Author Topic: Ex Machina  (Read 9103 times)

verbALs

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Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2015, 08:42:38 AM »
Female robot- oxymoron
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2015, 02:08:25 PM »
Why would that be an oxymoron ? Ava is clearly given sexuality, and she exhibits many traits that are commonly associated with feminity. Regardless of the definition of sexuality we use, we usually allow men and women to identify with whatever gender they prefer, independently of their biological sexual makeup. So whether feminity is biological, cultural or behavioral Ava should be able to consider herself female.
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verbALs

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Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2015, 02:22:14 PM »
It's a robot, so it isnt biological.
It's a robot so it isnt from any human culture.
It's a robot so it didn't learn this behaviour from its environment.
It's a robot. It could have had a dogs face so would it then have behaved like a dog?

I think Garland was aiming at this diversion from the superificiality by having the robot have non - human body parts on show. The creator had previously competed the illusion of humanity in the older models but the one we follow in the film has robotic parts.

So to think of it as female or human doesn't work for me. Neither does the geeks reaction to her as a her at all. The attraction he seems to feel is just bizarre. He can see she's as plastic as a blow up doll.

So Ava exhibits femininity but it's very clearly artificial (it's a robot) and suspicious throughout.

The idea that an AI gains sentience and therefore has the right to determine its own existence, which I think this film explores; actually goes against the concept of the Turing Test. The test is trying to determine that a machine can act as a human convincingly. Why would a machine act like a human. If it is sentient then it isn't following programming. It programmes itself because it thinks for itself. Also the capabilities of a computer once it achieves sentience would go way beyond human. Why would it stop at merely copying human behaviour....unless it had its own reasons for doing so. Going back to Ultron. He comes to advanced conclusions very quickly having become sentient. That isn't to say that a machine might not decide to get along with humans but the idea that it would ACT like humans is really a strange conclusion to come to; unless one feels humans are some high point on the aspirational ladder.

Another example; the Nexus 6 in Blade Runner exhibit sentience; survival primarily (much like Ava) but they can't pretend to be human under questioning (just ask them about their mothers- difficult one to answer). But they can pretend to be human for their own purposes. So you have to question why an AI would pretend humanity. Usually pretending connotes some ulterior motive. Hence the suspicion.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2015, 02:56:46 PM by verbALs »
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Corndog

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Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2015, 03:17:07 PM »
You'll probably shoot holes in this, but does the environment not lend itself to "her" being human. She is secluded with her only contact being Caleb and Nathan, humans. Unlike Ultron, who can connect to the internet and experience, well, everything, from what we know Ava can't do that, meaning her sentient "input" is what she is surrounded by, which are humans and human culture/conventions.

Do you not buy Tarzan because Tarzan is a human and even though he is raised by apes he should act like a human and not an ape because he is human?
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verbALs

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Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2015, 03:33:39 PM »
That's a good point and of those three of biological, cultural and behavioural; then behavioural was the strongest. I think it comes down to this idea of a machine gaining sentience could it do so in this hermetically sealed environment you describe. The film explores this because Caleb's route to AI was thru the Big Data idea; collecting all the billions of interactions going on online (hope that's right, I saw it a while ago). Now that might make Ava more human than human as a result. So it's a very particular type of sentience. The movie isn't going to be long enough to explore something that complex!

Interesting question from a human PoV though; do we follow established behaviour or do we make up our own minds? How useful is sentience if all we do with it is plough the same furrow as everyone else? I'm liking the film more for the questions it prompts.

The Tarzan idea puts this in stark relief. Tarzan and the Apes are biologically incredibly similar. Genetically structured almost exactly the same. An AI is fundamentally made of inorganic material. Even structured to copy a brain; which is a big assumption one nobody is making but I'll give you that one- it still is inorganic. Not at all like Tarzan! The further assumption is that it WANTS to copy humans. Again why would it do that? To fit in? To not be switched off? Well it has the right to exist. If this film is about anything it's about Ava's right to exist. Again that has nothing to do with being human. So I question the idea that it is female just because it has a female face. If it was learning from Caleb why wouldn't it be a boy?
« Last Edit: May 05, 2015, 03:46:47 PM by verbALs »
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Melvil

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Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2015, 04:35:30 PM »
I think Corndog is spot on. What would she behave like if not human? Her intelligence is all modeled on human behavior, data, and physicality (even if it is an arbitrary decision on Nathan's part). It would be pretty fascinating to consider what an AI developed independently of those things and raised in isolation would turn out like, but that's a level of speculation beyond the scope of this film. I think any AI coming from human creators will, at least in the start, be a rather close model of humans.

