What if your phone or computer became aware of itself? Would it be helpful, or would it want to dispense with you? Our obsession with artificial intelligence is becoming apparent in popular film. Here are the best 15 movies that explore the idea of smart systems becoming conscious. The concept appears as early as 1968 with the HAL computer system in 2001: A Space Odyssey and moves though last year's Ex Machina, with both movie revealing a scary view of a machine that wakes up.
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The line between a smart machine and a conscious machine is huge right now. The Deep Blue chess computer may beat your best game, but it doesn't know it's playing chess? What if it did? In most of these imagined versions of self-aware machines, the results are not positive for humans. For every Wall-E saving the world, there are a dozen Ex Machina's trying to take over the world.
A quick question: What sentient machine appears in a 1939 movie? Hint: it does a smart soft shoe. The answer is on the final slide.
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Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 15 years, 12 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.