Artificial Intelligence is already hard at work revolutionizing our world. It may come as a surprise to realize that much of our perception of AI comes from films. The reason for this is simple, while AI was still just a dream as the technology and data required simply was not available, filmmakers were already creating works of art that reflected the many possible futures of AI.

Since AI is a big part of what makes and so successful, we decided to honor the hard work of filmmakers with our top 8 AI films ever made.

1.  2001: A Space Odyssey


2001: A Space Odyssey is unquestionably legendary director Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece. The most stunning thing about this film is that with a few exceptions, it looks incredibly modern and undated. That it caused such a storm when it was released over 50 years ago comes as no surprise.

The film’s exploration of human dependence on artificial intelligence is about as existential as it gets. At first, the ship’s onboard computer, Hal, is a warm friend who eases the burden of controlling the ship while keeping the astronauts company, however, when an error occurs, things get serious very quickly, and an AI vs human battle that will only have one winner begins.

2. Blade Runner


Another film that immediately brings to mind the old adage “they don’t make them like they used to”, Blade Runner is another cinematic masterpiece that leaves the viewer with more questions than it answers.

Indeed, the original ending (now thankfully restored in the Director’s Cut editions) refused to give any clear answers as to whether or not one of the main characters, Rachel, would survive. Sadly, this form of ending that left audiences uncomfortable has disappeared from our screens, let’s hope AI-assisted filmmaking can help bring it back soon.

The film tells the story of a group of AI beings that have returned to earth to the company that created them in an effort to extend their 4-year lifespan.

3. The Terminator


A film that needs little introduction and is one of the most instrumental films in creating the image of the AI dystopia that awaits humanity.

The film tells the tale of a resistance fighter and an AI killer robot, known as a Terminator, that have both been sent back from the future in order to try to protect/kill the mother of the future resistance leader.

The Terminator was such a powerful and commercially successful film that it has so far spawned multiple sequels and several computer games too. While it is a vision of the future of AI that will scare the hell out of you, it remains one of the best action/thriller films ever made.

4. The Matrix


Another AI film that changed the cinematic landscape was The Matrix. Rather than portraying AI systems in a futuristic human world, The Matrix shows a world that is entirely being generated by a computer system in order to allow the system to harness ‘human power’.

While most of the avatars in this world are controlled by their human ‘slaves’ the computer system is generating the whole world and everything in it. The few humans who are free of this fake reality are able to plug in and interact with everyone else, however, they run a huge risk doing so as it is not long before computer-generated baddies are on their tail-chasing them down.

5. Ex Machina


Ex Machina takes a very humbling approach to artificial intelligence. Rather than being seen as a threat to humanity, the AI humanoid becomes the figure of sympathy in the film as it is seen as a victim in a vast experiment undertaken by its creator in his remote wilderness home.

The film’s protagonist is invited to test the AI but soon finds himself being emotionally drawn into the female’s plight as she vies for her freedom. A wonderful examination of the morality surrounding AI development and what rights to life AI should ultimately have.

6. Her


Director Spike Jonze has always had an original take when it comes to his films. Her is a wonderful examination of the relationships that humans will develop with their AI systems when we come to see them as humans too.

When a lonely writer gets an AI system that is designed to be the best possible companion to him, it is inevitable that he begins to fall in love with it and come to depend on it to be happy.

7. AI


After an artificial intelligence boy is adopted by a human, he soon begins to develop emotions that lead him on an adventure to try to win her love. This sympathetic approach to understanding AI shows an accurate story of how futuristic humans will interact with sophisticated AI systems.

One of the first films where the audience is exclusively on the side of the AI rather than the humans, it is arguably a very visionary approach to AI while also being an interesting examination of how we humans are already treating other groups that we don’t regard as our own.

8. Star Wars


Another film that needs no introduction is George Lucas’ Star Wars. The film features a number of robots which are advanced AI systems. Both R2D2 and C3PO became so well-liked that they have starred in more Star Wars films than any of the human characters. Perhaps a positive example of how we humans can and will accept AI systems into our lives.