The Machine and its predecessors in films and books:

I'll try to give my perspective on The Machine and what I've learned from watching other works involving similar plots. The ones of us who like the AI-concept behind The Machine might find this article worth a read. Others not much so. There will be no Finch-Reese-Shaw-Root-Carter-Bear-Fusco plots in here.

The obvious link to Enemy of the State (1998) has been mentioned before. After that came Eagle Eye (2008). I recently watched The Echelon Conspiracy (2009), that one had a wickedly POI-esque credits sequence.



Those three films precedes the TV-series Person of Interest (2011) and have surveillance and advanced AI at work. To those following the series who have not watched these films I recommend a view. We have to go back even further than 1998 to get to my first encounter with Machine Intelligence. Rather to 2001: A space Odyssey (1968), where HAL_9000 is dictating the terms of life support and destination.


Attribution to: jrigh @ deviantart

To continue the lookback we move forward to Blade Runner (1982) based on a novel by Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968).


Here, we have the technolgy to turn images 360 degrees to see what's around corners and to enhance images quite extraordinarily. War Games (1983) gave us a game that wasn't a game and held some AI sequences as well.

Going further into the world of books, 1984 (1949) by George Orwell, beckons a visit. Big Brother is watching and we've arrived to the core of The Machine. Filmed as Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984).
Music by Eurythmics 1984


I'm in no way well read or have an extensive watching score, have I missed some really vital films and books here? Please put them in the comments.

On the back of those films and books I'd say that having them in the back of my mind it's great fun to watch Person of Interest. What's in your POI backpack?

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Feb 24, 2014
MULTIVAC, the super computer in "All the Troubles of the World" by Isaac Asimov, published in 1958 and reprinted in 1959 in a collection called "Nine Tomorrows".
Excerpt: "Analyzing the probability of each crime coming up, Multivac informs law enforcement, who make sure the crimes do not occur."
Sound familiar? :)
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Feb 23, 2014
terminator, ghost in the shell
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Feb 04, 2014
I would also consider the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica to be "Machine"-like. They also started as protectors and "watchers" of mankind only to evolve into its greatest nemesis (I completely disregard the original series and/or 'Caprica')
Also check out "The last question" by Asimov. It's a short story about the 'Ultimate' Analogic Computer and what it could ultimately lead to. (hint: it's awesome!)
As for surveillance prevailing over everything, we mustn't forget the book "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin (years before and ahead of Orwell's 1984).
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Jan 31, 2014
I, Robot with Will Smith, the A.I. in that film (besides the robot) was the main computer sysetm called V.I.K.I., who talked in a female voice, I often think of it whenever Root refers to the Machine as "she". She says at the end of the movie that she is trying to save humanity from itself, which was the first thing I thought of when Root held up the phone to Control to show here the machines response to the question"save us from who?"
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Dec 04, 2013
There was a movie back in 1970, called "Colossus" and the premise of the film is that the American government creates an artificially intelligent computer. Well, the Russians already had an AI computer and the two merge and take control of the governments. I remember a sequence where the computer is monitoring one of its creators and has a discussion with him over a computer terminal.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064177/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_69
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Nov 20, 2013
Have you forgotten Quantum Leap? The computer who sent its creator into a situation to "Make right what once went wrong"? In essence, erasing it from history? "Hoh boy"...or what about Early Edition? The paper that came one day early to allow our boy distance runner 24 hrs or so to prevent tragedy?
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Nov 20, 2013
Hi, and thank you for playing! I didn't forget, I simply didn't think of all shows I've seen. Early edition, must be made by a machine, right?

The other ones, I haven't watched.
Cheers!
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Nov 23, 2013
I don't know who the paper came from, but Quantum Leap was about a time travel expirement that went south when it was rushed. It was a computer time machine, and it would send Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) into situations where people were killed, disappeared, etc., "to set right what once went wrong". Which would of course erase it from history. Scott Bakula went on to become the captain of the first "Enterprise" on the TV series in the early 2000's. That and Early Edition were my favorites.
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Nov 20, 2013
Oh! And "7 Days" with Jonathon LaPaglia? "Conundrum"...
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Nov 03, 2013
My first run in with the machine would be Simulacron 3 a novel from 1964 that I read as a kid. The thing I remember most about it is it's prediction on (attempting) the banning of smoking.
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Nov 02, 2013
The ones I loved most I also have on DVD:

The Machines including agent Smith from The Matrix
Skynet, T-800 and T-1000 from the terminator

but I'll also include the robot's with enough AI:

Data from Star Trek
Ash from Alien
Marvin from The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Universe
Auto and Wall-E from Wall-E
David from AI
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Nov 02, 2013
Great additions. There's a multitude of Intelligence out there.
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Nov 01, 2013
These a good connections, the Machine ancestors. One note: the AI in Eagle Eye was female, like Root believes the Machine to be.
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Oct 31, 2013
Correct me if I'm wrong, but "Enemy of the State" didn't have an advanced AI.

It had a crew of NSA guys that sifted through recordings, and someone found a recording of someone important killing someone else important. So they spent the rest of the movie tracking Will Smith and Gene Hackman via satellite surveillance and such.
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Oct 31, 2013
Remember: "Who is watching the watchers?" That would be the AI. But I guess you're correct. What's POI is the tracking sequences.
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Oct 31, 2013
Actually, I don't. Not trying to be difficult, but it's been a while since I saw it so can you refresh my memory?

When was there an AI mention? I recall Hackman hacking Smith's TV at the end and various sneaky communications that way. And "Who watches the watchers" was something that I could IMAGINE Hackman saying.

But I'm drawing a blank on what you mean. Can you describe a couple of scenes?
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Oct 31, 2013
It was some time ago since I watched it too, It seems I have a case of mixing up two things here.

#1:


#2: Congressman Sam Albert: [on TV] We knew that we had to monitor our enemies. We've also come to realize that we need to monitor the people who are monitoring them...
Carla Dean (Regina King): Well, who's gonna monitor the monitors of the monitors?
Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith): I wouldn't mind doing a little *monitoring* myself.

That sums it up to you being fully correct. The statement is absolutely something Brill (Gene Hackman) would have said. My bad.
I think the film is a good one anyhow. With or without AI.
Cheers!
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Nov 19, 2013
Re Greek texts--Plato in The Republic asks the question "...and who guards the guardian[s]?
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Oct 31, 2013
Other: the praetorians from the 1995 movie "The Net" (Luckily, Finch is one of the good guys).
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Oct 31, 2013
Sandra Bullock, ah that one I forgot about.
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