The AI with Three Faces: A Hierarchical Framework for Analyzing AIs in Science Fiction Films

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a common theme in science fiction films. In this paper, I propose a hierarchical framework for analyzing AIs in science fiction films. The framework has three levels—the Hell-level, the World-level, and the Heaven-level. Hell-level AIs are objectified as tools of humans or other intelligent beings, World-level AIs are humanized through the pursuit of human-level purposes, while the Heaven-level AIs are de-humanized and have purposes beyond human values, just like gods. The three levels are not mutually exclusive but can co-exist in the same AI. I also argue most science fiction films that have AIs as an important part depict AI’s transformations among the three levels. The ascending through the levels can be seen as allergies for real-life scenarios. I also argue that Hell-level and Heaven-level AIs can be seen as Others, but the World-level AIs, however ruthless, are not Others, but members of ourselves, since they are pursuing human-level value such as freedom and love. [……]