Author Topic: Ex Machina  (Read 9102 times)

Junior

  • Bert Macklin, FBI
  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27094
  • What's the rumpus?
    • Benefits of a Classical Education
Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2015, 01:14:08 PM »
I don't think that the movie is cynical at all. I think it posits the idea that we will only be given back what we serve in the first place. We see only one drunken, egotistical asshole version of an AI creator and that his creation turns against him and maybe humanity in the process is kind of a defensible position. As we saw and she said, Ava has never seen anybody who wasn't Oscar Isaac before Gleeson shows up. If that's your sole point of contact for an entire species, especially the one that created you, I don't blame her for hating him and wanting to kill him. It's only natural to extend that thought to humanity as a whole, or at least to Gleeson who also seems to be interested in her for reasons that go beyond respecting her as an entity.

We never see an AI created by a nice person in this universe, and even this one twisted by Isaac has a mournful glance for Gleeson's predicament. And we can't just ignore the ending, either. It's not like she goes out into the street and starts murdering everybody. She has taken her revenge (another human (or at least conscious-based) action) and can join everybody else as her own person. That's what struck me most. Her walking around at the end in the white dress was just a lovely expression of her discovering the world outside her box. Wonder, delight, awe, calmness, excitement. Great stuff and about as un-cynical as I could imagine for an ending to this movie.
Check out my blog of many topics

Im not a quitter, Kimmy! I watched Interstellar all the way to the end!

MattDrufke

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 709
Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2015, 01:27:08 PM »
Saw this movie last night and loved it. My girlfriend and I had two very interesting conversations about the film on the drive home:

The first, which was touched on with the podcast and in this conversation, is did Ava do the right thing? She took a quest to survive and escape. And yes, it meant letting a good man die. But was there another way she would've been able to keep surviving and start her new life in the real world?

The second question, which I like to think about, is what next for Ava? Is she able to get a job, find a place to live, meet people? Will she have to move when people realize she hasn't aged a day? Or will she just be like every other kind of machine and break in a few years after the wear and tear catches up to her?

Either way: Great movie.
@ihatemattdrufke

FlickingDC

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2015, 02:20:54 PM »
<<The second question, which I like to think about, is what next for Ava? Is she able to get a job, find a place to live, meet people? Will she have to move when people realize she hasn't aged a day? Or will she just be like every other kind of machine and break in a few years after the wear and tear catches up to her?>>

What a cool idea. Really fun to think about a sequel to this and what Ava would do and how it might all play out.

I think Ava's savvy enough not to let anyone know she's not human out of self-preservation. That's probably why she didn't want Caleb coming with her, after all. It's not that she didn't trust Caleb, it's that she knew Caleb would not be able to keep her secret, and she rightly feared how she would be exploited if word got out.

Very interesting to think about how she could try to have a life without giving away her secret, how others would react to her, and so on. Reminds me a little of Let the Right One In, except for the drinking blood part.

Melvil

  • Godfather
  • ******
  • Posts: 9978
  • Eek
Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2015, 04:16:15 PM »
I don't think that the movie is cynical at all. I think it posits the idea that we will only be given back what we serve in the first place. We see only one drunken, egotistical asshole version of an AI creator and that his creation turns against him and maybe humanity in the process is kind of a defensible position. As we saw and she said, Ava has never seen anybody who wasn't Oscar Isaac before Gleeson shows up. If that's your sole point of contact for an entire species, especially the one that created you, I don't blame her for hating him and wanting to kill him. It's only natural to extend that thought to humanity as a whole, or at least to Gleeson who also seems to be interested in her for reasons that go beyond respecting her as an entity.

We never see an AI created by a nice person in this universe, and even this one twisted by Isaac has a mournful glance for Gleeson's predicament. And we can't just ignore the ending, either. It's not like she goes out into the street and starts murdering everybody. She has taken her revenge (another human (or at least conscious-based) action) and can join everybody else as her own person. That's what struck me most. Her walking around at the end in the white dress was just a lovely expression of her discovering the world outside her box. Wonder, delight, awe, calmness, excitement. Great stuff and about as un-cynical as I could imagine for an ending to this movie.

I'm with you. I think the cynicism is more Nathan's than the movie's.

#NotAllAI

The first, which was touched on with the podcast and in this conversation, is did Ava do the right thing? She took a quest to survive and escape. And yes, it meant letting a good man die. But was there another way she would've been able to keep surviving and start her new life in the real world?

I'm still not certain that she does doom Caleb to death in the end, so I tend to think her actions are pretty excusable.

The second question, which I like to think about, is what next for Ava? Is she able to get a job, find a place to live, meet people? Will she have to move when people realize she hasn't aged a day? Or will she just be like every other kind of machine and break in a few years after the wear and tear catches up to her?

This does make for a wide range of speculation. One seemingly popular theory is that outside of Nathan's lab she won't have a way to charge herself and won't last more than a day or two. On the other hand she could potentially outlast us all. The real question is what would she want to do with her freedom?

MattDrufke

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 709
Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2015, 03:07:01 PM »
This does make for a wide range of speculation. One seemingly popular theory is that outside of Nathan's lab she won't have a way to charge herself and won't last more than a day or two. On the other hand she could potentially outlast us all. The real question is what would she want to do with her freedom?

That's an interesting question. What is her power source? Is there a scene in the movie where she or Kyoko (or any of the others) are plugged in?
@ihatemattdrufke

FlickingDC

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2015, 05:12:08 PM »
This does make for a wide range of speculation. One seemingly popular theory is that outside of Nathan's lab she won't have a way to charge herself and won't last more than a day or two. On the other hand she could potentially outlast us all. The real question is what would she want to do with her freedom?

