3 Fictional Supercomputers You Wouldn't Want to Meet—And 2 You Would

In the not too distant future, taking your computer to a computer technician might be more like asking a doctor to save the life of a family member. Advances in technology in recent years are nothing short of astonishing, with your smartphone being able to talk to you, and your internet search engine can now be operated via voice control. It's just a matter of time before software developers can give these devices a personality, or at least a reasonable simulation of one.

So while one day you might be asking a computer technician to not only save your lost files, but also a lost personality, for now you might want to take a look at some fictional supercomputers . . . and wonder if you would actually want to meet them.

1. HAL 9000

In the 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the film that was released the same year, 2001 seemed very far off indeed. It appeared to be perfectly feasible that in that far off year, mankind would be exploring the stars in a massive nuclear powered spaceship that was regulated by a speaking supercomputer.

HAL 9000 (voiced by Douglas Rain) never becomes tired or stressed, and relays all information in an eerily calm voice. Everything goes swimmingly until the astronauts decide to disconnect a seemingly malfunctioning "Hal." The computer, of course, overhears their plans and views these actions as detrimental to the mission. Naturally, Hal overcomes this by killing the crew, one by one.

2. Skynet

First seen in 1984's The Terminator, Skynet is a supercomputer that becomes self-aware and assesses that its greatest threat is humanity. Skynet decides to neutralise this threat by launching nuclear missiles at Russia, who then retaliate, resulting in the deaths of 3 billion people. This would make for a very short movie, and so you probably know that the films involve time-travelling cyborgs (many of whom resemble Arnold Schwarzenegger) and various efforts to thwart Skynet's plans.

3. The Matrix

The basic notion that the human body generates 100 watts of power while at rest was developed into an iconic science fiction film. The titular Matrix is a supercomputer that keeps humans in a state of simulated reality, in which everything we do or see is not fact real. This rather elaborate plan takes place at an unspecified point in the late 21st century, and allows the supercomputer to power itself, achieving dominance over a dystopian world.

Just why it would want to do this, and the fact that it couldn't think of anything more advanced than human batteries, are just two of the numerous plot holes that can be irritating if you think about them too much.

4. Samantha

Could your computer develop enough of a personality that you could fall in love with it? This question is charmingly asked in the 2013 film Her, in which Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with Samantha (Scarlett Johansson in a voice-only role), the operating system for his computer devices.

The film explores the way in which humans view the world, contrasted with the potentially infinite ways in which an artificial intelligence could view the same things. Of course, it might be easy to fall in love with something that sounds like Scarlett Johansson.

5. Axiom

She ran around the bowels of several large and gloomy spaceships in the Alien series of films, so it might have been a nice change of pace for Sigourney Weaver to voice the main computer of the Axiom. This spaceship was the "temporary" home for humanity in 2008's WALL-E, and Weaver voiced the ship with an eagerness that hid the fact that the ship was in fact 700 years into a projected 5-year journey. If your entire life is lived within the confines of a spaceship, it might as well have the pleasant tones of Sigourney Weaver.

Computer technicians like Nanotech Computers-Brookvale can work wonders, and sometimes your lost files can be miraculously recovered. One day they might be able to recover personalities too, although you'll have to consider whether you want them to.