AI in Film and Video Games
Speed up forward twenty years later, and AI appeared in the landmark 1951 movie The Day The Earth Stood Still. HAL, as he was called in that film, created very different characters. He was cold, calculating and ruthless; the epitome of an emotionless machine. But in the sequel, Watson is made to display emotions. That was perhaps one of the greatest triumphs for AI. It shows how AI can be humanized.
The decade of the sixties saw many films featuring an AI as the villain. The first was the Robbie valley story, where an artificially intelligent computer system roamed the streets of New York. It was the perfect movie for an AI to have emotions, to show humanity’s weakness.
It was just a small step before the first robot with a life and personality. In the Star Wars series, Alderley Ashburn, the daughter of a wealthy family was left as a young girl in space. She became a prized member of her crew and was considered a hot shot because she was the first ever holographic human being. Her character was so well hidden that she was almost a mystery. However, Alderley proved that artificial intelligence can have human qualities too.
AI in cinema came to the fore in the year 1960 with the release of the sci-fi movie, Robocop. The film featured the first animated character to have an extensive dialogue. The film also featured the first robotic assistant. The movie managed to combine the super-intelligence with believable dialogue. Thus, AI in cinema began to grow.
The coming of the Space Shuttle program changed the way we looked at AI. It took us away from the moon and back to the stars and gave us the ability to explore other worlds. Though the success of the shuttle program heralded the beginning of the AIs per se, it also heralded the decade of the wall-E. Thus, the robots of the decade would be different from those portrayed in the past. Wall-E was perhaps the first film of the new decade to feature AIs with a human-like personality.
Another science-fiction classic of the decade was Die Hard. This futuristic action film featured an AI assistant, Arlen Bales, who had the ability to talk. Though Bales was not given a voice, his artificial intelligence was able to speak in perfect English and convey feelings. The use of an artificial intelligence instead of a human being added a touch of reality to the fictional artificially intelligent character.
In the last decade and a half, artificial intelligence has appeared in a few more films. In the finale of the Harry Potter franchise, a basilisk killed Professor Dumbledore and nearly killed Hermione. Though a highly-intelligent snake with no emotions, basilisks share many of the characteristics of emotions and can exhibit behavior considered ‘silly.’ In the final scene of the same book, a basilisk killed Lockhart, causing the prophecy of doom to come true.
Artificial intelligence is still a hot topic today. Many people are concerned that artificial intelligence will overtake human minds and possibly do bad things such as take control of society or our government. Though it may never become a serious problem, the issue is one of future-minded researchers to address. AI in the film represents a unique section of the sci-fi genre that showcases the application of technology in a fictional setting. Though it is unlikely that a machine learning to take over the world will come to pass in a realistic way, the interesting potential of this genre makes artificial intelligence a fascinating genre unto itself.
Movies like Star Wars have helped jumpstart the decade-long interest in artificial intelligence. Even without George Lucas’ ingenious creation, Star Wars set the stage for the robot revolution. After the success of the original trilogy, there was a new interest in military technologies. Military robots became popular science fiction concepts. Robotic machines became a staple of science fiction novels and movies like Star Wars and Attack of the Iron Fist represented the best of what we had to offer sci-fi fans.
movies like Iron Man marked the beginning of the third installment of the Harry Potter series. The artificial intelligence in this movie was more realistic than anything that had previously been attempted and the stakes were greatly increased. Harry Potter himself went through the experiences of a professional military robot and showed the importance of cooperation between humans and these machines. Though not every robot will turn out to be friendly to humans, the potential for abuse is always present and is one of the key reasons as to why AI in the film is different than other forms.
In future articles I will go into the reasons as to why artificial intelligence is important in film and video games. For now, let’s keep in mind that artificial intelligence is basically defined as the ability to operate virtually, as well as smartly. Humans may very well evolve into machines, but it is highly doubtful if humans will ever fully turn into artificially intelligent supercomputers like in the James Bond and Star Wars movies. One thing is for sure, there is a lot of potential robotic overlaps and robots that will continue to be developed in the coming decades.