Best of 2023

Why Is Everyone Talking About (The Movie) A.I. Artificial Intelligence?

When I think of great movies of the 21st century, I think of films like There Will Be Blood, The Social Network, Ladybird, and even Get Out. As a “film buff,” I really enjoy staying up to date on the new releases while also going back and rewatching beloved films from the past. In the age of the internet, I understand that films have a way of being reappraised years after they are released. Younger generations will watch these films and find them poignant or meaningful while others will rewatch them with a contemporary lens and think “There’s more here then I might have initially thought.” All of this is to say, I love the movies and I really enjoy engaging with them on a critical level, but I cannot for the life of me understand why everyone right now is so obsessed with the 2001 Steven Spielberg Film A.I. Artificial Intelligence. 

It’s like all of the sudden everyone is talking about the movie A.I all of the time. It’s on the news. It’s in magazines. Heck, it’s even water cooler conversation at work. It’s everywhere! People are discussing this Haley Joel Osment film and engaging with it in ways that seem borderline obsessive. And the opinions are so wide ranging and all encompassing. Some are obsessed with the movie A.I. and think of it as the future (whatever that means), while others seem to genuinely loathe it. At my office, people talk in hushed tones about the future of A.I. and whether it will, indeed, put them out of work. I just shake my head. If you’re worried about a Jude Law movie taking your job, then I feel bad for you. Especially a movie that isn’t, in my humble opinion, even in Spielberg’s top 10. The people I work with in the data entry field seem like they are actually afraid of the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence, which is their prerogative, I guess. Personally, I find Jurassic Park and The War of the Worlds to be considerably more frightening. But I’m also smart enough to know that a movie about dinosaurs or aliens isn’t going to steal my mundane, repetitive, data-driven job that pays me far more than I am worth. 

I understand that A.I. Artificial Intelligence was initially a Stanley Kubrick film project, so that gives it some extra cultural cache. But like, I don’t know, why don’t you guys spend time talking about movies he actually made? Somehow, A.I. is prompting companies to alter their entire business approach. I see jobs listed on my company’s website asking for people to fill roles as “experts” of A.I. By that logic, shouldn’t I be seeing a bunch of Barry Lyndon related job postings on the web too. Why aren’t companies in the market for experts on the erotic Christmastime classic Eyes Wide Shut? I don’t get it. It’s as if the whole world has suddenly become obsessed with this, frankly, somewhat sterile and mundane film. I was a part of a company-wide email last week where our CEO said that the company would “be embracing A.I. in new and exciting ways moving forward.” I asked my coworkers if they were excited for the upcoming company movie night and they just hung their heads. Maybe they’d rather watch Monster House or something I don’t know. 

Schindler’s List is important. Jaws is important. Saving Private Ryan, might even be important. But A.I. Artificial Intelligence is not. My bosses sent me an invite for a meeting where I suspect I’ll have the opportunity to outline my feelings on the film. The meeting has a subject line simply titled A.I., and it’s scheduled at 4:50 p.m. on a Friday, which strikes me as somewhat unusual.

Oh well! 

I like the 2001 Film A.I. Artificial Intelligence, but is it really worth all this attention?