Technology has also made its incursion into the world of cinema for many years with the presence of artificial intelligence playing both villain and heroine roles. That if, always or almost always, as the protagonist.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is defined as the ability of a machine or computer program to think, learn, and act like a human being. With this premise, it is more than clear that film directors and screenwriters were not going to miss this great opportunity to give the world of cinema great characters and films.

The most conventional thing is that movies about AI present artificial intelligence as villainous robots and aliens that are determined to control and destroy humanity, however, throughout history, we have been able to see all kinds.

And it is that, we are delusional if we think that AI is something simple. We are talking about something much more complex and interesting than a mere villainous presence and there are a wide variety of representations in the movies that demonstrate it, such as the wonderful C3PO and R2D2 or the endearing WALL-E, without going too far.

It is for all this that we wanted to investigate some of the best examples of AI in the cinema and its different representations, because what better than looking to the future when the present is somewhat complicated.

Her (2014)

Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson in a rather surprising way in Her, will let us see a total antithesis of the “robots are coming to destroy us” thinking. And it is that, who moved away from the basic concept of AI, to approach a more conventional narrative associated with another genre, romance.

This film is set in a world that could easily be our present day and follows Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely man who falls in love with an AI system. Here we must open our minds, since we will delve into what love really is and what it means, through an atypical relationship. 

Actually, and although it seems strange, the writer and director Spike Jonze does a great job of integrating AI, especially with respect to what we mentioned at the beginning, the voice, which humanizes Samantha. It doesn’t matter that we don’t see her, she feels like a complete and lovable character.

In addition, this is going to have a personality, with flaws, objectives and in love with Theodore, which is going to present the vulnerability of humans in a context of total dependence on technology that could perfectly be our present.

Ex Machina (2015)

In Alicia Vikander’s incredibly edited performance as Ava, we find a probable Turing-proof robot hiding in the mansion of a genius, slightly crazy Nathan. And it is that, we are talking about a strange creation that feels totally real and at the same time inhuman. 

Ex Machina may be the best example of a movie about artificial intelligence, especially in the last 10 years. 

This is mainly because it seems to cover the whole concept of AI built into a movie: the protagonist is a stand-in for the human being and it takes us into a multitude of moral arguments that surround it , while we see a story arc of a thriller that, from then, it ends up hooking us.

Throughout the film, the narrative is going to completely blow the lines of who is the victim and who is the villain of the story. We’ll think it’s Nathan, Caleb, and even Ava, never coming to a point of commonality or clarity.

Of course here the representation of the AI ​​character is not black or white. Ava isn’t good, but she’s not all bad either. And in this, the public is left pondering deep questions about the nature of AI.

If you want to enjoy a good quality movie time with the odd reflection in between, you can enjoy it on Prime Video.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1970)

2001: A Space Odyssey, is by far one of the most complex and ambiguous movies on this list. Since its premiere, there has been continuous debate about its meaning. Stanley Kubrick’s film follows a journey to find the origins of a mysterious artifact with the accompaniment of an AI computer named HAL. 

This disembodied character is simply a computer in a spaceship. But it’s also a computer that controls all the automated aspects of this mission to an unknown location on a moon of Jupiter, and HAL knows everything.

However, as the journey continues, HAL begins to malfunction. The implications of this become a threat to the lives of those on the spaceship and to humanity in general. 

Time, space, human nature, evolution… are themes that are explored through a non-linear narrative and sudden and inexplicable cuts, which will certainly blow your mind. You decide whether for better or worse. If you want to give it a chance (or a second or third), you can watch it on HBO Max.

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Ghost in the Shell (1996)

This cyberpunk anime is set in a futuristic world in the year 2029. The film follows Commander Motoko Kusanagi, a highly technological cyborg officer who is on the trail of the Puppet Master. The Puppeteer, in Spanish, is a cyber criminal who hacks the ghosts (souls) of people to commit crimes, obtain information and recreate their memories. 

The film is set in a time when cyborgs and humans mix and cohabit. Instead, the film creates a natural setting in which the AI ​​characters are just like humans: some are good and some are bad.

In addition, and thanks to the protagonist , we will be able to instantly have a vision of artificial intelligence. Here we can see what are the similarities and differences between humans and AI. Through this point of view, we will also be able to empathize with the AI ​​characters. 

It is available in MovistarPlus+. Note that in 2017, Scarlett Johansson assumed the role of the protagonist to make a version away from the anime, which you can see on Prime Video.

Minority Report (2002)

Steven Spielberg’s AI film Minority Report follows John (Tom Cruise), a law enforcement officer, who is accused of a murder he will commit in the future . In this film from the early 2000s, our protagonist uses a technology from the future that allows the police to catch criminals before they have committed a crime. 

However, there will not be much of an argument in the film when he will be accused of the future murder of a man he does not know and must prove his innocence: are they setting him up or is he a criminal from the beginning?

And it is that, let’s stop for a moment to assess what we are talking about: a world in which technology has become so powerful that someone can be convicted of a crime before even committing it. 

In Minority Report, the AI ​​is represented by the Precogs, the twins who possess psychic abilities. Precogs see murders before they occur, allowing law enforcement to pursue crime before it is committed. Instead of physical cyborg-like AI robots, here he explores AI through the use of human beings.

Therefore, instead of having the AI ​​as the protagonist, Spielberg uses it as a trigger for all the events that subsequently occur.

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Blade Runner (1982)

The story follows Deckard (Harrison Ford), a police officer who is tasked with hunting down criminal humanoids known as “replicants.” At first, these are presented as dangerous and rebellious humanoids. 

Of course, Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott, takes us deep into artificial intelligence through the use of an action movie narrative. 

However, here comes the problem and it is when that fine line of villains and heroes begins to break down. Uncertainty arises about the replicants: are they really as evil as they are portrayed to be?

Once again, this is an AI movie that challenges audiences to distinguish the boundaries between humans and technology. By blurring the lines, the film encourages audiences to question their own humanity and morality, instead of simply falling into a flat narrative about who is good and who is bad.

You can watch it on HBO Max. In 2017 the sequel Blade Runner 2049 came out in theaters, which you can now watch on Netflix.

War Games (1983)

Let’s go back to one of the old ones, one of those first movies that dealt with this theme with such good taste. We are talking about Wargames, a movie with a simple plot: David, a student gifted at computer hacking, inadvertently activates an AI system that intensifies the conflicts between the United States and the USSR to the level of a III World War.

In essence, the film is a coming-of-age story about an irresponsible young man who will have to face a big problem. 

Beyond all this we find a warning about 1º the consequences of unsafe war technology; 2º how important it is to have a human contribution in decision-making by computer; and 3rd, how prejudices and misinformation can cause a major disaster. 

Well, Joshua the computer knows the most likely scenarios for a successful outcome in a war, but should humans follow the route Joshua proposes, or even heed the information he’s providing?