10 must-watch movies about AI that will challenge your perspective

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Movies have always been a great source of inspiration, particularly for creative professionals. As a designer, I often turn to movies for inspiration when I feel stuck in a design rut. Strong visual storytelling can help you approach a problem from a different angle, sparking new ideas and concepts. While there are countless topics that movies can explore, one that has been particularly fascinating to audiences is the concept of artificial intelligence. From classic sci-fi movies to modern ones, movies have long explored the possibilities and dangers of AI.

Here is a compiled of must-watch movies about artificial intelligence that will challenge your perspective and leave you questioning the future of technology.

Jung_E (2023)

Director: Yeon Sang-Ho
Release Date: January 20, 2023
Writers: Sang-Ho Yeon

Jung E is a Korean movie, that has a dystopian concept in which people are at war. Jung E is a 2023 action/sci-fi movie written and directed by Yeon Sang-ho for Netflix. Climate change devastated Earth in the 22nd century, and humanity has fled to space to survive. Around this time, a lady becomes a famous mercenary in order to continue paying for her daughter’s treatment for a lung tumor that is slowly killing her. When a mission fails, the mercenary falls into a coma, prompting scientists to clone her as Jung E, a new mercenary AI. The film received 5.4/10 from IMDB. Critics said in Rotten Tomatoes, “The movie turns out to be visually striking and narratively muddled, with a story that starts somewhere in the middle, throws around lots of provocative science-fiction concepts, and comes to a rather abrupt end.”

Moonfall (2022)

Director: Roland Emmerich
Release Date: February 4, 2022
Writers: Harald Kloser, Spenser Cohen, Roland Emmerich

In Moonfall, an unknown force knocks the Moon out of its orbit around Earth, sending it hurtling toward life as we know it. With only a few weeks until impact and the world on the verge of annihilation, NASA executive and former astronaut Jo Fowler (Halle Berry) believes she has the key to saving us all – but only one astronaut from her past, Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson), and conspiracy theorist K.C. Houseman (John Bradley) believe her. These unlikely heroes will embark on an impossible last-ditch space journey, leaving behind everyone they care about, only to discover that our Moon is not what we think it is. The movie gets critics such as “it’s like someone went ‘Alexa write a really, really bad science fiction script,” on Rotten Tomatoes.

Superintelligence (2020)

Director: Ben Falcone
Release Date: November 26, 2020
Writers: Steve Mallory

Ben Falcone directs Superintelligence, an American romantic action-comedy movie. Carol Peters, a high-tech business executive at Yahoo, gave it up eight years ago to be more humanitarian by campaigning for the environment, animals, and so on. She is residing in Seattle, dissatisfied with the existing work situation, and is driven and inspired to make the world a better place. Dennis, Carol’s best friend, and another high-tech guy convince her to interview for a modern dating service. An interviewer refers to her as “the most average person on Earth,” which an autonomous artificial intelligence, or AI, picks up on. So, Carol must demonstrate that people are worth rescuing as the AI determines whether to enslave, save, or destroy humanity. The movie is not that inspirational but you can ask some questions to yourself do we really worth rescuing as humans?

Ex Machina (2014)

Director: Alex Garland
Release Date: December 16, 2014
Writers: Alex Garland

Directed by Alex Garland, Ex Machina, is a 2014 science fiction movie. Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno, and Oscar Isaac play the four prominent characters. Gleeson plays a computer programmer hired by a millionaire (Isaac) to determine whether a sentient humanoid robot (Vikander) exists.

According to reviewer Nick Jones in Science Fiction Cinema and Television, Caleb’s notion of a Turing test — “It is the point at which a person interacts with a computer. And the test is passed if the human cannot tell they are interacting with a computer “— is consistent with how we define true AI today, Ex Machina depicts a test closer to Alan Turing’s original proposal, in which the machine passes if it can convince a human that it is not just human, but specifically female. The video, according to Jones, “equates women with machines” in today’s digital world.

