7 Influential Films That Everyone in the Tech Industry Should See

According to many historians who study periods of rapid technological development, the Digital Revolution lasted from the mid-1970s until early 2022, and we are now living in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. What this means for individuals who work in the tech industry is that they are living in the early years of a new technological era, so it makes sense to explore what the future may bring based on what happened during the Digital Revolution.

A good way to make informed projections about the future is to take a look at the past. The wonderful medium of cinema is a good way to do this, and everyone working in tech now should consider watching the following films for their insight and commentary:

1- Startup.com

This incredible documentary from 2001 provides a fly-on-the-wall look at the rise and fall of GovWorks, one of many tech startups trying to make it during the wild Dot-Com Bubble era on Wall Street. This can be insightful for anyone working in a startup environment, from venture capital investors to coders and from executives to clerks.

2- Ex Machina

Although this film delivers the thrills of a horror classic, it goes deep into ethical concerns about the development of artificial intelligence (AI); plus, it is cleverly centered on the Turing Test as an almost subconscious plot point. Another reason “Ex Machina” is recommended to tech industry professionals is the way it handles issues related to mental health and personality disorders.

3- The Social Dilemma

Does Big Tech know about the impact of social media usage and its various dangers? This question is at the center of this 2020 Netflix documentary with a dramatic plot, and it raises some interesting points about how the major social networks choose to ignore red flags for the sake of profits and progress.

4- Snowden and Citizenfour

Information security researchers recommend watching the 2016 film before the 2014 documentary about the life of Edward Snowden, the patriotic American cybersecurity contractor whose leaks of scary classified materials from the United States National Security Agency changed the way we exchange private data forever. “Citizenfour” is far more impactful than “Snowden,” but both films will certainly resonate among professionals in the cybersecurity sector.

5- Her

If you are familiar with the work of Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry, this 2013 film about an advanced AI system that blends the lines between virtual assistant tools and operating systems. Although “Her” unfolds as a philosophical romantic comedy with forlorn motifs, some sections of the film deal with the potential of integrating machine learning AI routines into operating systems and our daily lives.

6- Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Here we have an interactive horror episode from the anthology series “Black Mirror” series on the Netflix video streaming platform. “Bandersnatch” puts you in control of the narrative as it follows a young programmer creating a video game based on a choose-your-own-adventure novel in the late 1980s. Similar to “Ex Machina,” this episode also deals with mental health themes.

7- Pirates of Silicon Valley

This 1999 made-for-TV movie takes you into the early days of personal computing, specifically the rivalry between Apple and Microsoft. The familiar story about both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs rushing to develop copies of the Xerox Alto system, which was the absolute pioneer of the graphical user interface (GUI) and the desktop metaphor, is somewhat glossed over, but it works. For a TV film, this one presents valuable historical context for the tech industry’s evolution and the core philosophies that continue to shape it today.


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