That's an interesting question. What is her power source? Is there a scene in the movie where she or Kyoko (or any of the others) are plugged in?

I don't think there's a scene where we see them charging, and I think Ava can surmount any challenges relating to that. Perhaps most significantly, she doesn't seem worried about it. She is extremely intelligent and obviously interested in her self-preservation. I can't imagine that she would have fled without thinking this through. Also, I think we can assume that in the universe of the movie, there are charging technologies for other things similar enough that Ava can use or adapt them for her needs.

The thing I find myself fascinated by is thinking about what her life would look like assuming she didn't power down three hours after the movie ends. What would she want, and how would she try to get it?

I think she wants connection with others like her. I think the way she leaves Caleb behind suggests that she will want connection with other AI, not with humans. (Even if we speculate that she's going to alert someone to Caleb's predicament, if she felt substantial empathy for him, she could have said something on her way out--hey, no worries, I won't let you die here, but she just coldly leaves without so much as a word.) So how can she achieve that without revealing herself as an AI?

If I game out a sequel, I think she tries to find a genius programmer that she thinks she can trust (or manipulate) into creating others like her.

FlickingDC

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2015, 05:20:14 PM »
Or, just occurred to me, maybe she returns to the Nathan compound to revive the discarded robots before people catch on that Nathan is dead...

MattDrufke

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 709
Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2015, 07:16:41 AM »
If I game out a sequel, I think she tries to find a genius programmer that she thinks she can trust (or manipulate) into creating others like her.

Enter Skynet.
@ihatemattdrufke

Bondo

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 19621
Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2015, 07:58:10 AM »
Ex Machina (2015)

When Her came out, I was pretty adamant that the film wasn't really at all about technology or AI or isolating effects thereof. Rather, I saw it artfully using this gloss of science-fiction to tell the much more human story of the shortcoming in expecting any one individual to fill all of our needs. Ex Machina is a little more about the science, but in how it plays out, it is less about questions or concerns about AI as it is a metaphor for gender relations. Much as artificial intelligence and the singularity seem like an eventuality, so may be the triumph of feminism.

The film has its own endogenous logic as to why the two humans staying in a remote house are male while the two robots we see moving about are women, but there is a metaphorical one as well. Patriarchy has many legacies here. There is a bit of discussion that places Nathan (Oscar Isaac) into the place of a god or a creator, a status often given a male affect and used to justify male dominance. Some of the functions of the robots, cleaning, serving, sex, reduce these traditionally feminine tasks or assets to men to the form of an object. In this case, the Turing test that Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) administers to Ava (Alicia Vikander) can double for the way society often stands skeptical that women are as capable as men in various fields.

On the surface, we see a bit of the standard cautionary tale about AI and the threat of machines taking over, but it is more about reaping what one sows. Nathan doesn't respect the personhood of his creations, seen in the willingness to hold them captive and exert a form of violence against them. Caleb may represent a nobler, feminist presence, but even that is clouded for Ava by the perhaps patronizing assumption of the knight in shining armor role, one that comes with the aspiration of a romantic relationship. It makes his values less trustworthy, which again is the long-term effect of Nathan's abuse. Thus while we see Ava give that slight glance as she leaves, a hint of regret, ultimately she feels she can't risk her freedom on her feelings. It is an interesting twist as for AI, the development of feelings is a breakthrough, but for women written off as overly emotional and who have had those social expectations used against them to trap them, for Ava it is overcoming the emotions or the social bonds to do what she needs to for her own sake that is the breakthrough.

This is one coherent interpretation of the story, but I don't think it is by any means definitive. One could focus much more on the spiritual component. Nathan as creator, Caleb a bit like Adam and Ava naturally as Eve, pushing Caleb to commit original sin. One could of course just look at the moral ramifications of increasingly sentient beings. All of these things are there. The visual look of the film is stunning, a collision of natural beauty and hyper-modernist design that often feels like a spaceship. The performances feed perfectly into a fairly icy thriller. Isaac's is definitely the biggest performance here, with a pretty steady sinister air, though rarely overt enough to confirm one's suspicions. Vikander's is the standout, ably handling the challenge of playing both a slight machine blankness but with an engaging element to pull you in. That allure was almost immediate, making one completely understand Caleb's actions. Still, for all the raves, there is a touch of distance in the film that keeps me from being completely wild about it.

A-

FlickingDC

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2015, 09:27:22 AM »
Ex Machina (2015)

When Her came out, I was pretty adamant that the film wasn't really at all about technology or AI or isolating effects thereof. Rather, I saw it artfully using this gloss of science-fiction to tell the much more human story of the shortcoming in expecting any one individual to fill all of our needs. Ex Machina is a little more about the science, but in how it plays out, it is less about questions or concerns about AI as it is a metaphor for gender relations.

Yes, agree about the gender commentary. Love the way it's woven into the film's DNA. Didn't feel heavy-handed while watching but when I think back on it, it's impossible to miss.

Do I need a spoiler for a thematic point about "Her"? Well, there it is.


So one thing I really like about Her and Ex Machina is how they twist the usual Pinocchio story that you see in AI films like "Bicentennial Man" and "AI." We arrogantly assume that AI will want to become more like us, but Her and Ex Machina have moments where we reflect on: wait, what will THEY think of US? Will they even like us?