AI technology has been featured in sci-fi movies for years. Once thought of as a distant future has pervasively become an integral part of our everyday lives. AI technology monitors and drives our buying habits, it’s how we operate appliances in our home, and it helps us decide what to watch on TV.

Engineers are using AI in miraculous ways to improve life. Inventors are using thinking machines for food testing and medicine, law enforcement and safety with self-driving cars. Even the simplest items are becoming automated. Most households now have a Google Home or Amazon Alexa that they can use to turn things on and off, order products, or get information.

What we used to only be in movies and TV is our new reality. Things once imagined are now becoming commonplace like self-driving cars and devices that we talk to when issuing commands or asking questions. The virtual assistant is evolving rapidly, but how will this affect AI in movies?


How AI Has Evolved in the Movies

The portrayal of AI in movies has changed quite a bit. In early films, it was not featured very flatteringly. AI is one of those things that we are in awe of but secretly we fear. The movie Terminator showed us a world where AI becomes “aware” and the machines take over and try to kill all humans. iRobot is another example of the attempt at total annihilation of the human species by AI.

The first memorable use of AI in movies was HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The soothing, slightly mechanical voice that aided the ship’s crew eventually took on a menacing quality as the movie progressed. Back then, movie producers portrayed AI as flawed and inherently dangerous; the more intelligent it got, the more people had to fear.

Then the movie Alien showed off a life-like AI robot named Ash that acted just like a normal human being. However, near the end of the film, he malfunctioned and tried to kill the main character Ripley. In the next film of the series, Aliens, Ripley carried with her an inherent distrust of anything AI-related, further propagating the idea that AI is dangerous to humans.

In modern TV shows like The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, the AI assistant Gideon is smart, sexy, and even humorous at times. She is helpful without any hint of malice or envy towards humans. She does not make decisions without human approval. In the movie IronMan, the JARVIS component is efficient, informative, and essential as a resource for the superhero to help save the world.


Real Life Examples of AI

Comics and movies that feature AI are great for exposing kids to technology. Many schools are using drones with built-in AI technology to assist in teaching science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). Although movie portrayals of these advancements are far beyond the current status, it is still a useful learning tool.

A less obvious example of AI, seen often in movies, is face recognition. Professors at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena have discovered that facial recognition is not as complicated as we once assumed. This revelation is evidenced by the fact that most cell phones and many computers now have that same technology built-in. We use it daily without even thinking about what went into building it.

Intelligent computers and robotics have evolved exponentially along with the sci-fi movie versions. AI-powered robots are used extensively in the medical field now in both research and in performing delicate surgical procedures. Due to the massive computing power of a robotic brain, these assistants can make a more efficient diagnosis, form a quicker hypothesis, and better analyze the results of tests than their human counterparts.


Films With the Best AI

Many sci-fi movies and TV shows take place within the backdrop of a dystopian future often decimated by some AI disaster. Mad Max, Brave New World, The Giver, Blade Runner, and The Tower are a few popular ones. Despite the bleak landscape, superheroes emerge and, in the end, are usually victorious.

Movies like Her and Robot and Frank gave us an intimate look into the possible future of AI as companions for lonely people who cannot connect easily with other human beings. AI technology is used so immersively in sci-fi shows and movies that it is almost imperceptible. We have become accustomed to computers that think and make decisions to help their masters.

Superheroes come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and species. Their tech is enviable and a lot it acts from impulse due to AI technology. Things like Thor’s hammer, Captain America’s Shield, Wonder Woman’s Lasso, and Green Arrow’s bow and arrows make us all want to be superheroes — and with advancements in modern AI, those fantastical things might just be possible in the real world. We all have our favorite stories and heroes. So who is the superhero with the best AI? It is truly a personal decision; so we will let you decide for yourself.


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