Movies are fun to watch. Some make you laugh, some make you cry. There are also some that teach you certain things. The best ones are which entertain and teach you at the same time. We have created a list of the best AI movies and documentaries for kids who are engaging, easy to watch and provide a good learning experience.
These AI-based movies are best watched with parents so they can give a better understanding of the subject topic and to encourage further discussion after the movie ends. This will help kids give closure to what they see and understand.
How do you learn from watching AI movies and documentaries? We suggest you do the following –
- Note down movie quotes, facts or ideas that spark when you are watching the scene/movie.
- Embrace the movie, use your five senses and imagine you are in the movie.
- Reflect on what you have learnt.
- Fact check information in movies to prevent any misconception.
Best AI Movies for Kids
This AI robot movie is centred around the 3 laws of robotics devised by Isaac Asimov in 1942 which direct the interaction between robots and humans. The laws are –
1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
As perfect as these laws seem, the movie stretches them to their extreme while also finding flaws or loopholes. It explores ideas that have always fascinated science fiction fans. The movie continuously questions things like when a personality simulation becomes a real personality, where is the line that divides machines from humans, etc.
Takeaways from this movie: Testing the moral code for intelligent robots. You will start to think about how you can make a robot know the best action to take in case of emergencies. For example, a self-driving car should not injure a person crossing the road while also not injuring the person inside.
In an age of personal assistants and chatbots, the AI-based movie Her is set in the near future where personal assistants can learn and grow psychologically – so much so that they have their own personalities and can have their own identity.
The movie revolves around the protagonist developing a bond with his personal assistant, which gives us an idea about the extent at which personal assistants or AI can evolve to.
Takeaways from this movie: Instant messaging and staying virtually connected can lead to social isolation. Also showcases how depending on technology is as good as it is bad.
The AI robot movie is about a warm-hearted garbage collector robot, called Wall-E, who is responsible for collecting waste from planet Earth while humans live on a spaceship after abandoning it. What’s unique about Wall-E is that he has free will but still possesses strong environmentalist and good-will characteristics.
The movie shows that programming emotions and what it means to be human can bring about positivity and wholesomeness to the world and that even intelligent machines can never completely rewrite their own programming.
Takeaways from this movie: Shows the effects of environmental degradation and consuming more than what we need. It also shows what happens when we start to depend on machines and AI even for the simplest tasks and where even our thinking process is done by AI; it shows how this affects our physical health and reduces our quality of living.
Another AI robot movie on the list, it is set in a time when robots are common, have become as real as possible and serve to assist humans. In today’s world where robotics and AI are still in their infancy, we still hope to one day bring in emotions to robots like love and happiness.
The movie revolves around a “kid robot” with real emotions like love, hate, pride, jealousy, etc. who longs for his mother to love him. The movie constantly questions that it’s not just about creating a robot that can love but if humans can love it back.
Takeaways from this movie: If a robot can genuinely love a person, then what responsibility does that person hold towards that robot in return?
The film revolves around a scientist who creates a humanoid AI robot to protect mankind. He ensures that the robot can “know-all” and “do-all” but fails to give it emotions and rational judgement.
Once the scientist programmes emotions to his robot, the robot goes through episodes of human emotions and starts to react emotionally rather than through logic, which results in common unwanted human behaviours.
Takeaways from this movie: What is the point of making a robot that can “know-all” and “do-all” but cannot think sensibly? What if it causes harm to one human while trying to save another? Thus, following a set of rules to prevent it from causing harm to anyone will bring about a reliable safety mechanism.
Best Documentaries on AI for Kids
Lo And Behold: Reveries Of The Connected World (2016)
This award-winning AI documentary freely floats through the ideas of the internet and talks about the impact of the internet, robotics, AI, the Internet of Things, and human life.
The movie covers a large variety of topics which focuses on different perspectives of technology. The topics start from the beginning of the internet, its good and the bad, life without it, artificial intelligence and the future world. The movie also poses a question to the interviewees in the film with “Can the Internet dream of itself?”.
Takeaways from this documentary: The film provides a deep understanding of the internet’s past, present, and future. It dives into the wonders of what is possible while also carefully reminding us about its dangers.
Note: This documentary is not free to watch, you will need to buy or rent a digital copy.
Road to AI is one of Red Hat Films’ AI documentary series called Open Source Stories. This 17-minute documentary on AI explores future technology that combines self-driving cars and artificial intelligence.
It discusses the challenges for building a self-driving car and developing algorithms to prevent it from hurting people. It stresses how difficult it is to get real-time data for such a project and how going open source is a great solution to reaching goals faster.
Takeaways from this documentary: For vehicles to have free will while making sure to drive safe and responsible, and making quick decisions based on real-time environmental changes is extremely difficult. The film suggests that going open source helps with collecting enough data and that anybody can contribute to the project, both of which help in building the AI in the long run.
Singularity or Bust is a 47-minute documentary about two AI scientists who agree that a technological singularity (where humans and technology become one and the same) is coming but one believes it is a good thing while the other believes it to be a bad thing. It captures a view of artificial consciousness – the question isn’t which systems are conscious but what kind of consciousness each system demonstrates.
The scientists see themselves creating a future with amazing AI and robots along with the possibility of creating artificial beings that will live among us. Every bit of the documentary brings up fascinating questions and mysteries about technology and reality.
Fun Fact: One of the scientists is the co-creator and chief scientist of Sophia – the famous social humanoid robot.
Takeaways from this documentary: The film offers no final answers but watching these two scientists discuss their ideologies will make you want to keep asking questions. AI doesn’t necessarily have to imitate humans and they can do much more like understanding weather patterns, predicting traffic, etc.
The Smartest Machine On Earth
The AI documentary film is about Watson, a highly intelligent computer created by IBM to play the quiz show Jeopardy. Jeopardy, unlike any other quiz show, throws clues or twisted facts and the contestants have to guess the questions.
This is challenging because computers find it difficult to understand human emotions and different speech patterns like puns and hidden meanings. Watch through the eyes of the development team as they face and overcome their challenges to make Watson, the smartest machine on earth.
Takeaway from this documentary: How machine learning is used to develop artificial intelligence and drives decision making in AI computers.
Here is an unofficial youtube link to watch the documentary.
Another AI-based documentary from Red Hat Films revolves around an open-source platform to build robots called ROS (Robot Operating System). ROS aims to build a framework for people when they want to build a robot, so different robots for different purposes can use the same framework rather than repeatedly building different codes.
How to start a robot revolution is a 5 part documentary series starting with Breaking The Wheel.
Takeaways from this documentary: How going open-source breaks the endless cycle of research and development and how a common operating system for robots can be used for different applications and purposes. It also encourages community contribution and a free exchange of ideas which can also benefit students.
In a Nutshell
Movies are not only for entertainment. If watched sincerely or in the right way, one can learn a lot from movies be it tech-related, or life lessons-related. The AI-based movies and documentaries listed above are some of the best movies to explore the world of AI entertainingly. They provide great insight into it and open our eyes to aspects that we may not think about when talking or thinking about AI.