Challenging the Science and AI in the Sci-Fi Film Ex Machina

By Devender Singh

There are numerous reasons to be inspired by Ex Machina, released in 2015, a science fiction thriller directed by Alex Garland, featuring Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander.

Like any great modern thriller, Ex Machina invites viewers to question who comprehends what, who’s outmanoeuvring who, and what – or who – is genuine, holding its viewers in a controlled tension throughout.

A more profound plunge into the centre of the film uncovers a strikingly shrewd, one of a kind and significantly effective discovery of the very substance of presence, weaving together interesting doubts on everything from philosophy to psychology, dialect to sexuality, religion to death and workmanship to innovation.

Ava (played excellently by Alicia Vikander) is a wonderful robot made by self-retained Dotcom billionaire Nathan Bates (Oscar Isaac). Bates gets Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a modest software engineer from his internet search company, BlueBook, to survey the impediments of his creation. The result is a strained, exciting form of the Turing test.

The film raises the question – is it possible for a robot to be self-conscious?

So where are we at with artificial intelligence (AI) currently? Ava’s consciousness is drawn from the BlueBook, which is effectively the film’s version of Google. Her insight and conduct are created by gathering the teraflops of data we uncover about our behaviour pattern while surfing the internet. It’s a wonderful way the film clarifies the basis of her human-level intelligence, in relation to current tech. We live in a world where each word you search on Google, each buy you make on Amazon and each Instagram picture you post, uncovers something about you, your behaviour and personality, with no real awareness of what this data is being used for.

artificial intelligence

Alex Garland focuses on the evolution of artificial intelligence by showing Ava with a presence of self-awareness and emotions during the Turing test which completely resembles human behaviour.

Concerning her smart, human-level consciousness is an approach to AI, at least for the imminent future and to a great extent since it isn’t the principle point of AI research. The thought of AI surpassing all levels of human cognisance is unnerving. For the most part researchers are building frameworks for AI to upload particular human functions, only if that is to simply play a game of chess by itself.

Future of Material Science and artificial intelligence

Ava’s body is likely decades from existence. Researchers are exploring how to make robots which can do things we find very simple: they can drive a car, yet not actually get into one. The co-ordinated muscle movement and human-like body motion of Ava which was shown in the movie has still not really been achieved by scientists in the real world, but the discoveries are amazing and frightening in equal measure.

These advancements definitely get us thinking. Nathan Bates is a blend of Victor Frankenstein, Colonel Kurtz, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg; he is a man who tries to put himself at the focal point of creation beyond anyone else’s realm of reality. Ava’s AI is drawn from his previous creation, BlueBook, a clear comparison to Google.

It is presumed that Google is gathering data, and developing mechanical technology and using AI firms to construct and refine future technological innovation with a specific end goal to… well, we don’t have a clue. Science works best with a free and open stream of data similar to development. It would be very presumptuous to believe that Google is building the equivalent of Ava, but it wouldn’t be completely unreasonable.

Perhaps the most vital question is the one that Nathan asks to Caleb on why he made Ava in the first place.

“That’s a weird question – wouldn’t you if you could?”