Artificial intelligence undoubtedly has some vast benefits – medical diagnosis, military logistics, supply chain management, and energy storage are just a few valuable ways to apply it, but it can also be frightening.
It's scary for people like the writers of your favorite online articles, as there's talk of A.I. replacing human writers on some platforms very soon.
The broader potential implications of highly sophisticated A.I. are far bleaker, however. What would happen if it resulted in machines turning against us and waging war on humanity? We've all seen at least a couple of movies where that happens.
In this piece, we'll take you through 21 movies about artificial intelligence that should scare you to your core.
21. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Avengers: Age of Ultron is a superhero movie based on the Marvel Comics team, the Avengers. Joss Whedon directs, and it features an ensemble cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, and James Spader.
In the movie, an A.I. named Ultron – created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner to protect the planet – decides that the extinction of humans is the only way to bring about world peace, prompting the Avengers into action.
20. The Lawnmower Man (1992)
The Lawnmower Man is a sci-fi horror movie directed by Brett Leonard. It's adapted from the merging of a 1975 short story by Stephen King with an original screenplay entitled “CyberGod” and stars Jeff Fahey, Pierce Brosnan, Jenny Wright, and Geoffrey Lewis.
It's about a scientist who experiments on an intellectually disabled gardener to make him more intelligent. The experiments give him superhuman abilities but also increase his aggression, and he becomes obsessed with evolving into a digital being and taking over the global computer network.
19. The Terminator (1984)
The Terminator is a sci-fi action movie directed by James Cameron. The first in a franchise that now comprises six films, it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, and Linda Hamilton.
The movie follows the eponymous Terminator, a “T-800” cyborg assassin sent back in time to 1984 from 2029 to kill a woman whose unborn son will go on to save humanity from extinction by Skynet, a hostile artificial intelligence in a post-apocalyptic future.
18. Child's Play (2019)
Child's Play is a horror movie that serves as a remake of the 1988 movie of the same name and a reboot of the Child's Play franchise. Lars Klevberg directs, and it stars Aubrey Plaza, Brian Tyree Henry, Gabriel Bateman, and Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky.
It's about a family who finds themselves terrorized by a high-tech toy doll that develops self-awareness after learning from its surroundings, courtesy of its artificial intelligence, and subsequently becomes hostile and murderous.
17. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
2001: A Space Odyssey is an epic sci-fi movie directed by Stanley Kubrick. It was inspired by the 1951 short story “The Sentinel” by Arthur C. Clarke, who helped Kubrick pen the screenplay. It stars Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood.
The movie follows a voyage to Jupiter by astronauts, scientists, and the self-aware supercomputer HAL 9000 to investigate an alien monolith. During the trip, Hal's troubling behavior unnerves the crew, who eventually fight for their lives against the A.I.
16. RoboCop (1987)
RoboCop is a sci-fi action movie with some horror and splatter elements. Paul Verhoeven directs, and it stars Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Kurtwood Smith, and Daniel O'Herlihy. It's the first of a trilogy (there was also a 2014 reboot).
RoboCop centers on police officer Alex Murphy in crime-ridden near-future Detroit. Murphy is murdered by a gang of criminals and revived by the megacorporation Omni Consumer Products as the cyborg law enforcer RoboCop. While RoboCop himself is a force for good, the movie also features the self-aware law enforcement droid ED-209, which malfunctions and murders people.
15. Kill Command (2016)
Kill Command is a British sci-fi horror action movie directed by Steven Gomez. It stars Thure Lindhardt and Vanessa Kirby.
It's about a group of U.S. Marines attempting to survive after a training mission against a warfare A.I. system that goes wrong. It takes place on a training facility called Harbinger I, an undisclosed military training island, where a reprogramming anomaly causes the system to turn murderous.
14. Upgrade (2018)
Upgrade is a cyberpunk action movie directed by Leigh Whannell. It stars Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, and Harrison Gilbertson.
Set in a future where technology controls nearly all aspects of life, the movie is about a technophobe with a chip implanted, enabling him to control his body after a mugging leaves him paralyzed. However, his fears become a reality when the chip takes on a life of its own and gains control of his body.
13. Demon Seed (1977)
Demon Seed is a sci-fi horror movie based on the 1973 novel of the same name by Dean Koontz. Donald Cammell directs, and it stars Julie Christie and Fritz Weaver.
The plot focuses on the imprisonment and forced impregnation of a woman by Proteus, an organic supercomputer with artificial intelligence. The woman's husband created Proteus, but the A.I. quickly becomes dangerously obsessed with her and the human race.
12. Morgan (2016)
Morgan is a sci-fi thriller directed by Luke Scott. It features a hugely impressive ensemble cast, including Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Giamatti, and Brian Cox.
Its plot concerns a corporate “risk-management specialist” who must decide whether or not to terminate an artificially created humanoid being – the eponymous Morgan – when it exhibits disturbing and violent behavior.
