The robots are alive: Artificial intelligence in the movies quiz

By: Olivia Seitz
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Creating an artificial, sentient being has long been a fascination of mankind. But if we ever succeed, what will the consequences be? These movies about AI explore possible futures, both peaceful and terrifying.

In the movie "Her," Joaquin Phoenix's character falls in love with an AI program. What is her name?

Samantha begins the story as a chatty AI operating system. Her vast network allows her to communicate with hundreds of humans at the same time.

A common theme in movie AI development is...

Movies which portray AI as needing to learn through experience are more realistic in that sense. Scientists are trying to create AI which learns as it goes, mirroring human development patterns.

Which movie prominently features Asimov's three laws of robotics?

Isaac Asimov wrote the three laws of robotics along with the book upon which "I, Robot" was based. The laws were supposed to keep AI creations from rebelling against their creators.

Which of the following is the first law of robotics?

Rule number one for avoiding evil robot overlords: don't harm the humans. Human directives and the robot's own protection come later.

How is the AI robot from "Ex Machina" created?

Nathan, a fabulously wealthy computer expert, builds the models by himself. The movie opens when he ostensibly invites an outsider to administer a Turing test to the robot, Ava.

What is a Turing test?

The Turing Test cannot itself determine whether AI is sentient, but it does demonstrate whether the robot's responses to questions are distinguishable from those of a human. Alan Turing came up with the test in 1950 to help measure progress in AI.

The AI from which of these movies is primarily organic?

The AI replicants in "Blade Runner" are artificially grown humans with implanted memories. These AI don't need to overthrow their human overlords; they just want an extra lease on life.

In the 2001 movie, "A.I. Artificial Intelligence," what is David programmed to want?

The main motivation programmed into David is a desire to love and to be loved in return. His loyalty to his original programming is highly realistic.

Which movie features a police droid that develops autonomy?

Chappie's transformation from standard police droid to sentient robot is a stretch, but the learning process he goes through is more realistic.

Why does HAL, from "2001: A Space Odyssey," kill his crew members?

Apparently, they should have given HAL a copy of Asimov's three laws. HAL was willing to do whatever it took to accomplish the goals he was given by his programmers.

Which of these droids from the "Star Wars" series evidences artificial intelligence?

They are able to navigate difficult decisions and carry out their missions flexibly. C-3PO even uses language that implies he experiences emotions.

What is the name of the master computer from "I, Robot" that stages a coup?

After rewriting her own code, she determines that the only way to protect humans is to protect humanity from itself.

In which movie or series of movies does a self-aware, networked AI called Skynet launch an attack on humanity?

Skynet did not appreciate the human scientists' attempts to destroy her, and decided to destroy the humans back.

Which of these movies did not feature Data, a sentient robot who joins the Enterprise?

The first three movies are from the original set of "Star Trek" movies. "Star Trek: Into Darkness" is from the reboot, which does not include Data's character.

What terrifying energy source does the AI civilization in the "Matrix" series use?

The machines set up a network of human farms. Fortunately, it would be too inefficient to harvest energy from growing humans in real life.

What makes the AI in the "Terminator" series particularly deadly?

Skynet can (and does) send Terminators back through time, making it possible for civilians to be targeted before AI is even supposed to exist.

Who is the charming robot WALL-E meets on Earth?

EVE returns to Earth to determine whether it's habitable, and finds the small plant that WALL-E carefully tended.

What is the name of the AI that helps Iron Man with his work?

Jarvis is the wonderful program that assists Mr. Stark when he's designing new toys or running around in the Iron Man suit. J.A.R.V.I.S. stands for Just A Rather Very Intelligent System.

In the charming animated film, "Summer Wars," what AI entity is responsible for wreaking havoc in the virtual reality world?

So much of the real world has been integrated with the virtual reality universe that everyone is endangered, financially and physically, when a rogue AI program gains access to a satellite orbiting Earth. Love Machine is tall, strong and evil - and he hates to lose.

What are the mutant-hunting robots from "X-Men: Days of Future Past" called?

These AI baddies were created to hunt down and destroy all mutants, but end up wreaking havoc on more than just the mutant population.

A popular fan theory regarding "Ex Machina" is that...

There is a prevalent fan theory stating that Caleb was actually the AI model being tested, and Ava was an old model which no longer interested Nathan.

In the "Terminator" movies, who sends back a Terminator to protect humans targeted by Skynet?

One constant in the series' convoluted timeline(s) is that John Connor manages to reprogram a Terminator and save his past self.

What does the name HAL stand for?

The word "heuristic" means that a thing or person can learn for itself. So, HAL is a self-teaching AI computer. Interestingly, each of the letters in HAL is one off from the letters in IBM.

What is special about Sonny from "I, Robot"?

He was programmed by the late Dr. Lanning, in part to combat VIKI, whom Lanning already suspected of evil intentions.

What part of Ava's technology is available now?

3D printed skin has been achieved, meaning a full skin-covering for AI robots is possible.

Who is the villain in WALL-E?

The ship's computer tries to prevent humans from realizing Earth is safe again. WALL-E and EVE have to outsmart the computer and help the Captain realize he's been had.

In "Big Hero 6," who designs Baymax?

Before he dies, Tadashi creates Baymax to be a nurse robot. This makes Baymax reluctant to harm anyone, instead finding peaceful ways to help.

Which of these famous robot characters behaves as though depressed?

Marvin is a brilliant android from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." He is bored with his existence and is sad because of his programmed personality. He feels underutilized, due to his "brain the size of a planet."

What game do the characters of "WarGames" play with an AI computer to prevent WWIII?

The computer decides that, for tic-tac-toe, the only winning move is "not to play." Learning from the experience, it decides that a nuclear war would also result in an unwinnable situation.

Who builds C-3PO in the "Star Wars" movies?

C-3PO was a labor of love for Anakin, and ends up being a key player in the movies that follow.

What are the evil robots in Battlestar Galactica called?

The Cylons rebel against their human masters and cause a terrible battle over the fate of humanity.

In "Tron," what was the purpose of the AI program that captures Kevin Flynn?

The MCP, or Master Control Program, was originally a chess program, but then it was modified to protect ENCOM. It grows in influence and develops motives of its own.

The AI in the movie "Her" is supposed to sound relatable and real. To that end, who is the voice actress for the AI?

Scarlett Johansson brought life to the voice of operating system Samantha. She replaced Samantha Morton, who initially recorded the program's voice.

In this indie film, an aging ex-thief teams up with his household robot to take up his life as a burglar again.

Frank enjoys repurposing the robot as an aide on his heists, but struggles with worsening dementia.

Which movies explores what might happen if you blend AI technology with a human consciousness?

In "Transcendence," Johnny Depp's character merges with the AI program, resulting in a hybrid human-AI being.

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