Cinema and Artificial Intelligence: a fascinating history


Artificial intelligence (AI ) is a subject that has long fascinated film makers. Scenarios involving thinking machines or intelligent non-human creatures have given rise to some of the most striking and intriguing films in the seventh art. In this article, we propose you to discover several cinematographic works which approach the theme of artificial intelligence, whether it is in the form of robots, computers or computer programs.

The precursors: science fiction films of the 60s and 70s

As early as the 60s and 70s, the cinema was interested in artificial intelligence in films that have become cult today. This is notably the case of 2001, A Space Odyssey directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1968, where we discover the HAL 9000 computer, endowed with an intelligence of its own and capable of communicating with humans. This film marked the spirits by its avant-gardist vision of the relations between the man and the machine.

Blade Runner: a must-have classic

Another great classic of science-fiction cinema that tackled the issue of artificial intelligence is Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott in 1982. This movie tells the story of Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter in charge of tracking down androids called “replicants”. The scenario raises in particular the question of the conscience and the humanity in these beings created by the man.

The 90s: artificial intelligence at the heart of many successes

The 90’s saw the release of many movies with artificial intelligence as their central subject. These include:

  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day directed by James Cameron in 1991, where the rebel machines are led by an AI named Skynet ;
  • Jurassic Park, directed by Steven Spielberg in 1993, which features dinosaurs resurrected through genetic engineering and advanced computer systems;
  • Matrix directed by the Wachowskis in 1999, in which humanity is enslaved by an artificial intelligence that controls their perception of the real world.

These films have left their mark with their innovative special effects and captivating scenarios, but also with the philosophical questions raised around artificial intelligence and its implications for the future of our society.

The cinema of the 21st century: AI always present on the screen

Over the past two decades, artificial intelligence has been steadily emerging as a subject of inspiration for filmmakers. Among the most outstanding films of this period, we can mention :

  • Minority Report, directed by Steven Spielberg in 2002, in which a police unit uses predictive technology based on artificial intelligence to stop criminals before they commit their crimes;
  • I, Robot directed by Alex Proyas in 2004, where Will Smith plays a detective investigating the suspicious death of a robot scientist and discovering a plot led by an AI;
  • Ex Machina, directed by Alex Garland in 2015, which tells the story of a programmer invited to test a humanoid robot with artificial intelligence.

Animated films also concerned

Artificial intelligence is also present in several animated films, such as :

  • WALL-E, directed by Andrew Stanton in 2008, where we follow the adventures of a small cleaning robot in charge of repairing the damage caused by humans on Earth;
  • Big Hero 6 , directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams in 2014, which features a group of superheroes, one of whom is a robot with artificial intelligence.

Recent releases on the theme of AI

Many movies featuring artificial intelligence are currently in preparation or already in theaters. Among them:

  • Neuromancer, adapted from the novel of the same name by William Gibson and directed by Tim Miller, tells the story of a hacker recruited to infiltrate an AI;
  • Matrix 4 directed by Lana Wachowski, which once again features clashes between humans and intelligent machines.

There is no doubt that artificial intelligence will continue to fuel the imagination of filmmakers and audiences for many years to come. Through these works, cinema invites us to reflect on the ethical, philosophical and social issues related to the development of this technology, while offering us captivating and visually impressive entertainment.

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