificially generated art of Easter Island statues giving a TED Talk or the even more terrifying rise of ChatGPT giving everyone the capacity to pass a law exam at the click of a button, AI is (let’s hope not literally) taking over the world. 

But let’s not act like we didn’t see this coming. The impending doom of AI has been a talking point throughout society for decades and has been a constantly recurring theme in art, novels and, of course, movies. From humanoid robots taking over the earth and enslaving humans to supercomputers showing signs of intelligence that far outweigh our puny mammal brains, the threat of AI has been explored extensively throughout cinema. And we’ve seen it once again this year thanks to the incredibly viral M3GAN – a sci-fi thriller about a murderous human-like animatronic doll. What’s not to love?

So, let us dump even more tech-based anxiety on you by giving you our picks for the best movies where AI takes on a mind of its own and attempts to control-alt-delete the human race.

M3GAN (2023)

What better place to start than the aforementioned M3GAN? It doesn’t take a genius to learn that an AI-enhanced doll created to befriend a little girl is definitely not a good idea. The maniacal robotic doll instantly became a meme on social media thanks to her uber-creepy mannerisms and dancing and (somehow) only added to our innate fear of dolls.

Ex Machina (2014)

A billionaire genius (Oscaar Isaac) invites a young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) to his remote compound to spend a week testing the authenticity of his latest creation – a female humanoid robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander). Kitted out with the latest consciousness technology, the end goal is to identify whether this artificial intelligence is capable of independent thought. However, before long, the lines separating humanity and AI begin to blur, with deadly results, obviously.

The Terminator (1984)

Not only is The Terminator one of the most popular science fiction movies ever made, but it may also be why our fear of AI is so intricately woven into our psyche. In James Cameron’s epic, soldier Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) is sent back in time to 1984 to stop a robot assassin (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from killing the woman who’ll ultimately give birth to the future’s only hope against a deadly robot threat. While the flick may be best known for introducing Schwarzenegger to mainstream audiences, it also brought a new existential anxiety to viewers across the globe.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

What happens when our increasingly intelligent helpers decide to stop following our orders? Visionary director Stanley Kubrick explored this very idea in his 1968 masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. It showed us how our reliance on tech can spectacularly backfire, as the intelligent spaceship computer H.A.L 9000 turns on the very astronauts it was designed to serve. 

The Matrix (1999)

By far one of the most famous movies about artificial intelligence taking over is The Matrix. The twist that the whole of humanity was living in a simulation surprised a lot of viewers when the movie premiered in 1999. Unlike the Terminator, the AI in this movie was mostly kind to its victims, letting them lead a semblance of normal lives, even though it was all a dream, and waking up from it was close to impossible as well as highly difficult.

Blade Runner (1982)

Based on author Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Blade Runner is the quintessential cyberpunk classic that plunged viewers into a hazardous dystopian universe. Set in a neon-lit 2019 LA, the movie pits bioengineered humanoids (human replicants developed without the capacity to have emotions) against real humans. Here, Harrison Ford (a human in this universe) is tasked with hunting down these humanoids in this sci-fi epic.

I, Robot (2004)

Inspired by the Isaac Asimov short story collection of the same name, this Will Smith blockbuster is set in 2035, where a technophobic Chicago cop suspected that a servant droid called Sonny had gone rogue and pushed its owner to his death from a 50th-floor window. Of course, a full robot uprising soon resulted.

  • Writer Chris Saunders
  • Banner Image Credit Universal Pictures / M3GAN

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