Feeds

Ten badass brainy computers from science fiction

Great movie motherboards

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Computers used to be our loyal servants. But slowly and surely, we've let them control us. I used to believe these machines had the ability to positively change the world, but after the 56K modem invented Dubstep in the 1990s, I've been somewhat sceptical. So have film makers.

Boost a PC with a new processor these days and results speak for themselves. Skip forward a decade or so and apparently the computers will too. And if supercomputer Watson is able to thrash us at Jeopardy already, who knows what the future has in store? Perhaps Tinsel Town's fictional predictions will ring true... increase the bytes a bit too far - badum tish - and laptops could take over the world.

Here's a look at ten films in which a computer takes top billing. Let us know if you think we've missed any crucial inclusions.

Here's one for you already. We've excluded The Matrix because it doesn't really fit. While there are plenty of self-aware machines in the film, the mainframe itself is more of an unconscious software environment.

Alpha 60

Alphaville (1965)

RH Numbers

This French black-and-white classic features a dictatorial computer, Alpha 60, which outlaws free thought and bans all forms of creative expression in the city of Alphaville. While most movies with computer characters assume consciousness breeds emotion, the sentient system here fails to understand it and interrogates those who show feelings before executing them in punishment.

I think the Alphaville interpretation of a computer consciousness hits the nail on the head. Even the most powerful of machines would struggle to comprehend the illogicality of human emotion, and just as we've seen throughout history, when an entity with power believes their way is the only rational approach, muscles are flexed and mortality is inevitable. See, it doesn't matter whether machines fail to get the emotional drive started... let them become aware of themselves and we're stuffed.

Alphaville

HalHalHalHalHAL Rating 80%
More info IMDB

Colossus

Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

RH Numbers

When Charles Forbin builds an advanced supercomputer - aka Colossus - as a means to safely control the United States' nuclear weapons arsenal, did anyone expect it not to go rogue and take over the world?

Yes, after colluding with its Russian equivalent and evolving of its own accord, that's exactly what Colossus does, eventually forcing Forbin into captivity so it can keep watch of its creator at all times.

A predictable battle ensues between man and machine, as humans try to re-establish control, and Colossus tries to convince us that freedom is merely an illusion. Those of you unfamiliar with the 1970 film should watch it quickly before the rumoured remake - featuring Hollywood's protector of the Earth, Will Smith - hits cinema screens in the near future. God forbin.

Colossus: The Forbin project

HalHalHalHalHalHAL Rating 90%
More info IMDB

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Deep Thought

More from The Register

next story
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
A SCORCHIO fatboy SSD: Samsung SSD850 PRO 3D V-NAND
4Gb/s speeds on a consumer drive, anyone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.