In any list of movies that explore the meaning of intelligence and the possibility of artificial intelligence, one would probably include Metropolis (1927) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). However, I could not think of any film made between these two dates (1927 and 1968) that seemed to explore the nature of artificial intelligence. I would not include incidental robots (like Gort or Robby) to be an exploration of what it means to be intelligent.

There seems to be a 40 year gap in which questions of artificial intelligence were not discussed cinematically and only 2001 restarted the discussion. Is this correct or am I missing major films made between 1927 and 1968 that explored what it means to be artificially intelligent or for a human to create intelligence? If not, then what explains this gap? Can anyone shed more light on the situation of artificial intelligence in movies during that period?

  • I'm on a phone so this will have to be a quick copy and paste job.... theguardian.com/culture/gallery/2015/jan/08/…. Mar 10 '16 at 3:54
  • None of the movies on that list fit my criteria. Did you read the question? Mar 10 '16 at 4:00
  • The Invisible Boy from 1957 features Robby the Robot, but the villain is actually a sentient super computer. Mar 10 '16 at 18:21
  • A little poking around IMDB also turned up Mandragore from 1952, which seems to be about an artificial woman. Mar 10 '16 at 18:34
  • Mmm - Robbie was a pretty important character in Forbidden Planet - exhibiting intelligence, humor and was important for demonstrating how unusually advanced Morbius's technology was.
    – iandotkelly
    Jul 15 '16 at 15:26

The idea of an artificial intelligence was not out of fashion in those years. This can be seen in the several episodes of Star Trek (1966-1969) where the idea is discussed (not movies, though).

There are plenty of movies in the period that have some sort of robot or computer as a central agent in the plot. It might be a little much to expect that they would all be classed as "artificial intelligence" or that this keyword would be used in IMDB descriptions as that term was first coined only in the late 1950s and didn't become popular until much later (see this recent Economist article).

A search on "artificial intelligence" IMDB won't show many productions.

One possibility, though, in movies is Alphaville.

A search on "robot" will throw up a lot more during the period and some of those may well have the themes you seek. I'd say that The day the Earth Stood Still (1951) would count as an intelligent robot plays a central role and the implications of its decisions are very important.

There are many other possibilities, though I'm less familiar with the movies. One example would be The Creation of the Humanoids.

The problem finding examples might not be that the topic is not discussed but that our modern terminology is not used when describing it.

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