Her (2013)

Director: Spike Jonze
Release Date: October 12, 2013
Writers: Spike Jonze

Spike Jonze wrote, directed, and co-produced Her, a 2013 American science-fiction romantic drama movie. Jonze got the concept for the movie after reading an article online about a website where users may instant message with artificial intelligence in the early 2000s. Sound similar, huh? “It had this real excitement for the first, maybe 20 seconds,” Jonze remarked. “I’d say, ‘Hello, hello,’ and it’d say, ‘Hi, how are you?’ and I’d be like, whoa, this is strange. It soon broke apart within 20 seconds, and you discovered how it truly works, which wasn’t all that spectacular. Yet it was still thrilling for 20 seconds. The more individuals that spoke to it, the smarter it became.”

Minority Report (2002)

Director: Steven Spielberg
Release Date: October 12, 2013
Writers: Philip Kindred Dick (novel: Minority Report)

Minority Report is a 2002 American science fiction action movie based on Philip K. Dick’s book “The Minority Report” from 1956. When the main protagonist is convicted of a crime he did not commit and becomes a fugitive, the movie combines aspects of tech noir, whodunit, thriller, and science fiction genres, as well as a typical chase picture. “Fifty percent character and fifty percent really intricate narrative with layers and layers of murder mystery and storyline,” Spielberg said of the story.

The Matrix (1999)

Director: The Wachowskis
Release Date: March 24, 1999
Writers: The Wachowskis

The Matrix is one of the well-known science fiction action movies that exemplify the cyberpunk style of science fiction. The plot revolves around a dystopian future in which humanity is inadvertently trapped inside the Matrix, a simulated reality built by clever robots to divert humans while utilizing their bodies as a source of energy.

The Terminator (1984)

Director: James Cameron
Release Date: October 26, 1984
Writers: James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd

Terminator is also another famous movie of all time. The movie begins in the year 2029, a hypothetical future in which mankind has been subjugated by artificially intelligent robots led by the rebellious computer system Skynet. This sentient computer began a nuclear war by seizing control of the United States’ nuclear arsenal and launching ICBMs in a deadly attempt to annihilate humanity.

Blade Runner (1982)

Director: Ridley Scott
Release Date: June 25, 1982
Writers: Hampton Fancher and David Peoples

The movie is set in a dystopian Los Angeles of 2019, where the Tyrell Company has bio-engineered synthetic humans called replicants to work on space colonies. When a crew of advanced replicants led by Roy Batty (played by Hauer) escapes to Earth, burnt-out detective Rick Deckard (played by Ford) reluctantly agrees to track them down. Blade Runner has inspired several science fiction movies, video games, anime, and television shows. It brought Philip K. Dick’s work to the attention of Hollywood, and many of his writings were later adapted into movies, such as Total Recall (1990), Minority Report (2002), and A Scanner Darkly (2006).

Also, Blade Runner is one of our favorite dystopian architecture and urbanism example. Blade Runner portrays a future in which cities have grown to such an extent that they have become cruel, polluted, and dysfunctional. Read more about, How can fictional universes influence our visions for the cities we build?

2001: A Space Odyssey (1964)

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Release Date: April 2, 1968
Writers: Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick

2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the groundbreaking science fiction movies of all time directed by Stanley Kubrick, and released in 1968. It is widely regarded as a masterpiece of the genre and a significant landmark in the history of cinema. The movie’s story is based on a novella by Arthur C. Clarke, and the screenplay was co-written by Kubrick and Clarke. The movie is known for its visual effects, which were groundbreaking at the time of the movie’s release. The movie’s realistic depictions of space travel and the use of miniatures and practical effects instead of CGI have inspired generations of filmmakers. The movie has also been praised for its philosophical themes, which explore the nature of human consciousness, the limits of technology, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

Read more about, Architecture and Cinema: The spatial uneasiness of Kubrick’s The Shining.

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