I loved the film back then, but I love it even more now.
Just like Kubrick's great movie 2001, I also think this movie will stand the test of time and might be ranked as one of the greatest science fictions ever filmed.
There are two important things about this movie I had missed when I had watched it in theaters.
First is what made David (the AI) unique was his desire to fulfill his purpose, which was to both love and be loved by his "mother". For his purpose, David is willing to do anything and his intense desire to fulfill his purpose is what sets him apart from all previous robots.
Second, the musical score in this film is simply breathtaking. I mean it is one of the best of all time great.
Number of people have mistakenly concluded the ending involved aliens. But they are not aliens but a future advanced artificial intelligence humanoid.
Just like humans seek their purpose by seeking their creator, so too the AI seek their own purpose by seeking their creator, which is us.
17 years after the release of this film, the advent of AI has become real. We will almost certainly have AI in the next ten years and we may even have our first "David" with real emotions, within couple of decades. Because AI do not have end-of-life and does not depend on organism to support itself, any AI we build may not only be self-sustaining but very long-lasting, and probably will outlast the human race. Unlike humans, AI humanoids are not bound by time or the frailties of the flesh. They can absorb and compute information exponentially better than any human. For those reasons alone, they will achieve things that us humans can only dream of, such as infinite wisdom, technology, and interstellar travel.