Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ex Machina


Director: Alex Garland

Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Corey Johnson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno, Clair Selby, Symara A. Templeman, Gana Bayarsaikhan, Tiffany Pisani, Elina Alminas

Plot Summary: A computer programmer wins a contest whose reward is a stay with Jay, the rich, eccentric and rigid innovator of an internet search engine company. The programmer soon learns that he is the human component of a Turing test, to measure the validity of an artifically intelligent Woman who is a product of the contest holder.

As a coder and programmer and writer myself, this movie caught my eye since its release however it was far removed from my expectations and in the end once again left me astounded. It tells the story of a Caleb, a company programmer who wins a contest in which he is selected to take part in evaluating the AI of an artificial Woman, created by the wealthy company owner. Caleb is played with subtle demeanor and modest acumen against the overbearing and imposing persona of Jay. Between them are two Women, Kyoko who is the multirole hired help to Jay and Ava who is the artificially constructed Woman Jay has designed. Caleb's and Jay's relationship slowly transforms from one which finds Caleb in complete awe of his inspiration to one of distrust and deceit. Watching this movie was an incredible experience and it definitely denotes one of the more tech savvy offerings offered in film. More over, it hits right on target the real life questions concerning the concept of artificially intelligent beings, their rights as conscious beings and the concept of when a thing becomes a being.

Upon watching this movie I continually had to keep reminding myself that Stanley Kubrick was not alive to direct it, despite the fact the director and crew brought the feel of Stanley's best work. It is apparent that the director and performers did this as a nod to the accomplished director though they carried it to a level beyond that which Kubrick himself might have been capable. Naturally most will associate with Caleb but as the movie plays out, you may find yourself questioning who is actually right and more importantly, what is right in such a situation and how it relates to the rights and survival of ourselves versus our creations.

The performances are all top notch and I never found myself guessing what would come next because the movie is woven together into a narrative masterpiece thanks to its honesty with regard to human nature and the likelihood of our application of that concept of our own nature that we'd embody in our creations. Almost as if through our anthropomorphic aspirations we step far beyond what we create. This movie should be required watching for computer science students and especially those involved in artificial intelligence research. When our creations are conscious, are they really ours or their own? What responsibility and morale framework is their in place that we must uphold for the rights of such beings? Surely their must be some as there are for our organic offspring and our observation of this idea may in the future be the key to human survival.

Incredible movie. Two thumbs up!

Brian Joseph Johns

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