Artificial Intelligence: Coming to scare you at a cinema soon

Popular culture is pretrifed of AI.

Take movies, for example. Most AI cinematic excursions tend towards the dark, the moody and the downright deadly. In fact, a robot protagonist is far more likely to murder than nurture its hapless human victims. Take the following movies, for example:

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Ethically conflicted, super-smart  computer on spaceship bound for Jupiter goes nuts and starts to murder the human crew. It eavesdrops on private conversations, refuses to open pod bay doors, and can’t sing to save itself.
Scare factor: 9
Chance of actually happening: 5
Famous Line:

Open the pod bay door, HAL.

Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

Boofhead generals give egotistical US defence system Colossus complete control of America’s nukes. Within minutes, it enslaves humanity and tells them to put-up or shut-up or the whole place goes up in smoke.
Scare factor: 11
Chance it might actually happen: 6.5
Famous line:

Freedom is an illusion…in time you will come to regard me not only with respect and awe, but with love.

Westworld: (1973)

Resident androids at a futuristic Wild West theme park go nuts and start hunting down its high-paying human guests. In a Disney World-meets-Mad Max-bloodbath, they trash everyone’s holiday until only one human is sufficiently intact to claim a refund.
Scare factor: 9
Chance of actually happening: 4
Famous line:

There’s no way to get hurt in here. Just enjoy yourself.

Alien (1979)

Double-crossing android lets Very Bad Alien stow away on a commercial space freighter without the rest of the crew knowing. Very Bad Alien scares the hell (and intestinal contents) out of everyone, including the ship’s cat, before ambushing the captain and making a mess of nearly everybody else. Sole human survivor and terrified feline escape in space pod only to find alien in there with them.
Scare factor: 11
Chance of actually happening: 2
Famous line:

This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.

The Terminator (1984):

Psychopathic cyborg from apocalyptic future lobs back to the big-hair eighties on mission to assassinate Sarah Connor, mother of the yet-to-be-born human-resistance leader John Connor. On the way, he kills nearly everyone (including an entire police precinct) except the person he was sent back to kill.
Scare factor: 10
Chance of actually happening: 0
Famous line:

I’ll be back.

The Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

Upgraded cyborg (whose previous model had tried to kill Sarah Connor) lobs back to the nineties, this time to PROTECT John Connor—the now very much born 11-year-old future resistance leader—from a ruthless, shape-shifting cyborg hot on John Connor’s heels.
Scare factor: 9
Chance of actually happening: 0
Famous line:

Come with me if you want to live.

Ex Machina (2014)

Canny android goes nuts and kills her creator, an abusive, drunken genius who lives on deserted island. She then imprisons his employee (who’s fallen in love with her) and leaves him to die screaming while she escapes in the helicopter sent to pick him up.
Scare factor: 9
Likelihood of happening: 7
Famous line:

One day the AIs are going to look back on us the same way we look at fossil skeletons on the plains of Africa. An upright ape living in dust with crude language and tools, all set for extinction.

Not-so-scary AI

Very occasionally, cinema audiences are given a break from the impending AI apocalypse in favour of a more zen-like robot aesthetic.

Artificial Intelligence: (2001)

Rich couple adopt spooky child android when their human son is in an induced coma awaiting cure for some kind of awful disease. Spooky child android goes nuts and tries to drown human son when awful disease is cured and he comes home.

Mother freaks out and dumps spooky child android in forest.

Spooky child android spends rest of movie looking for mother and ends up stuck underwater for thousands of years in a plane wreck.

Centuries later, a bunch of genial androids with enormous brains repair him and help solve his mummy issues by resurrecting his long-dead adoptive mother from a bit of DNA on his hairbrush. He then gets to spend a day with her before she freaks out again, this time from trying to figure out how she ended up with spooky child android after she dumped him in a forest thousands of years ago.
Scare factor: 4
Chance of actually happening: 3
Famous line:

They hate us, you know…The humans. They’ll stop at nothing.

Her (2013)

Lonely nice guy falls in love with his operating system—a funny, empathic and caring entity called Samantha. Things progress nicely until she hooks up with a bunch of other funny, empathic and caring entities who soon disappear into a kind of robot rapture, forcing their human companions to have romances with each other again rather than with their computers.
Scare factor: 1
Chance of actually happening: 8
Famous line:

The heart is not like a box that gets filled up; it expands in size the more you love. I’m different from you. This doesn’t make me love you any less. It actually makes me love you more.

 

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About the author

Claire Bell is the health and wellbeing editor of Midlifexpress. She is the author of Stone Age Secrets for Mind and Body and Comma Magic. Print and ebooks available on Amazon.


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