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By Chris Kavan - 09/02/10 at 10:11 AM CT
Some say the world will end in fire;
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
- Robert Frost
From what I can tell from movies, the world will not end in fire or ice but in man's hubris in creating machines that can think. There are plenty of apocalyptic scenarios to choose from, but A.I. is always a favorite. Here then are my favorite out-of-control A.I. films.
1) The Matrix - I know I hated how the series ended, but the original Matrix was an absolute masterpiece. Bullet time before it was copied ad nausea, those killer outfits and Agent Smith, cool as ice. Plus, human batteries and the idea that the entire world was but a fantasy created by machines. Heady stuff and fun to watch.
2) The Terminator Series - T2 is the best of the bunch, but even the newer entries have their moments. Arnold is the ultimate killing machine, a remorseless killer, then a machine with a soul and finally an obsolete protector - but always willing to completer the mission no matter the cost. I'm sure there are a whole bunch of paradox problems with the series, but don't try to think to hard, just go with it.
3) Blade Runner - It's always a better time when you need a test to determine whose real and whose constructed. Blade Runner can be construed as a thinking-man's robot film - replicants are about as close to human as A.I. gets. There are so many versions of this film floating around, your opinion can change with each viewing. Whatever the case, it's a sci-fi classic and A.I. wonder.
4) Westworld - Before Jurassic Park, there was Westworld where you could live out your fantasies (provided they fell into a certain theme) - well, until the park robots decided that enough was enough and slaughtered the fun-loving, hedonistic humans. There's been rumors of a remake going around for years, but I don't think anyone could out-do Yul Brenner as the badass cowboy. A bit cheesy and outdated, but in my mind still a classic.
5) I, Robot - Just because you make laws for robots doesn't mean they won't find a way around them. Leaving robots in charge of other robots is just asking for trouble in the end, as is treating thinking creations like second-class citizens. Just remember, even machines have their breaking point.
If movies are any indication A.I. will be a tremendous breakthrough, but eventually will bring about the near-extinction of the human race, or at least some form of violence. So think twice about buying that Roomba.