Hollywood goes with what works and, let's face it, there are a few things audiences like to see again and again in their movies. The underdog wins big, the loser gets his dream girl, Batman is awesome, etc.
But there are some themes that are either so wrong, stupid or harmful that they need to be retired once and for all. Such as ...
5Technology is Dangerous and Will Eventually Destroy Us
As Seen In:
2001: A Space Odyssey, War Games, Terminator, A.I., The Matrix, I, Robot
Why They Do It:
Deep down, we're all scared of change and, by extension, technology. In the '40s and '50s, the boogie man was atomic energy--in those old monster movies, it was always some kind of atomic accident that started it all. By the '80s, Hollywood needed something shiny and new for people to fear. And low and behold, there were these newfangled things called computers showing up everywhere, and most people were made nervous by the way the inanimate boxes seemed to be able to outsmart them.
Starting wars on a rudimentary home computer is both fun and EASY!
Writers played off that fear, telling audiences that as computers get faster and stranger, it is only a matter of time before one of these things pulls an Asimov and becomes self-aware. And when they do ... watch out.
So What's the Problem?
Keep in mind, none of these cautionary movies are based on real dangers. They're not talking about the difficulties in adapting the labor market to sudden improvements in automation, or the challenges of educating children who know computers better than you. Mainly because that film would be approximately as exciting as watching sloths fuck.
The original plot for The Matrix.
No, to drum up the fear, they've always had to invent a danger: "With a few keystrokes a team of hackers can blow up your house! Once computers get smart enough, they'll become sentient and start hating us! Robots will eventually cause the extinction of mankind!" And so on.
The whole idea is to play off people's ignorance on the subject. And people give them a lot to work with.
Will They Ever Stop?
It won't be long before the entire theater will be full of people who were raised with computers, and won't be all that scared of them. But that's OK--all that'll change is screenwriters will find new targets.
Soon you'll have less talk of a robot apocalypse, and more talk of a nanotechnology apocalypse, or a worldwide disaster caused by genetic engineering. As long as it's new and weird and unfamiliar, Hollywood scriptwriters will figure out a way to make it bring about the end of the world.