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5 Insanely Mind-Bending Hollywood Movies About Artificial Intelligence

Some of the most popular Hollywood films of the past two years have been about artificial intelligence and what might happen when computers are able to match - or surpass - humans in terms of intelligence. These are 5 of the best Hollywood films about artificial intelligence

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#1: The Imitation Game (2014)


While this critically acclaimed film starring Benedict Cumberbatch is primarily about mathematician Alan Turing’s efforts to crack the German enigma code, the name of the movie is a reference to the most famous AI test ever: the Turing Test. Broadly speaking, a computer can be said to pass the Turing Test if it can trick a human into thinking that it’s a fellow human being. In other words, during any imitation game, a computer must be able to “imitate” a human for a sufficiently long period of time to pass. That’s harder than it sounds, even for today’s smartest AI-powered chatbots.

#2: Ex Machina (2015)


Most recently, the movie “Ex Machina” took the idea of the Turing Test to another level. In this film, a young hotshot AI theorist visits a remote destination where one of the smartest minds in the world is developing a beautiful humanoid AI (played by Alicia Vikander) capable of conversing with humans. The task is to determine whether this humanoid AI is so believable that it can be said to be human. Without giving away the ending, let’s just say that the ability to pass the Turing Test could have profound implications for humanity.

#3: Transcendence (2014)


Ok, this is where AI starts to get really scary because now you’re taking powerful machines and making them smarter than humans. This film, which stars Johnny Depp, takes a closer look at what happens when computers become “superintelligent.” AI theorist Nick Bostrom, who literally wrote the book on the topic (“Superintelligence”) defines this as “possess[ing] intelligence far beyond any of the brightest and gifted minds.” In other words, a machine that’s smarter than Einstein and Da Vinci combined. Be careful what you wish for…

#4: Her (2013)


This film from Spike Jonze starring Joaquin Phoenix raises the question of whether or not computers can experience emotions and feelings. Do they have a soul or consciousness? And at what point will machines become so human that we will literally have relationships with them? (Of course, it helps if they have a sexy voice like Scarlett Johansson’s)

#5: Lucy (2014)


Here comes Scarlett Johansson again, this time as an artificially enhanced human. When you create a hybrid of man (actually, woman) and machine, the results can be really scary. These creations may be capable of feats beyond anything humans might accomplish. "Lucy" is all about what AI legend Ray Kurzweil has predicted: the merger of mind and machine.


Of course, there are so many other great Hollywood movies that have touched on the topic of artificial intelligence and what happens when machines are able to think and converse just like humans. Too bad many of them have dealt with dystopian scenarios, but that just makes for a better “save the world” Hollywood plot narrative, right?

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