It doesn’t matter which decade you were born in; there’s one thing that we all share– growing up watching AI movies.
While we’ve seen the personification of AI through Hollywood’s lens several times, this blog brings you some of the best works from around the globe.
Whether it was the earliest depiction in movies where AI takes over the world or a humanoid appearing as a guest in a late-night show, AI has been reigning the big and small screens, even before its conception. Let’s take a closer look at how the cinema of the world has adapted AI in its storytelling.
Director: Gabriele Salvatores
Release date: 1997
IMDb rating: 6.0/10
Country of origin: Italy
Nirvana is a story of a game designer, Jimi, whose latest creation Nirvana, a virtual reality game, is soon to be released. Solo, Jimi’s virtual avatar in Nirvana, gains self-awareness due to a virus attack three days before the launch date and starts questioning the purpose of its existence. The movie depicts Jimi’s quest to overcome the existential crisis, free Solo from the virtual reality he has built, and eventually prevent the game from becoming accessible to the public.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Nirvana was quite ahead of its time, as it leaves the audience with several ponderings. In addition, the intertwining of Jimi’s virtual and real-world touches on several philosophical sub-plots, like nihilism, existentialism, and the need for survival, making it more interesting to watch.
Director: Kike Maíllo
Release date: 2011
IMDb rating: 6.6/10
Country of origin: Spain; France
Eva beautifully captures the delicate relationship between humankind and artificial intelligence. Captivating work by Claudia Vega as Eva, the story takes place in a world heavily dependent on artificial intelligence and reflects on the ethical predicaments regarding the human-AI bond.
Androids have become an essential part of people’s lives, from doing chores to being almost sentient and mimicking human-like and pet-like behaviors. However, they are still not fully ready to be left unsupervised and are required to be ‘removed’ from the human condition. The audience gets to see several contradicting ideologies on artificial intelligence. The movie succeeds in showing the emotional and philosophical dilemma of the human and AI relationship intricately and has bagged several awards as well.
Director: Fritz Lang
Release date: 1927
IMDb rating: 8.3/10
Country of origin: Germany
Thea Gabriele von Harbou’s avant-garde novel, Metropolis, shows a human-like machine named Maria, who wreaks havoc on the human world. Later turned into a moving picture, Metropolis is a groundbreaking piece of art which envisioned machines performing and thinking like humans 16 years before the birth of artificial intelligence and 23 years before Alan Turing’s famous Turing Test.
AI got its name in 1956, 29 years after Metropolis was first made available to the larger mass. While the entire concept of artificial intelligence has progressed over the years, the fear of machines using intelligence against humankind has been consistent over all these years in cinema.
Director: Sang-ho Yeon
Release date: 2023
IMDb rating: 5.4/10
Country of origin: South Korea
While the movie could not gather much appreciation, Jung_E, a sad tale of a dystopian world where artificial intelligence is commercially viable, shouldn’t be ruled out without being given a chance. Yes, the power of love is a common theme in South Korean cinema, and one can expect the same in this sci-fi as well, but Kim Hyun-joo’s work deserves big applause.
Jung_E gives the audience a glimpse of the world where human brains are cloned to lead an army of machines in war. In this world, human consciousness is factory-produced, and business mafias have ownership over people’s memories and feelings. Jung_E, the movie, is about AI’s struggle for freedom and leaves the audience grappling with the ethical conundrum around AI.
Alphaville: Une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Release date: 1965
IMDb rating: 7.0/10
Country of origin: Germany
A secret agent in a trench coat, known not by his original name but by a code number, is on a mission to save the world. Alphaville is a science fiction packed with action and no special effects. It is Lemmy Caution, the secret agent’s responsibility to destroy Alpha 60, an AI system that governs the city of Alphaville.
The residents of Alphaville have no free will and are bound to obey the AI system. Jean-Luc Godard has done an excellent job with Alphaville. The black and white visuals, minimalist set designs, futuristic technicalities, and constant foreboding theme work wonders to keep the audience engaged.
Art is open to interpretation, and it was indeed very refreshing to see the portrayal of artificial intelligence through various lenses. The portrayal of AI in movies was incredibly advanced and imaginative, far beyond what AI technology has currently achieved in the real world. This indicates that we still have a significant way to go before we can reach comparable levels of sophistication and innovation. If you enjoyed this article and are keen on reading all things AI, check out some hilarious human-ChatGPT conversations here!