Portrayals of AI in Movies Over the Years

An AI-driven humanoid robot found in Metropolis in 1927, a cloud-neural network in the form of Skynet in the Terminator series, an intelligent helper bot in Wall-E, and an A.I. chip capable of integrating with the human brain in Upgrade — these are just some of the ways artificial intelligence has been portrayed through the years in film.

It makes sense AI finds itself embodied in various manners, as there are many different forms and versions of the technology. The various forms have a range of uses. AI may direct operation of parts and limbs of a robotic skeleton, it may serve to differentiate aspects of a photo in order to recognize patterns for medical diagnosis, or it may even produce outcomes of systems in video games, among a myriad of others. Though, the movies do showcase different forms and abilities for AI that portray it as much more versatile and intelligent than it actually may be right now. Some of these stories craft an AI with awareness to enjoy or helps humans, and others showcase versions that hurt or destroy. In the end, though, all these different instances of artificial intelligence simply act on their coding. Or do they? Is it possible for underlying code to generate an ability to act out of true self-aware volition — to create a truly conscious being? How different is such coding from our own genetic coding that constantly interacts with our environment and underlies our ability to choose? While this is pondered, check out this infographic provided by Brian Thomas of Enlightened-Digital for some key portrayals of AI in film.


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