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AI in Ex Machina  looks more human than earlier robots

Review about Ex Machina, a film and related issues about the future

If you have ever spent time thinking about the future and artificial intelligence and you haven’t seen the film Ex Machina, you should.

It’s terrifying.

It’s terrifying because the image above is old style robots. The next generation look and sound totally human.

And it’s terrifying in its apparently gentle reasonableness. A young man is employed by a mysterious modern genius to run a Turing test on an attractive and appealing female machine, Ava.

Ex Machina is a thriller, a psychological thriller, a power game as the young man learns more, the older man wants more and the female entity appears to play them off. It’s about intelligence, artificial and human. It’s about trust and lies.

It plays on all the technology we have and that which is surely imminent to set against natural emotions including jealousy, human frailty, sex and love. Just what makes us human?

The Turing Test

We seem heading towards a time where robots, drones and as yet undreamed of remotes will operate our world, with or without consent.

The Turing test is an assessment of a machine’s ability to display intelligent behaviour equivalent to or indistinguishable from that of a human being. Turing suggested that a human who was evaluating the machine would judge natural language conversation between them while being aware that one is human and one is a machine.

In the film Ava builds the relationship that forms the test with a clear screen between them. The sexual frissons keep rising.

God From the Machine

What isn’t explained is that the phrase ‘deus ex machina’ came out in the days of Ancient Greece. In their theatres when a story needed a big powerful, supernatural intervention to save the day, a ‘god’ would appear from some piece of stage furniture and rescue the situation leading to a resolved if not happy situation.

It still basically is the case today. A plot device, possibly far-fetched to can get the writer/story out of a difficult corner and lead forward or for comedic purposes.

And that makes the film even more clever and apt. As the singularity becomes reality, are humans destined to be brushed aside into a corridor of history while machines come into their own.

The singularity? Well, it’s the era ‘in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today—the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity.’

This is according to Ray Kurzweil author of a book about the subject.

Or it’s just the day they take over completely. Because they can.

There is a current story on Channel 4 at present called Humans, which deals with similar themes. It’s good, but not half as good in a hair-raising way as Ex Machina.

Catch these blogs as well:

Make Friends With Robotics, There Is No Other Choice, 2 March 2015

Robot Armies Filling All the Best Jobs Are the Spectre Facing the World Soon, 24 September 2014

How to Tell – The Human Giveaways in Our Behaviour, 13 August 2014

Domestic Robots Are But a Few Months Away from Rescuing Us, 25 March 2014