Even the most futuristic applications of AI, from robotic servants to instant health scans, somehow already seem familiar because they have been endless fodder for pop culture. At the movies, you’ve probably seen artificial intelligence as a menace in The Terminator or 2001: A Space Odyssey; as a near-destroyer of the world in WarGames; as our master in The Matrix; or as a companion (as in Her and in the Stanley Kubrick–Steven Spielberg combination that was called A.I. Artificial Intelligence). But many lesser-known stories, plays, TV shows, and films stand out as well for their perceptiveness about how sophisticated AI will affect us. Here are a few suggestions.
The Machine Stops, by E.M. Forster, 1909
Humanity, in its desire for comfort, had over-reached itself. It had exploited the riches of nature too far. Quietly and complacently, it was sinking into decadence, and progress had come to mean the progress of the Machine.