Sci-fi thrillers that suggest tech is not to be trusted
Turn on the news at the moment – or ask Alexa to turn it on – and it is nothing but scare stories about the dangers of Artificial Intelligence, and how humankind will be taken over and wiped out by ultra-intelligent robots. It’s not like the sci-fi genre hasn’t been telling us this for decades! The new sci-fi SIGHT EXTENDED, released in the UK from 12th June 2023, is a dark and imaginative exploration of the dangers of letting technology take over your life, and the terrifying possibilities of Augmented Reality running amok. To celebrate its release, here’s a look at some of the best films that suggest technological progress comes at a cost.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1969)
Stanley Kubrick was fascinated by the concept of Artificial Intelligence – he developed the film A.I: Artificial Intelligence, which was directed by Steven Spielberg. At the end of the 1960s, Kubrick introduced cinema audiences to the original sentient computer, HAL 9000, (standing for Heuristically programmed Algorithmic computer), a hyper-intelligent bot on a spaceship searching for signs of life in outer space. There’s a human crew, but HAL knows best and decides to take over. Now, if that isn’t a red flag for handing power to computers, nothing is!
The Terminator (1984)
James Cameron’s sci-fi classic sees the Skynet computer, linked across the world, gaining self awareness and deciding to eradicate humanity. To ensure this, it makes a lethal robot, the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), sending it back in time to kill the mother of the man leading the resistance against Skynet’s dangerous world domination. Again, could the message not be clearer – maybe we need to step away from the tech!
Bradley Cooper is a struggling writer who tries out an experimental pill that enhances the user’s mind. It gives him access to 100 per cent of his brain power – meaning that in no time at all, he is rich, successful, and the smartest guy in any room. The down side? A tablet a day keeps reality at bay, and Cooper loses his way – the pills have rather unnerving side effects. Like Sight Extended, Limitless drives home the message that when you artificially change everything in your life, you’re headed for a fall.
Ex Machina (2014)
A tech guru with some very big, ambitious, and some might say, foolhardy ideas, creates what he hopes is the perfect android – Ava (Alicia Vikander, Tomb Raider), a beautiful, obedient and intelligent robot that he wants to pass for an actual human being. The catch in the situation is that if you create something that can think for itself – and can generate its own opinions – what if said piece of tech decides it wants to do something for itself? For example, it might not want to be imprisoned in a tech guru’s compound…
In this sci-fi thriller, Maika Monroe (It Follows) is a woman imprisoned in a house controlled by an Artificial Intelligence system called Tau (voiced by Gary Oldman), owned by Games of Thrones’ Ed Skrein. She must attempt to outwit Tau, one of the most advanced A.I. computers in the world. Good luck with that.
Leigh Wannell (the co-creator of the Saw horror franchise) wrote and directed this sci-fi horror thriller, with Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), paralysed after a carjacking, being offered an incredible opportunity – a miracle chip implant called Stem. It will not only restore his movement, but, like the pill in Limitless, allow him untold skills. And what do you know, things don’t work out too well for Logan – Stem takes on a life of its own, and starts making him do things he doesn’t want to.
Sight Extended (2023)
In a near-future dominated by augmented-reality eyepieces, a troubled young man who suffers from agoraphobia experiences an unlikely transformation when he comes across a mysterious app that transforms every facet of his life into a game. Echoing the twisted dystopian visions of TV’s Black Mirror, Sight Extended is a cautionary tale for the 21st century. Be careful what you wish for, because this A.I. might just get it for you!