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In Spider-Man 2, Doc Ock goes rather insane, partially influenced by the arms begging to take control of his mind. When he is first shown with the arms, he explains that he keeps his mind separate from the AI in the arms by using an inhibitor chip, which keeps his 'high functions' separate from them. However, once this chip breaks he begins to go mad, turning evil.

My question is though, why would he even need to program an AI into it? What's that supposed to do for him?

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    IRL the arms of an octopus each have their own separate "brain", as the motor control required is very complex. This leaves the central brain free for advanced problem solving and more goal-oriented control. – Stop Harming Monica Mar 19 at 13:33
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He programmed an AI into the arms to make them work better as an extension of his body. And he created the inhibitor to prevent the arms from getting too smart and influencing him.

You can see the arms adjusting some things in the machine in this scene, that I imagine is the AI that is doing and helping Doc:

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