This week, we pay tribute to the classic love triangle between a man, a woman, and a sentient computer - Electric Dreams. It was actually a clever idea well-executed, but the real reason to look back at this movie is how dated its portrayal of computers are. This was back in the early days when computers were mysterious boxes of awe-inspiring power.
The computer in Electric Dreams is made super-intelligent when its owner spills soda on the keyboard. I'm sure the millions of programmers struggling to create artificial intelligence would be glad to know it's that easy. Right now, Bill Gates is emptying a Mountain Dew onto a Cray hoping to duplicate the effect. Unfortunately, the soda-on-keyboard experiment has been done thousands of times over the last two decades, and the only result has been sticky keyboards that no longer work. Then there's the obvious fact that the keyboard is not attached to the processing part of the computer in any way. That part is about as realistic as lightning making a robot sentient. Or lightning making a stealth fighter superintelligent. And who would ever make a silly movie like that?
* Electric Dreams came out in 1984. The IBM PC was introduced in 1981. Windows was released in 1985.
* The computer was named Edgar.
* Electric Dreams is a cult classic, most famous for its theme song by Culture Club.
* Much of the movie is made up of musical montages, which leaves about thirty minutes of actual plot.
* The plot, about the computer composing love songs to the girlfriend and its owner passing them off as his own, is at least partly based on the story of Cyrano DeBergerac.
* The computer did not have a big nose. In fact, it had no nose at all.
* The creepiest part was when the computer's owner plugged out the computer, and the computer just chuckled and said, "You think I need that?"
* At no point in this movie was it suggested the computer wanted to plug itself into the hero's girlfriend. That was only implied.