I remember this movie very fondly as well (not so much the second one). I’ve always had issues with the idea of AI needing to be “taught” like a child — as though an artificial brain would somehow need time to develop like a biological one. The idea of “childlike innocence” in an AI has always struck me as less believable than the reality of Johnny Depp’s ethereal consciousness in Transcendence or the emotionless apathy of Dr. Manhattan.
In fact, Wargames’ Joshua — despite not “understanding” the pointlessness of global thermonuclear war — isn’t so much childlike in this discovery as it is puzzled. Why bother asking “why” fight a nuclear war when the WOPR’s entire existence is predicated on the centrality of the concept? A religiously pious man would sooner ask God “why” than a created intelligence, I think.