Embrace the Future with the Best Documentaries on Artificial Intelligence

As humans adopt AI for practical use cases in everyday life, we’re moving away from the notion of robot apocalypse and more towards assistants and companions that help us accomplish more throughout the day. The industry has really made strides in the past few years.

To get an overview of what developments have been made in AI over past few years, we’ve collected a shortlist of the best documentaries on artificial intelligence and bots. They discuss the present-day reality of technology with a healthy dose of wishful thinking about what looms in the future. With the potential of AI, some of these docs might begin to feel like science fiction. But trust us — it’s all real!


Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World

This 2016 artificial intelligence documentary by legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog takes an existential look at various technological advancements and their effects on human life. From trolling to cyber warfare, Herzog takes on all matters big and small related to life online. Most notably, the film discusses the nature of bots and artificial intelligence, both of which are rapidly carving out a place in everyday consumers’ daily lives.


Plug & Pray

Following acclaimed futurists Joseph Weizenbaum and Raymond Kurzweil, Plug & Pray explores the stranger theory of where AI is headed: namely, the singularity. While we’re far away from that future, augmenting our workflows with chatbots and AI already makes us a bit super-human.

But will we eventually merge with machines to transcend evolution and achieve immortality like Kurzweil believes, or is a sober look at the future more likely? Feel free to dream big with this doc, which won a Bavarian Film Award in 2010 for Best Documentary.


Smartest Machine on Earth

When IBM Watson beat human contestants on the trivia gameshow Jeopardy, the public learned the awe-inspiring potential of artificial intelligence. Today, IBM Watson powers many bots and digital assistants, enabling them to accomplish tasks through natural language processing. Smartest Machine on Earth is focused primarily on IBM Watson’s Jeopardy performance, which was a watershed moment for AI and chatbots in the cultural consciousness.


AlphaGo

Like IBM Watson and Jeopardy, Google’s DeepMind proved AI’s abilities by competing against Go champion Lee Sedol. DeepMind won three out of four times in what is considered to be one of the most strategic and complex games there is. This recent documentary about artificial intelligence follows the DeepMind team leading up to the big tournament, and not without a flair for dramatics, making it one of the best documentaries on artificial intelligence. The man-versus-machine tension is palpable as the limits of AI (and the human mind) are set against one another.


Roboticize Me

Exploring the possible use cases of bots and AI and all the strange questions therein (will bots serve as romantic companions?), Roboticize Me is a unique documentary about artificial intelligence by treading new ground. The film pays special attention to the issue of ethics, or rights to be afforded to bots and AI as they become more real, lifelike and indistinguishable from humans.

One might think of Microsoft’s Tay, a chatbot who learned to become racist and anti-Semitic after being fed an onslaught of abuse by trolls. How will the way we treat and speak to bots in the future affect them — and ourselves? If you find this issue intriguing, you won’t want to miss this 2016 artificial intelligence documentary.