AI-Artificial Intelligence
& A.I. Fictional Characters in Media Resource Guide
content and web design
by Aleta Burgé/
Is it possible for a machine to program itself and to have feelings?
The idea that a machine can feel and express emotions is a theme that has been explored within the science fiction genre frequently and for many years. Humans have been fantasizing about machines developing human characteristics for hundreds, if not thousands of years. There are countless creative works in the forms of films, television episodes, books and comic book characters, in which characters of AI are present. Some are endearing, others malevolent. Possessing seemingly human characteristics, the machines generally develop personalities and feelings as a result of a mechanical malfunction. Robots, androids and other types of mechanical devices created with technology that are intended to function (or malfunction) as humans, do not possess “artificial intelligence,” since they function as originally intended, having been programmed by a human. Technological devices which develop programming code themselves,creating similar learning processes as performed by the human brain, exhibit A.I. (mimicking mental processes). The following information includes resources that provide information about the history of Artificial Intelligence, some general information about the subject, and finally a list to an introductory sampling of famous fictional AI personalities in media, based on imaginative material that exists in the fictional realm under the heading ‘artificial intelligence.’ Links to historical and scientific information have been provided to provide a background context for the subject.
Definition of Artificial Intelligence from
The Merriam Webster Dictionary

1:a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers.

2:the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. The dictionary provides a date of 1956 for the first use of the word.”

* A complete description and explanation of artificial intelligence is available on the Stanford University web page entitled
What is Artificial Intelligence?”
by John McCarthy, a computer scientist who played a pivotal role in the initial design of AI.

History of A.I.

The AAAI Website provides a selection of articles, timelines and links to a variety of sources providing information related to the history and development of A.I. The site is edited by Bruce G. Buchanan, University Professor Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh. The site was retrieved from a search using the
Internet Public Library
using keywords: artificial, intelligence, history.

The AAAI (Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence) website's page,

Information presented by breaks the history of Artificial Intelligence into segments of periods of development, also describes specific applications of the technology chronologically. The site was found searching using the keywords: artificial, intelligence, history . (

The Atari Archives Webpage information is provided by Stephanie Haack, director of Communications for the Computer Museum in Boston. A lively history about AI is provided, along with cartoon style illustrations. Information in the site claims the roots of A.I. can be found in Early Egypt, as evidenced "in the practice of Egyptians looking to "talking statues" for mystical advice." On display in the Cairo Museum, is a bust of one of a god, Re-Harmakis, "whose neck reveals the secret of his genius: an opening at the nape just big enough to hold a priest.” The actual invention of Artificial Intelligence as it is thought of today is attributed to Herbert A. Simon and Allen Newell about 50 years ago. The Atari archives article on the History of A.I. was found searching ( using the keywords:
artificial, intelligence, history.


General Information about Artificial Intelligence

The 'Singularity"webpage addresses the possibility of the development of "superhuman intelligent technology" and the probability of resulting rapid drastic change, leading to the end of the human era. Based on the work of Dr.Vernor Vinge, Department of Mathematical Sciences at San Diego State University, the page provides descriptions and a list of resources addressing the issue of "Super Human Intelligence." Found searching ( using search term "artificial intelligence." Followed a link "1993 paper" found in the article." Retrieved from NY Times webpage article "the Coming Superbrain."
( .

• " The Singularity"

• "The Coming Superbrain"

"Will the Future Be a Trillion Times Better?"(

The NPR article "Who's Afraid of the Terminator?" addresses the subject of “the future of A.I.” Retrieved from a search using ( using search terms "artificial intelligence," terminator .

Who's Afraid of the Terminator? Imagining AI”(

Some Fictional A.I. Characters in Films

'Hal 9000' of 2001 A Space Odyssey is the infamous fictional computer in
Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey saga directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1968.
The MIT webpage provides background information about HAL. The site reads "This website is the product of a collaborative effort between a number of people involved with the evolution, development, and production of HAL's Legacy: 2001's Computer as Dream and Reality."

• For information and analysis about the film
2001 A Space Odyssey, by Stanley Kubrick
Click on Part III, to learn more about Hal's role in the story.
Results obtained through search
keywords: hal, 2001 "space odyssey."

'Hal's' Legacy: foreword

'Gerty' of Moon(The Film)
Gerty, whose smooth monotone voice is provided by Actor Kevin Spacey, is a multi-functional AI system whose emotions are expressed through a variety of emoticons appearing on a computer monitor screen, indicating his current mood. Gerty's motives are initially uncertain as he seemingly nurtures, and provides companionship for Sam, the human protagonist in the story. Sam is an engineer on a lunar module. The plot of the story is best left unrevealed for those who have not yet seen the film (Director Jones is the son of famed vocalist David Bowie, who wrote and sang the lyrics to the space themed song "Ground Control to Major Tom" in 1969.)

• Information about the film and the artificial intelligence character Gerty is on the Popular Mechanics webpage "An interview with Moon film director Duncan Jones" by Erin McCarthy:
• 'Questions for Duncan Jones'


'Wall-E' of the Film by the Same Name
The endearing animated character Wall-E is a robot whose job is to clean up after humans. He develops a personality and human-like feelings, falling in love with another robot, Eve. Because of the development of emotions, he crosses the line of designation from robot to that of a product of "artificial intelligence." The film won the Academy Award for best-animated feature film in 2008.
This article on CNN's website provides information about the film, the story and the character Wall-E, as well as a very positive review, calling the film a "classic." Links to related articles are also provided. The web page was found searching
( using the search terms: "Wall-e" "animated film," and "artificial intelligence ".

Wall-E Film review on CNN

last updated May 2012 | Content and design Aleta Burgé |