Ex Machina asks two questions you’ve probably heard before: “Will artificial intelligence destroy humanity?” and “What makes us human?” These concepts are not new, but Ex Machina, in select U.S. theaters now, asks them in the most beautiful ways.
The film follows a tech billionaire who, after building a monopolistic search company called Bluebook, ventures to build a true AI. And that AI has a name: Ava.
Set in the remote confines of his private estate, the billionaire recruits a young engineer to conduct a classic Turing Test.
The film defines that test for the audience: “It’s when a human interacts with a computer, and if the human doesn’t know they’re interacting with a computer, the test is passed.”
The premise is all too real. The billionaire is the archetype of an out-of-touch, overconfident, yet brilliant tech luminary — an Elon Musk, a Peter Thiel, or a Larry Page. The company, of course, is Google.
The results will leave you deeply suspicious of artificial intelligence, or worse. This film plays to humankind’s recklessness, the uncanny valley, and our fascination with our own destruction. Most importantly, it leaves you questioning your own sense of humanity.
We’ll keep this simple for you: You should go see it.
In the exclusive clip below, Ex Machina director Alex Garland and actors Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander discuss the film.
Speaking of the film’s starring creation, Ava, Garland said:
At some point, machines will think in the ways we think. There are many implications to that. If a machine can’t get ill, and is not really mortal, it seems to me that quite quickly some kind of swap will start to happen. We don’t feel particularly bad about Neanderthal man or australopithecus — which we replaced. So whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing … that’s up to the individual I guess.
What the film does is engage with the idea that it will at some point happen. The question is what that leads to.