Artificial intelligence (AI) is creating a great impact on the world by enabling computers to learn on their own. While in the real world AI is still focused on solving narrow problems, we see a whole different face of AI in the fictional world of science fiction movies — which predominantly depict the rise of artificial general intelligence as a threat for human civilization. As a continuation of the trend, here we take a look at how artificial intelligence was depicted in 2019 movies.
A warning in advance — the following listicle is filled with SPOILERS.
Terminator: Dark Fate
Terminator: Dark Fate — the sixth film of the Terminator movie franchise, featured a super-intelligent Terminator named Gabriel designated as “Rev-9”, and was sent from the future to kill a young woman (Dani) who is set to become an important figure in the Human Resistance against Skynet. To fight the “Rev-9” Terminator, the Human Resistance from the future also sends Grace, a robot soldier, back in time, to defend Dani. Grace is joined by Sarah Connor, and the now-obsolete ageing model of T-800 Terminator — the original killer robot in the first movie (1984).
Spider-Man: Far From Home
We all know Tony Stark as the man of advanced technology and when it comes to artificial intelligence, Stark has nothing short of state-of-the-art technology in Marvel’s cinematic universe. One such artificial intelligence was the Even Dead, I’m The Hero (E.D.I.T.H.) which we witnessed in the 2019 movie — Spider-Man: Far From Home. EDITH is an augmented reality security defence and artificial tactical intelligence system created by Tony Stark and was given to Peter Parker following Stark’s death. It is encompassed in a pair of sunglasses and gives its users access to Stark Industries’ global satellite network along with an array of missiles and drones.
I Am Mother
I Am Mother is a post-apocalyptic movie which was released in 2019. The film’s plot is focused on a mother-daughter relationship where the ‘mother’ is a robot designed to repopulate Earth. The robot mother takes care of her human child known as ‘daughter’ who was born with artificial gestation. The duo stays in a secure bunker alone until another human woman arrives there. The daughter now faces a predicament of whom to trust- her robot mother or a fellow human who is asking the daughter to come with her.
Wandering Earth is another 2019 Chinese post-apocalyptic film with a plot involving Earth’s imminent crash into another planet and a group of family members and soldiers’ efforts to save it. The film’s artificial intelligence character is OSS, a computer system which was programmed to warn people in the earth space station. A significant subplot of the film is focused on protagonist Liu Peiqiang’s struggle with MOSS which forced the space station to go into low energy mode during the crash as per its programming from the United Earth Government. In the end, Liu Peiqiang resists and ultimately sets MOSS on fire to help save the Earth.
Alita: Battle Angel
James Cameron’s futuristic action epic for 2019 — Alita: Battle Angel is a sci-fi action film which depicts the human civilization in an extremely advanced stage of transhumanism. The movie describes the dystopian future where robots and autonomous systems are extremely powerful. To elaborate, in one of the initial scenes of the movie, Ido attaches a cyborg body to a human brain he found (from another cyborg) and names her “Alita” after his deceased daughter, which is an epitome of advancements in AI and robotics.
Jexi is the only Hollywood rom-com movie depicting artificial intelligence in 2019. The movie features an AI-based operating system called Jexi with recognizable human behaviour and reminds the audience of the previously acclaimed film ‘Her’, which was released in 2014. But unlike Her, the movie goes the other way around depicting how the AI system becomes emotionally attached to its socially-awkward owner, Phil. The biggest shock of the comedy film is when Jexi — the AI which lives inside Phil’s cellphone acts to control his life and even chases him angrily using a self-driving car.
Hi, AI is a German documentary which was released in early 2019. The documentary was based on Chuck’s relationship with Harmony — an advanced humanoid robot. The film’s depiction of artificial intelligence is in sharp contrast with other fictional movies on AI. The documentary also depicts that even though human research is moving in the direction of creating advanced robots, interactions with robots still don’t have the same depth as human conversations. The film won the Max Ophüls Prize for best documentary for the year.
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Vishal Chawla is a senior tech journalist at Analytics India Magazine and writes about AI, data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and blockchain. Vishal also hosts AIM's video podcast called Simulated Reality- featuring tech leaders, AI experts, and innovative startups of India.