Monday, 24 July 2017

Top 7 Examples of Artificial Intelligence in Film & TV

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Artificial intelligence in film and TV is being given more and more attention as its own sub-genre, somewhat separate from generalised science fiction at this point. With this, different creatives are taking it in more unique and exciting directions whether it be as the main focus of the plot or simply as a side bot. Several groundbreaking films have peaked the interest of the masses in this mesmerising mix of existentialism, forward thinking and playing God, but which are the top picks in terms of innovation and exploring the genre?


7. The Terminator
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Starting off with a classic, The Terminator can't be denied for its influence on the sub-genre, the film was completely different upon release in 1984 and inspired many with its simple appeal and intricate storytelling. This is just one of those films that is difficult to dislike even if the action heavy approach isn't your favoured flavour. The intricacy of the AI across the franchise really makes an enjoyable, time-hopping sci-fi franchise - and I'm sure there's another that's your favourite, but it's a strong group to be in. 

6. Ex Machina
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Ex Machina is a film that I put off for a while, I heard mixed reviews on it and took my time to get round to it. I finally did and then realised - even more so - why Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac had been appearing a lot lately in great cinema. Those two are terrific actors and as is Alicia Vikander who delivers a breath-taking performance as the AI named Ava. This film is very focused in the exploration of what it means to be human and the question of consciousness. It feels more direct and new, which is nice to have, instead of AI features in films having to be in an environment where there's a pre-established normality to their existence. Ex Machina will be remembered for its unique and sleek AI design and powerful emotional performances and themes but not quite as memorable as others.

5. Her
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Spike Jonze's Her is one of my absoulte favourite films, the world that Jonze has created is retro and colourful and new all at the same time. Introducing an AI into this creative reality works wonders with the expressive nature of the narrative. The AI here comes in the form of a new 'earpiece' artificial intelligence or consciousness. It may seem odd upon initial thought, but watching Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson play this man and his AI companion, and how they grow together is a beautiful thing. Meeting your maker is a common theme across the sub-genre, but love between the two has never been executed so finely.

4. Alien 
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Ridley Scott's Alien series incorporates AI perfectly in a sci-fi horror, and if Scott has proved anything over the years it's that he understands the danger and the threat that an AI can possess. Almost human but not, or more human than human, you decide. The androids of the series are definitely becoming more pivotal to what Ridely is aiming to explore with the series, putting life in its purest for of consciousness and comparing it to these hideous killing monstrosities that are the Xenomorphs and all their relatives. I think this is an outstanding exploration and use of AI on-screen to add something more than just 'here's a robot that'll do things for you and essentially be slaves' because why would we intentionally create life to then enslave it? If the topic interests you I'd highly recommend the newest Alien universe films Prometheus (2012) and Alien: Covenant (2017), both take a more in-depth of life and the androids feature as a more prominent and interesting plot device.

3. 2001: A Space Odyssey
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It can definitely be argued that Stanley Kubrick's HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey is the complete and most perfect example of artificial intelligence in a certain sense. 2001 is the absolute O.G. of the sci-fi genre and offers one of the earliest and groundbreaking portrayals of A.I in cinema history. As the times go, 1968 managed to predict a great many things - yes, it was a huge influence on Star Wars. However, for the constraints of this list no longer offers the most unique or in-depth exploration of the capabilities and capacities of artificial intelligence. HAL delivers a harrowing and mesmerising performance that has clearly paved the way for more modern examples and those that came after to push the poetic existentialism that surrounds the sub-genre.

2. Blade Runner
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It's difficult to think of artificial intelligence in film without Harrison Ford's devilish smirk sneaking into your thoughts, and who am I to deny him the top spot of the greatest example of AI in a film. Sadly not enough to put Scott Ridley's masterpiece into the top spot, but damn is it a very close second. Blade Runner is the real OG. Decker is not only a complex and intricate character, human or otherwise, the fact that many people dispute his humanity is a testament to what an extraordinary character he is, from his physical strengths to his ideals. On top of such an engrossing and poetic narrative, this film has some of the most beautiful visuals and sets I have ever seen in a film. Such a realistic yet retro feeling future is created, and you can see how this wasn't massively far off from where technology is advancing alongside society. The huge Coca-Cola adverts on digital screens on the sides of buildings, the neon lighted messages piercing through a smoky industrial mist that has Earth run down and abused. Blade Runner is an intricate masterpiece concerning AI that never disappoints, apart from possibly the odd over-acting mouth gape of Harrison Ford (I'm sorry).

Honourable Mentions
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A few great examples that just missed out on the top seven include Steven Spielberg's  A.I: Artificial Intelligence - the Pinocchio meets Blade Runner heart-tugger, The Matrix, Ghost in the Shell and I, Robot. 

It was incredibly difficult to decide between these last two for who I had taking the number one spot, with such an extreme variation between these examples it's clear to see this is a genre that filmmakers will be playing around with for many years to come and perhaps it'll become more relevant to our society, you never know.

1. Westworld
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Westworld is a HBO series that not only made me feel like I was sneaking away from Game of Thrones to see a side-bae , but even worse, I end up planning my life with this side-bae and before I knew it they were my number one. I'm sorry for allowing bae to sink into my non-sarcastic diction, I'm weak, it's still a little sarcastic though, I think. The strength of Westworld, like pretty much all of these artificial intelligence films, is that it is tremendously intelligent but not only has artificial intelligence been crafted in this universe, so too has an artificial world, essentially.

Westworld has a mesmerising opening credits scene and if you think the Game of Thrones one is great you're about to be very very impressed if you've not seen this one. The aesthetic of this version of AI, android, replicant or whatever phrase helps you understand this specific sense of designed life, truly becomes an art and a beautiful piece of it at that. They aren't made, they're woven. The balance and depth of this show will never cease to amaze and surprise me, you think you understand one more thing about the universe before getting a sharp taste of a higher truth, not just hidden, but restricted information. This isn't so simple as a 'step into a western' VR experience, it's still real life and the line between simulation and cruelty is wearing thin. What secures Westworld as my penultimate pick of the genre is because of its diversity and uniqueness. A lot of different things are being tackled and touched upon here, parallels between the wild west and the corporate modern world, contemplation on what it means to be alive or to be human. This show is truly astounding and has the separate but relevant crossover of narratives that put it right up there with great company like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad as a truly amazing cinematic series, with only the first season having aired, the hype and revelations are only set to get bigger and better.

1 comment:

  1. I am amazed to see how Google Autodraw tool can help creating varieties of shapes and figures, and now I can now understand why my son speaks so much about the advantages of using advanced machine learning in different fields.

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