After asserting complete dominance over the world, humans have become ever more eager to surpass their current homo sapiens status and elevate themselves into deities. The idea of creating a machine that’s capable of mimicking the cognitive functions of a conscious mind is an incredible, yet terrifying concept, and one that’s dominating the innovative thinking of modern society. Artificial Intelligence, however, has been fascinating humankind for longer than one might think. Attempts to create “thinking” machines can be traced as far back as the 1300s, yet the mere idea of sentient machinery reaches far back into ancient storytelling.
We guess human beings are just really interested in the idea of playing God.
With the 20th century came the realisation of this sci-fi foretelling. Machinery and programming became increasingly advanced and the “thinking machine” emerged as a possible reality. This ignited a plethora of science fiction movies - such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner, to name a few - all eager to get ahead of the curve with their predictions of how AI would soon shape the future.
Then, with the 21st century came an explosion of technological advancements that propelled us faster towards creating sentient beings of incomprehensible intelligence. And if you’re one to believe in professional guesstimations, experts actually predict that complete Artificial Intelligence will outperform humans in all tasks within the next century. Uh oh…
It’s this ever-approaching reality - cemented with overwhelming scientific evidence - that has inspired the present “not-so-science-fiction” genre, and with it a host of new movies. With the everyday Joe gaining access to a more widespread and accepted understanding of Artificial Intelligence - and what it means for the future of humanity - the last ten years has gifted us with a surge of films that address the issue of self-conscious machinery.
Let's take a look at the best Artificial Intelligence films of the last decade.
Some potential spoilers ahead!
10. The Machine (2013)
“How do I know that you’re alive and not just a clever imitation of life?”
Caradog James’ 2013 sci-fi thriller thrusts us into a not-too-distant future, set against the bleak backdrop of the Welsh countryside. The UK is currently amidst a cold war with China and the Ministry of Defence believe advancements in Artificial Intelligence will give them the upper hand in the coming power struggle.
The MoD programme, fronted by genius AI engineer, Vincent (Toby Stephens), finally cracks the mystery of artificial sentience, resulting in the lifelike AI, Ava (Caity Lotz). Although naive at first, the machine soon begins to understand her place within this advancing and hostile world.
Although this film is eclipsed by its more successful brethren (Most notably, number 2 on our list), it still retains enough thought-provoking indicators of where we are heading as a species to be well worth a viewing; especially if you’re into sexy blonde robots…
… And come on, who isn’t?