Few existential threats in Hollywood are as universally feared (and loathed) as artificial intelligence. In the wake of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike resolutions — finally coming to an end after an uncertain year that put thousands out of work and had just as many questioning the future of the entertainment industry altogether — the threat of robots taking over some creative jobs still looms large.

Plenty of organizations have received protections against A.I. supplanting their roles in productions, including actors and writers (although many still worry negotiations for performers didn’t go far enough). But the quickly evolving technology is changing how we see what’s possible across industries, and the ever-closer future can make it hard to keep up with regulating how machine learning can be used to shape and change both union and non-union arts jobs.

On screen, robots have entertained for almost a century with mechanical creations featured in a number of early black-and-white films. In 1927, director Fritz Lang unleashed “Metropolis” onto the world; the German expressionist silent film foretold of an oppressive society plagued by classism and ruled by killer robots. Science fiction has often made murderous A.I. a cornerstone in its terror, with legendary action heroes from Keanu Reeves to Tom Cruise battling it out with villains, played in other similar titles by the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Alicia Vikander.

Much of what makes artificial intelligence so terrifying on film is the same as what makes it anxiety-inducing within the industry. If art is most often designed to explore what makes us human, superintelligent beings frighten audiences by seeming understand humanity better than we do. Mimicry may be the highest form of flattery, but when the villain in a story always manages to stay a few steps ahead of the hero, that can spell trouble.

Looking back on a year that added a handful of decent killer robots to cinematic canon, IndieWire rounds up 25 of the scariest representations of artificial intelligence and robots ever put to film. From “Minority Report” and “I, Robot” to “M3GAN” and “The Creator,” entires are listed chronologically.

With editorial contributions by Mark Peikert.

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