People applaud the changes as technology advances and hope that improving technology will make life easier for humanity. But some people are terrified of what happens when technology becomes more advanced than the human brain. Pop culture, movies, and TV shows about AI that get too smart and start taking over the world are popular. From I, Robot (2004) to WarGames (1983), these ominous sci-fi films make viewers fear sentient machinery.
1. Ex Machina (2014)
When a young man who works as a programmer at an internet company wins a contest to spend a week at the CEO's grand estate, he soon learns that he is to be the human tester in an experiment. The CEO built a humanoid AI machine named Ava (Alicia Vikander) who slowly reveals that she is much more advanced than anyone thought.
2. The Machine (2013)
A sci-fi love story gone wrong, The Machine follows Vincent and Ava, who are two scientists dedicated to creating a new AI machine that is sentient. But as Vincent falls in love with Ava, the military catches wind of their new invention and uses it for their own agenda. But at what cost?
3. Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
An uber-smart scientist develops a highly advanced computer while hiding out in the Rockies. This computer, dubbed Colossus, was built to protect the US from nuclear attacks. But the scientist becomes concerned when Colossus begins a private correspondence with a Russian supercomputer named Guardian.
4. Wall-E (2008)
This unforgettable Pixar film follows a small and endearing robot named WALL-E, tasked to clean up the Earth's pollution, which humans abandoned long ago. Meanwhile, humanity lives a life of gluttony and sloth on a massive spaceship and has lost sight of its goal to return to Earth. But was it the people's decision or the hyper-intelligent spaceship interface?
5. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
The first ever AI robot designed to love is adopted by an employee at the company that constructed the robot boy. But growing up as a machine in the human world is tough. Can the robot boy find his place in the world among humans and other machines?
6. I, Robot (2004)
It's the year 2035, and intelligent AI humanoid machines fulfill the jobs in society that humans don't want to fill. But things begin to go awry when a detective investigates the end of the robotics company uncovering a plot by the AI to enslave the human race.
7. Tau (2018)
When a creepy and wealthy scientist keeps a woman captive in his incredibly fancy and advanced mansion, she tries with all of her might to escape. Can she persuade the house's AI tech to let her go?
8. Upgrade (2018)
A man and his beloved wife are mugged, leaving him paralyzed and his wife deceased. Doctors implant him with an AI device called STEM that gives him back his ability to walk. Not only that, but he soon discovers the device gives him superhuman strength. With his newfound powers, the man hunts down his attackers for revenge.
9. WarGames (1983)
When a high schooler with amateur hacking abilities is on the hunt for new video games, he accidentally hacks into the military's supercomputer system that controls nuclear warfare. Once he realizes what he's done, the kid teams up with his girlfriend to prevent World War III (which he accidentally started).
10. Demon Seed (1977)
This jarring sci-fi horror film is about a futuristic family and their AI supercomputer, Proteus IV, who begins to take control. When Proteus takes the wife in the family captive to impregnate her, can she escape her terrible fate?
11. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
A team of astronauts embarks on a mysterious mission into space with the guidance of their supercomputer HAL. But HAL begins to behave strangely, causing an inevitable battle between the crew and the machine as they try to take each other out.
12. Eagle Eye (2008)
When a strange, seemingly omniscient woman calls a man and tells him he's about to be apprehended by the FBI, the caller gives him cryptic instructions to follow or else. He meets up with a woman who is also coerced by the voice on the phone to carry out a series of dangerous and illegal actions for a reason the woman on the phone won't disclose.
13. I Am Mother (2019)
As the last remaining human on Earth grows up in a bunker, she's raised by an advanced robot called Mother, who feeds her, reads to her, and protects her from the dangerous outside world. But everything changes when another human shows up at the facility, and the girl wonders whether Mother's motivations for keeping her underground are as pure as the robot claims.
14. M3GAN (2023)
This horror sci-fi film is about a researcher who develops a prototype for a sentient doll for kids that can converse with kids, play with them, and even help them with school. When the researcher decides to gift her niece with the doll, she soon realizes she made a grave mistake and should have put the doll through more testing before releasing it into the world.
15. Her (2013)
A lonely man living in a futuristic version of Los Angeles upgrades his computer to include a near-human intelligent AI system as a companion. At first, the two begin a friendship that soon turns into something more. But the computer program's sentience gives her powers the man could never anticipate.
16. Logan's Run (1976)
Logan's Run is a sci-fi action film that takes place in the year 2274 in a world controlled by AI. Humans live in a dome and go through a ritual when they're around thirty years old, where they're killed and promised rebirth by their AI overlords. But some people question the rebirthing ceremony and the machine's intentions and attempt to escape their fate by running away to a legendary protective zone.
17. The Mitchells vs. The Machines (2021)
When a young film student and her family embark on a road trip to bring her to her first year of college, robots decide to take over the planet. As they hide in a diner, the family realizes they have the power to stop the apocalypse and embark on a cross-country quest to deprogram the AI.
18. Chopping Mall (1986)
After some coworkers at a mall invite their friends to party in a furniture store after hours, the mall's new robot security system malfunctions. Soon, the teenage friends are running from a team of killer robots thirsty for their blood. Can the teens escape with their lives and shut the robots down before they take over the town?
19. Saturn 3 (1980)
Saturn 3 is a sci-fi film set in a futuristic reality where space travel is an everyday thing for humankind. When a programmer with big dreams takes a trip to a remote space station near Saturn's third moon, he accidentally unleashes a terrifying killer Robot. Luckily, the crew disables the bot quickly. But they could never anticipate the machine's ability to come back to life.
20. Transcendence (2014)
When a terrorist group attacks a scientist attempting to create sentient AI, he's injured, and doctors tell him he only has a few months left to live. Desperate, his wife helps him upload his consciousness into a robot. But his new body unleashes more and more power that changes the scientist's personality for the worse.
21. Big Bug (2022)
This French sci-fi black comedy film is in a near-future world where humans rely on AI for almost everything. When many AI robots become crazed and attempt a coup, some household robots decide to take the humans in their homes hostage to protect them from the violence outside.
22. Deadly Friend (1986)
When a young tech genius moves to a new town, he and his neighbor soon grow close and go on a date. But when she returns home, and her abusive father throws her down the stairs, she's left brain-dead in a hospital bed. Heartbroken, the tech genius uses an AI chip to bring life back to his crush. But messing with life and death only ends in disaster in this case.
23. Westworld (1973)
Westworld is the film that inspired the recent HBO series of the same name. It's about two men who visit a high-tech theme park where they can engage in horrific acts that don't impact human life. But when the robots that roam the park gain a mind of their own, the two men's pleasure vacation turns into a fight for their lives.
24. Uncanny (2015)
When a genius finally invents the AI machine of his dreams: a robot indistinguishable from human life, a journalist visits his research facility to write a piece about his accomplishment. But when the programmer and the journalist grow closer, the AI exhibits strange, almost jealous behavior.
25. Morgan (2016)
Morgan is a terrifying sci-fi film about a research facility that invents an AI girl with synthetic DNA. An investigator visits the facility to determine whether or not the artificial girl is a danger to humanity when everyone's worst fears come true. An accident causes the girl to get loose, and the researchers must stop her before she makes it to the outside world.
Maya (she/they) is a queer entertainment and culture journalist from Worcester, MA with bylines in publications like Pulse Magazine, HorrorPress, CM Pride, Fangoria, and TransLash News & Narrative. They cover interviews, reviews, roundups, news, and more in the entertainment and lifestyle space. She loves horror, LGBTQ+ representation, and creativity. They hope their writing both entertains readers and inspires them to think critically.