The Top 5 Movies Showing AI Correctly

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Smart machines, talking robots, self-driving cars and other amazing inventions powered by Artificial Intelligence have become reality not the fantastic fiction it was not long ago. We have seen intelligent computers only on TV screens, not admitting the idea this technical miracle is possible in real life. Hundreds of movies demonstrate the incredible possibilities of AI technology starting from implanting a human brain into a robot, and ending with a love story between a machine and a human. A few years ago, we took these “fairy tales” at face value, but now being the witnesses to technical progress, we can competently rate good, old movies about AI through the prism of facts. In this article, we compose a list of the top 5 legendary films with scientifically plausible plots showing Artificial Intelligence correctly to the max.

5. I, Robot (2004)

Preview: The events occur in the future (2035), where robots have become an integral part of human life, but not all people are happy about this innovation. Some of them see a potential threat in the robots, despite the fact they are programmed to help humans, and their original program excludes harm to people in every possible way. A detective, Del Spooner, has the same negative attitude to robots. He is charged with investigating the death of the leading developer for the corporation, U. S. Robotics, Alfred Lanning. Del Spooner suspects one of the company’s robots is the culprit.

Correct information: “I, Robot” is a movie conveying the three laws of robotics by Isaac Asimov most accurately: 1) A robot may not injure a human being or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; 2) A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where these orders would conflict with the First Law; 3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as this protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

These laws are an excellent starting point for creating a secure Artificial Intelligence system; however, one robot in the film, in some ingenious way, violates them. Regarding the fact this is impossible from the point of view of science, the director provides a fairly logical explanation of how it could happen. According to “zeroth law,” inherent in machines, “a robot may not harm humanity, or by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.” At some point, the robot, Sonny, decides humanity has become a threat to itself, and this must be confronted. This behavior shows us AI can interpret the rules laid down in it from the beginning.

Wrong information: The addition of new laws can really affect the way the robot’s behavior changes, but it does not explain how and why the robot named Wiki created this law. Robots can not change their own program and set new goals. “There are mathematical theories that prove a perfectly rational goal-achieving agent has no motivation to change its own goals,” explains Marcus Hutter, a German computer scientist.

Realism estimation: 6.5/10.

4. Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

Preview: Built to protect and help manage the whole country, the supercomputer suddenly refuses to obey humanity and begins to act at its own discretion jointly with its Russian counterpart.

Correct information: There is a severe misconception a machine must become absolutely free to resist a human. Actually, smart machines change their behavior through new programming algorithms with no idea to oppose mankind. Confrontation by robots, in fact, is inconsistent with their behavior for our needs. “It’s quite incautious to formulate goals by programming artificial intelligence, and we may not like the result,” says Stuart Russell. At the same time, Markus Hatter presumes he won’t object to the power of intelligent machines. “People are greedy and inclined to defend only their interests. A rational computer with intelligence superior to the human can actually create a more just society,” he says. The scientist also recalls the words of a computer he agrees with: “You say you will lose freedom. But freedom is an illusion. All that you lose is your sense of pride.”

Wrong information: The idea a computer on punch cards can be powerful enough to conquer mankind is certainly implausible, but this film produced in 1970 definitely deserves our forgiveness. According to computer specialist Rodney Brooks, tech improvements always go in stages. Consequently, before we witness a computer taking power over a person, there have to be computers which we unexpectedly lose control over. Luckily, this situation is still far away.

Realism estimation: 7/10.

3. Bicentennial Man (1999)

Preview: The robot, bought by one family as a butler, eventually notices human feelings and tries to become a real man replacing his mechanical parts with living ones.

Correct information: In this film, a robot powered by Artificial Intelligence has a friendly attitude to people which, according to experts, is more like the truth than machine uprisings. “We have no reason to be afraid of creatures with AI,” notes Randy Goebel, an Artificial Intelligence specialist from the University of Alberta in Canada.

Wrong information: According to Markus Hatter, as well as in the film, “Transcendence.,” it is an unrealistic situation for the robot to try to turn into a man, have a human body and become mortal. The expert states, every superior Artificial Intelligence understands the advantages of inorganic existence. Plus, as in many other movies, there are questions regarding the fact the robot somehow acquires its own purposes of existence instead of programmed ones.

Realism estimation: 7.5/10.

2. Her (2013)

Preview: A lone writer sets up a new, intelligent operating system on his computer, designed to fulfill all the desires of a user. He finds so many things in common with this system a romantic relationship is established between them.

Correct information: The Artificial Intelligence system has no body, only a voice. In the film, we see in order to perceive an object as a person, the object doesn’t have to look like a person with a human body. Stuart Russell, a British computer scientist, emphasizes people are inclined to become addicted to robots, and this is a difficult concept. It’s a bad idea to make them look like real people.

In the film, it is shown how AI differs from human. At some point, the protagonist finds out although his virtual lover Samantha communicates with him almost around the clock, she simultaneously conducts many similar conversations with other users. “Machines can not perceive the world similarly with the same speed as people,” Russell explains.

Wrong information: The director doesn’t reveal the truth of how an intelligent system works. In addition, the computer experts note it is strange in the modern world, the movie shows, all other objects have remained virtually unchanged. If people are able to create a sophisticated AI system, then they should certainly be able to create other advanced things.

Realism estimation: 8/10.

1. A Space Odyssey (1968, 2001)

Preview: The crew of the spacecraft, Discovery, goes on a research trip to Jupiter. On the spaceship, there is a newly developed onboard computer, HAL, with embedded Artificial Intelligence. The crew is investigating strange signals coming from the moon, and discovers there is something wrong with HAL.

Correct information: The computer scientists agree Artificial Intelligence shown in this old film is most similar to real developments in this sphere. One of the astronauts says although HAL seems alive, in reality they don’t know for sure if it has feelings. Stuart Russell supports this opinion. The system demonstrates real fear when a person slowly deactivates it, but is it really fear or its last effective way to achieve a goal and carry out a mission?

Artificial Intelligence in “A Space Odyssey” sticks to the program and never deviates from prescribed goals. unseemly acts are committed only to complete a mission. In general, the film shows consciousness is an optional attribute of the AI system.

Wrong information: We did not give this legendary film a maximum rating only because it does not provide more detailed explanations of how the Artificial Intelligence in HAL works. In essence, scientists can not give a clear answer to this question at the present time. In 1968 (when the first version of this movie appeared), it was absolutely impossible.

Realism estimation: deserved 9.5/10.

Verdict: The Old Hollywood Knew More About AI

Analyzing the movies about Artificial Intelligence, we see 50 years ago people had a fairly good understanding of its real possibilities and peculiarities. Three of the five top films were produced in the last century, and by the criteria of realism and scientific accuracy, they left in the can novelty films as “Eagle Eye,” “Ex Machina,” “Lucy,” “Chappy” and other Hollywood creations we didn’t present on our list. We hope the new era of AI development brings us more exciting films correctly showing this incredible technology. What is your favourite movie about AI and how do you assess it from the point of view of computer science? Share your opinion in comments and join our innovative community.