7 movies that affected the way we look at conversational interfaces and AI

Movies shape the way we look at the world. Science fiction has undeniable affected our capacity to be admired by technology. When we think of conversational interfaces and AI our expectations are high compared with the technology and products available to us as consumers. This is a list of 7 movies that have affected the way we look at these technologies.

Metropolis (1927)


Metropolis is one of the first movies ever made and a classic that happens to feature a robot that can communicate with humans. The movie has no sound so we don’t know much about how this communication happens, but it is certainly interesting to see this early expression of interest in conversational interfaces and robots in cinema.

2001: A space Odissey (1968)

Ambient and a red light

HAL is a computer that can understand natural language and create responses naturally. HAL can deceive, breaking one of the main rules of cooperation in the conversation. HAL can change its tone depending on the message and it has a companion red light that changes intensity in different situations.

Star Wars (1977)


This saga has been watched by people of all generations, and C3PO has certainly affected their expectations when talking to robots. This robot understands everything and can craft very personal answers. It has a personality of their own and a rich vocabulary.

Blade Runner (1982)


The androids in Blade Runner are so real even they believe they’re human. They have feelings and memories, and have interactions that seem completely natural. Blade Runner develops the idea of a test made to tell androids away from humans.

Terminator (1984)


The robots in Terminator are goal focused and have rounded personalities that evolve from one movie to another. They can understand all words (although they are a bit bad with metaphors and sarcasm) and speak slowly but clearly.

Moon (2009)

Ambient and a screen with emoji

The synthetic voice of the computer in Moon may make it sound less smart than it actually is. One of the most interesting characteristics of this conversational agent is its accompanying screen, where different emojis complement the tone of the conversation.

Her (2013)


Her is the most amazing conversational agent I have ever seen, and it does way more than any user may expect her to do. Amanda is able to learn, understands and transmits emotions, and would make anyone with a heart fall madly in love.

These movies are a benchmark for the expectations of many users. Although it is currently impossible to create independent intelligences that are able to do the same as the ones in the movies, it is posible to emulate some of their features by design, and to make failure more gracious through conversational user experience work.

I usually speak about some of these movies in my conference presentations and classes in business schools, as they are a way to get everyone on the same page through familiar references. You can see an example in this recording of my talk at ADDConf, where I spoke about the challenges of building conversational interfaces with NLP. That specific bit starts at 5:33 and is preprogrammed in the link.

Did you enjoy reading this post? I can make a presentation about this topic for technical and non-technical audiences at your conference or professional event. Reach out at hola@cristinasantamarina.com to talk.

2 responses to “7 movies that affected the way we look at conversational interfaces and AI”

  1. […] intelligent in a way. Our expectations about this intelligence, however, may be a bit too high. Movies, amongst other factors, are to […]

  2. […] Did you enjoy this post about conversational interfaces integrated in everyday objects? Continue reading about conversational interfaces in history or about the movies that have changed the way we see them. […]

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