Film and television have long been the playgrounds for imaginative renditions of technology, painting both hopeful futures and dystopian nightmares. Some of the most striking features from these realms are the computers: from omnipotent beings to sleek and powerful personal devices. Here’s a dive into seven of the most iconic computers we’ve seen on the silver screen, and oh, how we wish they were real!
HAL 9000 – 2001: A Space Odyssey:
Description: HAL (Heuristically Programmed Algorithmic Computer) was an AI computer responsible for controlling the Discovery One spaceship.
Why We Want It: Aside from its notorious glitch (okay, homicidal tendencies), HAL’s capabilities of speech recognition, facial recognition, natural language processing, and even emotional interpretation were groundbreaking.
The Batcomputer – Batman Series:
Description: The hub of information and control for the Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne’s Batcomputer is his go-to for everything from analyzing criminal patterns to tracking supervillains.
Why We Want It: Its vast database of almost every conceivable piece of data about Gotham, combined with top-notch analysis software. Plus, it looks incredibly cool.
WOPR (War Operation Plan Response) – WarGames:
Description: An advanced military computer designed to predict possible outcomes of nuclear war.
Why We Want It: Ideally, not for initiating global thermonuclear war. Its immense processing power and simulation capabilities are appealing, minus the global destruction part.
KITT – Knight Rider:
Description: A highly advanced AI-equipped car with a personality to match.
Why We Want It: Voice-activated controls, self-driving capabilities, advanced surveillance, and it talks back with charm. Who wouldn’t want such a companion on the road?
The Gibson – Hackers:
Description: A supercomputer housing crucial data and targeted by a group of young hackers.
Why We Want It: This computer is the embodiment of ’90s cyberpunk aesthetics and hacker culture. Its raw computing power makes it a desirable machine.
LCARS System – Star Trek: The Next Generation:
Description: Library Computer Access/Retrieval System, used aboard Starfleet ships and bases.
Why We Want It: A touch-based, networked computer system that’s voice-activated and can control every aspect of a starship. It’s a Trekkie’s dream!
Samantha – Her:
Description: An advanced operating system with AI capabilities far beyond any contemporary digital assistant.
Why We Want It: The idea of having a digital companion that can understand, learn, and evolve to the degree Samantha does is intriguing and addresses the very human need for connection.
The allure of these computers isn’t just about their processing speeds or vast memories. It’s about the way they’re integrated into the worlds they inhabit, their relationships with their users, and, often, the glimpse they offer into what our relationship with technology could become.