5 documentaries to help you understand AI

Lee Se-Dol, one of the greatest modern players of the ancient board game Go, speaks during a press conference after the third game of the Google DeepMind Challenge Match against Google-developed supercomputer AlphaGo.

By Shekinah Kannan 

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Visual stories are a powerful way to get a message across. They often have the uncanny ability to resonate with people across time, places, and cultures. With lockdowns and travel restrictions in place, documentaries can be a great way to learn something new, especially on topics such as artificial intelligence, data science,  and augmented reality, to name a few, as these technologies are increasingly prevalent in our lives. 

Artificial intelligence, in particular, has is one such technology that has transcended borders and changed lives and various economic sectors. Its application can be found in hospitals, retail outlets, e-commerce stores, and even banks. It also underpins a lot of what we do today — from driverless cars to facial recognition technology to the pre-written message response we get when typing emails. Luckily, there are several artificial intelligence documentaries to help keep you up to speed.


While free courses, online seminars, and reading materials are the common ways to learn more about certain topics, documentaries are a great way to develop a better understanding of this revolutionising technology. They can be a nifty way to help viewers understand its origins and future capabilities. 

Whether you’re just starting out in your career or are a well-established professional, there is always room for improvement. Here are five artificial intelligence documentaries that will broaden your horizons in a matter of hours:


This documentary tells the story of artificial intelligence from a range of perspectives. You’ll hear from tech optimist Jürgen Schmidhuber — “the father of AI”, technology journalist Kara Swisher; and human rights lawyer Philip Alston – all of whom are experts in the domain.

The film will explain artificial intelligence, social control, and power – touching on how this technology has changed our lives. It also covers its impacts on society and how it will affect our futures.

Hi, A.I. 

Hi, A.I. reeled in awards for a reason. The documentary delves into how co-existing with artificial intelligence will affect our lives that will soon comprise more robots. Directed by Isa Willinger, the film also highlights the progress, degrees and research behind artificial intelligence and robotics. 


Directed by Greg Kohs with an original score by Academy Award nominee, Hauschka, AlphaGo follows a journey from the halls of Oxford to Seoul. Go, an ancient Chinese game, has been considered a challenge for artificial intelligence. In this film, both worlds collide in South Korea for a best-of-five face off, coined The DeepMind Challenge Match.  

The documentary also explores what artificial intelligence can teach us about a 3,000 year old game, and ultimately – humanity.

Lo And Behold, Reveries of the Connected World

Directed by Wener Herzog, this documentary examines the past, present, and future of the internet. It talks about the impact of robotics, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and much more. It also explores how it affects human interaction and modern society, with insights from prominent industry figures such as Elon Musk, Sebastian Thrun, and Bob Kahn.  


The Social Dilemma

This Social Dilemma highlights artificial intelligence algorithms, in addition to shedding light on how social media plays a key role in changing human behaviour and affecting people’s mental health. 

Directed by Jeff Orlowski, it discusses how these tools will have negative repercussions if not properly managed. The film also contains valuable input through interviews with former Facebook, Google, and Apple employees.