Understanding Humanity Through the Lens of AI in Movies

Media allows for people to learn more about the world. Whether the media in question is depicting the world as it is today, a world that Earth could never be, or somewhere in between, it still reflects the author’s beliefs and thoughts. Interestingly, sometimes nonhuman characters can actually showcase most what people believe about humanity, with AI being some of the most obvious examples. This ranking of AI in movies will show you some of the most intriguing AI that teach you about the meaning of humanity

HAL 9000 – 2001: A Space Odyssey

If you were to ask someone to think of the most iconic AI in movies, many people would probably first say HAL 9000. But HAL 9000’s place in this movie is ironically less as an AI and more as a human. Many movie critics have noticed that the “humanity” of the characters in this movie seems inverted. HAL 9000 showcases emotions like jealousy and paranoia, while the human characters are cold and uncaring. Could humanity actually be the inciting reason for the carnage that takes place?

Samantha – Her

The movie Her follows a man who falls in love with Samantha, his AI virtual assistant. The story also asks interesting questions about humanity and the existence of AI, some of which are implicit and some of which are explicit. The main character’s ex-wife explicitly expresses her disdain that the main character could fall in love with a “computer,” but it’s up to the viewer to decide whether they agree with her.

Bender – Futurama

Bender is everything that a human usually is, all trapped in a robot’s body. Futurama is overall a comedy, and that’s why Bender is such a difficult character — he’s a womanizer, he’s rude, he’s annoying, and he’s mean. But he also forms interesting relationships with other characters, and every now and then, he even seems to show heartfelt emotion toward others. In some ways, the rude things he does actually make him more like a human than anything else he could do.

Ava – Ex Machina

The plot of Ex Machina hinges around the actions of just four people. At the end of the day, Ava, the only AI in the movie, is the only one who gets out alive. She moves from where she is at the beginning of the movie, a veritable prisoner in her home, to a free woman that looks just like a real human. The question that you have to ask yourself is, does it matter that she harmed people to do it? Does that make her evil, or does it make her human?

Robocop – Robocop

Rather than approaching from the angle of an AI who acts human, Robocop actually approaches it from the other angle. This story regards a man who is brutally injured in a horrific accident. To keep him alive, a company offers to turn him into a robotic police officer. However, in doing so, he also loses much of his ability to access emotions. The crux of the story, then, is whether someone can actually lose their humanity and become a robot.


AI in movies offers a number of interesting dilemmas. Whether you’re interesting in looking through the idea of loving an AI or you want to consider what truly makes a character “human,” there’s a story out there for you to use. This ranking of AI in movies is only the start. Keep an eye on the AI you see in movies; you might discover something new about yourself.