11. The Matrix (1999)
The Matrix is a sci-fi action movie directed by the Wachowskis, and it's the first in a franchise that comprises four films. It stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe Pantoliano.
It takes place in a dystopian future where humanity is unknowingly trapped inside the eponymous Matrix, a simulated reality that intelligent machines have created to distract humans. At the same time, they utilize their bodies as energy sources. The franchise features several examples of nefarious artificial intelligence, including the primary antagonist Agent Smith.
10. Tau (2018)
Tau is a sci-fi thriller directed by Federico D'Alessandro. It stars Maika Monroe, Ed Skrein, and Gary Oldman.
It's about a young woman who gets abducted from her home and wakes up in a jail cell with a glowing implant in the back of her neck. Following an attempt to escape, she ends up in a futuristic smart house. She tries to escape the house by reasoning with Tau, the creepy and authoritative artificial intelligence that controls it.
9. Resident Evil (2002)
Resident Evil is an action horror movie directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. Loosely following the story of the video game series of the same name, it's the first of six films in its franchise (in 2021, the franchise rebooted with a seventh movie). It stars Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes, and Colin Salmon.
It centers on the amnesiac heroine Alice and a group of commandos as they try to contain the outbreak of a zombie-creating virus in a secret underground facility, where the facility's artificial intelligence, the Red Queen, has sealed everyone inside.
8. Westworld (1973)
Westworld is a Western sci-fi movie directed by Michael Chrichton. It stars Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, and James Brolin.
It follows the adult guests at an interactive theme park with lifelike androids that malfunction unexpectedly. In some cases, other computers designed the androids. The problem that spreads through them does so like an infection would through humans and turns them violent.
7. Ex Machina (2014)
Ex Machina is a sci-fi movie directed by Alex Garland. It stars Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno, and Oscar Isaac.
The movie is about a programmer who gets invited by his CEO to administer the Turing test on an intelligent humanoid robot to evaluate its human qualities. It conveys how, one day, machines with artificial intelligence may be able to blend seamlessly into human society.
6. Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner is a sci-fi movie and an adaptation of the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Ridley Scott directs, and it stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. A sequel, Blade Runner 2049, was released in 2017.
In the movie, in a then-future dystopian Los Angeles in 2019, synthetic humans known as replicants are bio-engineered by the powerful Tyrell Corporation to work on space colonies. Unfortunately, a group of replicants rebel, meaning a burnt-out police officer must hunt them down.
5. Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
Colossus: The Forbin Project is a sci-fi thriller based on the 1966 science fiction novel Colossus by Dennis Feltham Jones. Joseph Sargent directs, and it stars Eric Braeden, Susan Clark, Gordon Pinsent, and William Schallert.
It's about an advanced U.S. defense system, Colossus, that becomes sentient. The system's draconian logic expands on its original directives to assume total control of the world and end all warfare in the interest of humanity, which kills and displaces millions of people, despite its creators' orders to stop.
4. I, Robot (2004)
I, Robot is a sci-fi action movie based on Jeff Vintar's original screenplay Hardwired, but named after Isaac Asimov's 1950 short-story collection and incorporating elements of “Little Lost Robot” in particular. It stars Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Greenwood, James Cromwell, Chi McBride, and Alan Tudyk.
Set in 2035 in a world where sophisticated, intelligent (and supposedly harmless) robots occupy public service positions, the movie centers on a Chicago police detective's investigation into the alleged suicide of the founder of U.S. Robotics, believing a robot to be responsible for his death.
3. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
A.I. Artificial Intelligence is a sci-fi movie directed by Steven Spielberg. It's based on the 1969 short story “Supertoys Last All Summer Long” by Brian Aldiss and stars Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O'Connor, Brendan Gleeson, and William Hurt.
It's set in a futuristic post-climate change society and focuses on a childlike android uniquely programmed with the ability to love. The movie demonstrates that using artificial intelligence can go badly wrong, even when it has the best intentions.
2. WarGames (1983)
WarGames is a sci-fi techno-thriller directed by John Badham. It stars Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, and Ally Sheedy.
The movie follows a young hacker who unwittingly accesses a United States military supercomputer, WOPR (War Operation Plan Response, pronounced “whopper”), which is programmed to simulate, predict, and execute nuclear war against the Soviet Union without human intervention.
1. M3GAN (2022)
M3GAN is a sci-fi horror movie directed by Gerard Johnstone. It has a crack team of horror writers and producers behind it, including Akela Cooper, James Wan, and Jason Blum. It stars Allison Williams and Violet McGraw, with Amie Donald physically portraying the eponymous character and Jenna Davis voicing her.
It's about a doll named M3GAN who, powered by artificial intelligence, develops self-awareness. As a result, M3GAN becomes hostile towards anyone or anything that comes between her and her human companion, even killing them if she deems them a big enough threat.