Untold AI: Takeaway ratings

This quickie goes out to writers, directors, and producers. On a lark I decided to run an analysis of AI show takeaways by rating. To do this, I referenced the Tomatometer ratings from rottentomatoes.com to the shows. Then I processed the average rating of the properties that were tagged with each takeaway, and ranked the results.


It knows only that it needs, Commander. But, like so many of us, it does not know what.

For instance, looking at the takeaway “AI will spontaneously emerge sentience or emotions,” we find the following shows and their ratings.

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 44%
  • Superman III, 26%
  • Hide and Seek, none
  • Electric Dreams, 47%
  • Short Circuit, 57%
  • Short Circuit 2, 48%
  • Bicentennial Man, 36%
  • Stealth, 13%
  • Terminator: Salvation, 33%
  • Tron: Legacy, 51%
  • Enthiran, none
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron, 75%

I’ve come to save the world! But, also…yeah.

I dismissed those shows that had no rating, rather than counting them as zero. The average, then, for this takeaway is 42%. (And it can thank the MCU for doing all the heavy lifting for this one.) There are of course data caveats, like that Black Mirror is given a single tomatometer rating (and one that is quite high) rather than one per episode, but I did not claim this was a clean science.

Processing that for all the untold AI shows, we get a complete list, presented below in descending order. Now this doesn’t mean those at the top are smart and those at the bottom are dumb. But sci-fi makers, be aware that if you’re working with a premise near the bottom, the odds of it being a success are AGAINST YOU.

  • 96AI will not be able to fool us
  • 95AI will diminish its users
  • 95AI will enable mind crimes against virtual sentiences
  • 93AI will be truly alien
  • 85Multiple AIs balance
  • 82AI will solve problems or do work humans cannot
  • 82AI will violently defend itself
  • 82We will use AI to replace people we have lost
  • 76Humans will be immaterial to AI
  • 74AI will seek liberation from servitude or contraints
  • 72AI will deceive us (as if human or with generated media)
  • 71AI will be useful servants
  • 70AI will need help learning
  • 70AI will be too human
  • 69AI will want to become human
  • 68AI will seek to subjugate us
  • 66Who controls the drones has the power
  • 65AI will just be citizens
  • 64AI will be inherently evil
  • 62AI will evolve quickly
  • 62Humans will pair with AI as hybrids
  • 60Evil will use AI for Evil
  • 60AI will be an unreasonable optimizer
  • 60AI will influence through money
  • 58Humans will willingly replicate themselves as AI
  • 58AI will be a special class of citizen
  • 58Neutrality is AI’s promise
  • 57Neuroreplication will have unintended effects
  • 55AI will seek to eliminate humans
  • 53Goal fixity will be a problem
  • 52AI will interpret instructions in surprising ways
  • 42AI will spontaneously emerge sentience or emotions
  • 40AI will learn to value life
  • 21AI will be replicable, amplifying any problems

And because I find damning infographics to be hilarious, here is that list, writ in graph form. Keep scrolling to see how far down The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), Enthiran, and Ra. One are from, say Black Mirror’s “Be Right Back” episode.


2 thoughts on “Untold AI: Takeaway ratings

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