End of "A.I." -- what were those things? (open spoilers)

At the end of A.I., the robot David goes into a kind of suspended animation – eventually getting frozen in ice – and is uncovered revived several thousand years later by . . . Well, it’s not clear what they are. Silver-skinned beings, vaguely humanoid, who remember humanity as an extinct species. Are these supposed to be ET’s, or highly evolved robots?

They were forum trolling robots, ruthlessly dealing with anyone who accidentally posted stuff in the wrong place. :smiley:

Highly evolved robots.

Off to Cafe Society. (We won’t be debating film critters in this Forum.)

[ /Moderating ]

Watching the film in the theater, I thought they were aliens. When I mentioned it here, however, I was told in no uncertain terms that it should be completely obvious to anyone who wasn’t a moron that they were robots.

So… robots it is, then.

In truth, though, it doesn’t matter what they were. They didn’t serve any purpose to the plot other than to show up after the story had ended and say “never mind all that, here’s a happy ending.” View tham as a marketing focus group wandering through the studio wearing silver masks, and the ending makes perfect sense.

I never had any impression other than they were advanced mechas.

Of course they’re robots, it was foreshadowed all along.

I don’t know how that could be described as a happy ending. All humanity was dead, the world frozen over, and David was living in an elaborate cage to be exploited for his knowledge of long forgotten history.

When I first saw the movie, I was under the distinct impression that they were aliens with the ability to read the “minds” of centuries-old robots whose technologies would have long since become obsolete simply by touching them with a fingertip, and display their “thoughts” on TV screens in their chests for no apparent reason.

I was subsequently informed that I was a moron, because clearly the creatures are robots with the ability to read the “minds” of centuries-old robots whose technologies would have long since become obsolete simply by touching them with a fingertip, and display their “thoughts” on TV screens in their chests for no apparent reason.

It makes much more sense now.

There was a line that said something about how David was able to teach them or show them about their long-gone ancestors, or something like that. I haven’t seen it since it came out, so my memory’s fuzzy. That’s the “proof”, if one is needed.

That line is the proof, that is, not my vague memory of it. Just to clarify.

Isn’t it a bleak view of a frozen world where humans have been totally replaced by the robots?

They were super advanced rewriteo-bots.

Not as bleak as if we’d been replaced by nothing.


Another proof is that the evolved robots have made themselves into the image of their creator since they look like the stylized robot logo of the company that created them.

I’ve never understood why anyone would think they were aliens. Why *would * they be aliens? It’s a movie about robots! I strongly suspect that the only reason anyone ever thought they might be aliens is because it was Spielberg.

The mechanical beings left at the end of AI are artificial entities designed via committee to produce a saccharine sensation in the gullible, but only serve to annoy the realistic and artistic.

The same thing goes for the robots at the end of the Spielberg movie.


They’re robots, and it isn’t a happy ending – the epilogue of the movie, IMHO, should demonstrate that David is a monster. Throughout the film, David does horrible things (tries to drown his brother, smashes all the other Davids, etc.), which the audience tries to rationalize (Oh, he just doesn’t understand!) because he’s cute and he’s the protagonist. But at the end, the robots tell David he can have one day with his mother, but to do so will destroy her soul forever, and he doesn’t even hesitate, because he doesn’t actually care about her, he is merely an id machine. This should force us to recognize how many excuses we’ve made for him.


I’ve watched the movie closely several times (it’s one of my personal favorites) and I’ve always assumed they were aliens-- either biological or mechanical beings that came to Earth from somewhere else to study its extinct civilization.

If there are obvious clues that the beings originated on Earth, I must have really misinterpreted them! What are these clues?

There was a very long thread about A.I. back in the day……

From what I gathered from seeing the movie (only once) and reading that thread, is that the entire movie is supposed to be a fairy tale (similar to Pinocchio) as told by one robot to another. (I believe we hear Ben Kingsley’s voice narrating at the beginning and at the end). I think that’s supposed to be the “twist” that we discover at the end. If so, then the movie absolutely had to have all those scenes. If that really was Spielberg’s intent, he should have made it much more clear, maybe by “backing up” just after the last scene, to show a big robot reading a book to a small robot. Maybe Spielberg was trying to be vague and mysterious, a la Kubrick. Personally, I’m simple minded, and I don’t like movies to end up vague and mysterious.