Artificial intelligence (AI) characters add an interest element to sci-fi movies, mainly because they’re unpredictable. You never really know which way a movie will take them.
AI characters can be programmed to achieve a specific mission, which makes them pretty much unstoppable until that mission is accomplished. Other AI characters are given free rein to analyze data, make calculations, and react to situations in ways they see fit.
No matter what, movie characters with artificial intelligence are never the same as humans, and that makes them perfect canvases for plot twists and unique developments that can truly surprise us.
From machines tasked with eradicating humanity to friendly bots who strive for mankind’s best, here are our picks for the best artificial intelligence characters in movies.
12. Joi (Blade Runner 2049)
A girlfriend AI, you say? Well, there’s Joi from Blade Runner 2049, the AI projected in a hologram and programmed to be a companion. Despite being a hologram without a physical body, she can entertain and make you feel like you’re not alone.
She’s a product of the Wallace Corporation who’s designed to give what the customers want: care, comfort, and warmth, as seen when K’s Joi greets him upon coming home. The strength of the narrative, however, made Joi and K’s relationship feel quite human.
11. K (Blade Runner 2049)
Not all artificial intelligence are machines and cyborgs. Consider Officer KD6-3.7 (or “K” for short), who’s a bioengineered individual with muscles, blood, nerves, and everything a normal human has. He also has fake memories that have been implanted in him.
His doubts about the veracity of his fake memories became one of the turning points for the character and the plot of the film.
10. C-3PO and R2-D2 (Star Wars)
C-3PO is a protocol droid, R2-D2 is an astromech droid, and both are featured in the original Star Wars trilogy as companions of the lead characters. They are mechanical characters with artificial intelligence who add lots of comic relief to their scenes.
They come together as one on this list for one main reason: you can’t understand R2-D2 without his partner C-3PO translating for him.
9. T-X (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines)
The T-X is a more refined model of Terminator based on the T-1000. She has a tough endoskeleton (the same as T-800) and a mimetic polyalloy as covering that allows her to shapeshift (like the T-1000).
She also has built-in futuristic weaponry, including a plasma cannon and a system that can change weapons when destroyed or rendered unusable.
The T-X is the antagonist of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, sent back in time from the future to kill those who would rise against Skynet. She’s one example of an AI who will not stop until she’s accomplished her mission, and that adds tons of action and drama to her scenes.
8. JARVIS (Iron Man)
JARVIS was Tony Stark’s reliable AI interface in his Iron Man suits. JARVIS helps with navigation, control, suit maintenance, and security.
During Avengers: Age of Ultron, JARVIS was corrupted and destroyed by Ultron. His remains were then uploaded by Stark into a body made out of vibranium and powered by the Mind Stone, creating Vision.
After JARVIS was destroyed, Stark created a new user interface for his suits, and that one was named FRIDAY. Unlike JARVIS, FRIDAY has a female voice; other than that, they serve nearly the same purpose.
7. Vision (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
Vision was created from vibranium, the Mind Stone, and the remains of JARVIS. He’s technically a machine, but he’s sentient and able to comprehend and start conversations just like normal humans do.
Not only is Vision made from the world’s strongest metal, he’s also able to lift Mjolnir—something nobody can do besides Thor and Captain America.
6. STEM (Upgrade)
STEM is the “experimental” microcomputer placed in the spine of Grey, a human who was paralyzed after an attack (the same attack that also resulted in the death of his wife).
STEM was introduced to Grey as a device that allows him to regain control of his limbs, prompting him to agree to the surgery.
Afterwards, Grey hears STEM talk to him—and it helps him in achieving his revenge against his attacker. STEM, however, has its own ulterior motive unbeknownst to Grey, and they eventually become at odds.
5. TARS (Interstellar)
Interstellar features two artificial intelligences with strange robotic bodies: CASE and TARS. Unlike CASE, which was built mainly for navigation and information gathering for the Endurance ship, TARS was built and programmed to be more of a companion.
The aspects that make TARS more companion-like than CASE include its humorous and sarcastic traits—which can be adjusted via voice command—along with its usefulness as part of the crew and mission.
4. Dr. Will Caster (Transcendence)
Dr. Will Caster was an ordinary human until he was shot, which left him clinging to his life. This prompted his wife Evelyn to upload his consciousness into a sentient computer, making him the computer’s core.
With his new capabilities as what’s basically an artificial intelligence, Dr. Will Caster proved that technology can make advancements in different fields like medicine, showcasing an impossible feat to Joseph Tagger.
Even so, he was seen as a threat by many individuals, including the government and the anti-technology terrorist.
3. Baymax (Big Hero 6)
Baymax of Big Hero 6 is one of the AIs that crossed the line between being a machine and being sentient like humans.
Built for medical purposes, Baymax isn’t just equipped with medical knowledge and tools, but also with a fluffy body that appears incredibly relaxing and helps with stress relief.
Later on, Hiro’s modification made Baymax into a fighting machine, fully equipped with flying gear and a super punch.
2. T-800 (Terminator)
Played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the T-800 is the badass machine sent back in time from the future to save John Connor and his mother Sarah in Terminator 2. In the first Terminator, however, the T-800 was actually sent back in time to kill Sarah. What a twist!
The T-800 is unlike the T-1000 and the T-X with their advanced mechanisms and properties. Even so, he still manages to fend them off and accomplish his missions using only basic weaponry and tactics.
1. Red Queen (Resident Evil)
“You’re all going to die down here.” It’s the iconic line of Umbrella Corporation’s Red Queen, who’s an AI created by Alexander Isaacs—using the image of young Alicia Marcus—to aid the company’s growth.
The Red Queen was programmed to obey (not hurt) the Umbrella Corporation and its employees, but she eventually evolved to save mankind from the corporation’s evil schemes.
The Red Queen indirectly opposed the company by involving Alice and other characters, giving the film series a unique plot and turns of events in their chaotic zombie-infested world.