The gender question is certainly a complex one, especially considering how much argument there is on the topic as it applies to humans much less AI. Ava's "biological gender", or as close as you can get to it, does seem to be female but beyond that I don't have a strong sense of how that relates to her sense of self.

FlickingDC

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Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2015, 08:57:17 PM »
Like the best sci-fi on AI, it gets us to ask questions that aren't about robots at all. Some of Nathan's comments get us to think about: what are we in the end really but behavioral programs with bodies designed in part for sexuality? When you start thinking about how ridiculous it is for Caleb to be attracted to Ava you end up thinking about how ridiculous all attraction is. So coming back to the gender discussion, I don't see why we shouldn't accept Ava as female.

It's also got me thinking about something else. Could you have a human program that was not gendered? More bluntly and personally, I'm really curious if anyone out there would like to comment on whether they can think of their own identity without the gender attached? Can you think in terms of: well, this is who I ultimately, really am, and this gender thing is just thrown in at the end? Or is our gender inseparably a part of who we are?

I admit, I would like to think that gender can be separated out, but some of my experiences and conversations with other people suggest it may not be so simple.

Bondo

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Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #27 on: May 05, 2015, 11:40:23 PM »
The attraction he seems to feel is just bizarre. He can see she's as plastic as a blow up doll.

A "blow-up doll" with a personality. What's not to like, except the inevitable rejection. From a male perspective, this is probably a "flaw" in the software. Still, I had no problem finding her appealing in her original state. Just think of it as fancy cosplay, and I rather think we could see some Ava cosplay in the coming years.

verbALs

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Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2015, 02:17:22 AM »
I think Corndog is spot on. What would she behave like if not human? Her intelligence is all modeled on human behavior, data, and physicality (even if it is an arbitrary decision on Nathan's part).
So if you follow CD's logic, why didn't "she" turn out male; since this was the behaviour she was learning from? She didn't have a female role model. If you follow the logic that she learnt from the entire internet, then why would she be either male or female? On the third hand, if an AI is a primarily logical entity then what is so great about copying the behaviour of humanity, and going no further? Why would that be the logical choice? Making a decision such as this won't make it any more suitable as a female or male. She isn't biologically equipped for it to matter. It won't feel sexual pleasure, affection, and it can't make babies. So what would be the point from that perspective? Under The Skin makes the point in a few scenes as the robot tries to act human in a sexual way.

@FlickingDC; I think there are people out there who don't consider themselves male or female. I'm not sure if androgyny covers it, but it seems as natural a choice as a boy choosing to be a girl or vice versa.

I think Alicia Vikander was an excellent choice for this role. She is a beautiful woman but there is more to her intelligence and physicality  that is attractive, that is subtle and draws you to her. Actually, I wonder what the reaction to this is from female viewers. Are they responding to her so immediately as a female robot? I would argue that if Vikander cannot shed the impression that she is "female" in the role of this robot then there is a fault in the performance. it reminds me of Walter Tevis' "Mockingbird" in that there you have an AI that decides it wants to be a father, with horrible consequences.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2015, 02:30:55 AM by verbALs »
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Corndog

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Re: Ex Machina
« Reply #29 on: May 06, 2015, 07:28:36 AM »
She isn't biologically equipped for it to matter. It won't feel sexual pleasure, affection, and it can't make babies. So what would be the point from that perspective?

This actually isn't accurate. There is a scene where Nathan tells Caleb that he could sleep with her if he wanted because he had built her with "parts", which are surrounded with receptors to make her feel pleasure.

Part this discussion has me wondering how much of the development of these AIs has to do with Nathan's own sexual frustrations. Is he socially awkward as a "boy genius", living in seclusion developing his own sophisticated partners? Not sure what I actually think about that theory, but it's one that just came to mind.
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