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NYU Reads

A selection of resources for engaging with the NYU Reads books.


Annihilation (2014) - Feature Film, After her husband barely returns alive from a secret expedition, biologist Lena leads an anthropologist, a surveyor, a linguist, and a psychologist into a mysterious, expanding region called the Shimmer where evolution has taken a twisted turn. The all-female team must uncover the area's monstrous secrets to save Lena's husband and the world. 

Artificial Intelligence (2001) - Feature Film, A robot boy designed to feel love songs to become human embarks on a soulful journey after being forsaken by his inventor. Befriended by a pleasure cyborg and a talking "super toy" bear, the artificial boy flees a city where robots must fight for the amusement of humans and ends up in a submerged New York City where the secrets of his creation are finally revealed. 

Artificial Intelligence (2015) - Documentary, Trace the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) from simple calculating machines to computers that can vanquish chess masters. Learn the distinction between weak AI, such as a chess playing machine, and a strong AI, which is a machine that has a truly human-like mind. 

Blade Runner The Final Cut (1982) - Feature film, Harrison Ford stars in this fascinating, dark vision of the near future as a policeman who tracks down engineered humans--a Blade Runner. The Police department forces Rick Deckard (Ford) out of retirement to hunt four genetically engineered humans who have come to Earth. Designed to do difficult, hazardous work, the manufactured humans are stronger, faster, and smarter than non-engineered humans...and they are killing people. Deckard must stop them before they kill again. 

Blade Runner 2049 (2017) - Feature film, Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K, unearths a long buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) a former LAPD blader unner who has been missing for thirty years. 

Ex Machina (2014) - Feature film, A young programmer is selected to participate in breakthrough experiments in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breakthrough female A.I. 

Environmentalism in Science Fiction (2016) - Documentary, Revisiting the idea that science fiction often deals directly with the consequences of human actions, whether through robots who take over the world massive storms produced by climate change. Starting with a common theme in many science fiction novels, Professor Wolfe walks through works that feature, and often correctly predicted, environmental concerns and ramifications. 

The Future of Work and Death: The Impact of Technological Advances on Human Life (2015) - Documentary, The Future of Work looks at the shocking exponential rate at which mankind has managed to create technologies to ease the process of living. As we embark on the next phase of our adaptation, with automation and artificial intelligence signifying the complete move from man to machine, this film asks what the implications are for human purposeful fulfillment, making money and ageless immortality. In its combination of archival footage, infographics, and interviews, directors Sean Blacknell and Wayne Walsh's debut feature gives us a provoking and shockingly realistic look into the future of human life. 

Her - (2013) - Feature film, An original love story that explores the evolving nature and risks of intimacy in the modern world. Set in Los Angeles of the near future, Her, follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system promising to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user. Samantha is a bright, female voice who is insightful, sensitive, and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual and unconventional love for each other. 

Lucy - Synthetic drugs give a woman superhuman powers which she used to strike back against gangsters who kidnapped her and tried to use her as a mule. In time, her increased intelligence causes her to become disconnected from the rest of humanity.

Machine (2019) - A documentary about artificial intelligence, the most radical and new technology of our time. 

I'm Your Man (2021) - Feature film, A scientist coerced into participating in an extraordinary study in order to obtain research funds for her work. For three weeks, she has to live with a humanoid robot tailored to her character and needs, whose artificial intelligence is designed to be the perfect life partner for her. Enter Tom, a mancine in human form in a class of its own, created solely to make her happy. A humorous tale about the questions of love, longing, and what makes a human being human.

Transcendence (2014) - An AI expert's consciousness is transferred into a computer after he is killed by a radical anti-technology faction. As his awareness goes viral, he becomes an unstoppable force inhabiting every computer and electrical system on the planet. 

Transcendence and the Dangers of AI (2018) - Documentary, Science fiction has always been fascinated by the possibilities of artificial intelligence, with many storytellers focusing on the dangers of sentient machines. But human predictions of the future are often inaccurate. This documentary explores both for and against the creation of AI through the film Transcendence, as well as other iconic stories.  

Westworld (1973) - Feature film, Thriller set in a futuristic theme park where robots fulfill tourists' every fantasy. 
Westworld and AI Intelligence (2018) - Documentary, Sentient machines have been a staple of sci-fi for decades. This documentary focuses on a few key stories, and takes a look at the long history of intelligent machines in film and TV and glimpses into a very possible future. Machines can calculate but could they one day be sentient?