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Ex Machina - Movie Review

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Ex Machina Film Analysis

Ex Machina is a film written and produced by Alex Garland in 2015. In this film, the main character, Caleb Smith, is a programmer at an internet-search giant who wins a competition and is invited to the house of Nathan Bateman, an extremely successful CEO of his own software corporation. When Caleb reaches the isolated house, he realizes that he will have to participate in a strange experiment where he must interact with the world’s first robot with artificial intelligence. Nathan lives with a woman named Kyoko, who Caleb believes, does not speak English. The humanoid robot, named Ava, was programmed to have artificial intelligence. Thus, Caleb is required to direct a Turing test that tests the ability of artificial intelligence to be persuasive enough to convince the subject that it is human. Caleb must determine whether he can relate to Ava even with knowing that she has artificial intelligence through various meetings and consultations (Tsao, 2015).

In the Turing test, there is a human being, a computer program, and an interrogator, a human. The goal is for the interrogator to decide which one is the human and which is the computer program. The human’s goal is to assist the interrogator to make the accurate choice. The rules include that the interrogator can only ask the questions. There are no limitations on the inquiries. The players must also answer all of the interrogator’s questions. However, there is no rule that the answers have to be truthful (Fumerton & Jeske).

Ava has a robotic figure, but a human-like face. From the time she was made, she has been confined to her room with hardly any social interaction. When Caleb is assigned to test her, he begins to develop a bond and becomes close to her. During one of their meetings, Ava discloses that she is capable of disarming the surveillance system by producing power outages in Nathan’s house. The power outages activate the house’s security system and lock every door. Ava also makes known to Caleb that Nathan is a liar and is not to be trusted (Tsao, 2015).

Throughout the film, Garland makes it obvious that Nathan has alcoholic tendencies. Caleb begins to recognize them and encourages Nathan to drink until he reaches unconsciousness. Caleb is, then, able to steal the security card to enter Nathan’s room and computer system. Because he is well-versed with computer programming, Caleb can alter a section of the code where he is then able to view hidden footage from prior interactions of Nathan and his humanoid robots. In the recordings, Caleb sees Nathan interacting and mistreating former robot models. From this, he comes to the realization that Kyoko is also a robot. Caleb begins to question himself and his humanistic qualities. He slices his arm open to determine if he has been fooled the trip to believe that he is human when he was merely a robot. After cutting himself and seeing blood and flesh, he realizes that he is certainly a human being.

In the next meeting with Ava, she disables the power. Once Caleb is able to express himself without being watched, he states that Nathan is planning to reprogram her. He also explains a plan to get Nathan drunk, rewire the security system, and lock Nathan in his room during a power failure. After their conversation, Caleb and Nathan return to the same room where Nathan reveals that he recorded Caleb and Ava with a video camera. He determines that Ava passed the Turing Test because she seduced Caleb into assisting with the escape plan. Ava cuts the power again, and Caleb informs Nathan that he already followed through with his plan the previous day. With reconstruction, following minor injury, Ava is able to escape. However she leaves Caleb trapped inside the house, but she is able to view the outside world, starting with Caleb’s house (Tsao, 2015)

This philosophical issue falls into the metaphysical and epistemological realms. The metaphysical realm deals with the ways the principles of abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time and space. The question of the film was whether or not Ava is considered a real human. This may seem to be a stretch on being a metaphysical issue. However, it can apply to the basis of what is real? The epistemological realm deals with the theory of knowledge and what can be known. The epistemological problem of certain knowledge and how it is acquired is examined based on how Ava obtains her data.

An issue that occurred throughout the film is whether or not Nathan has been telling the truth to Caleb or lying the entire time. Caleb could clearly see that Ava’s body is artificial. Nathan, also let him see the parts from which she was made. However, it could be quite possible that Ava’s intelligence is not artificial. When watching the film, Nathan was not in the room for the discussions between Caleb and Ava. It is an option that Nathan or another individual could have used Ava as a communication device to see how Caleb would react. After all, Nathan knew everything about Caleb before he visited his house. He did not win a competition. Instead he was selectively chosen based on his computer and internet history. The point of the test in its entirety was to see if Caleb could be persuaded by Ava to believe that she is a human being.

Ava plotted to use Caleb to gain freedom at his expense. She lied to him and shows a romantic interest but dressing up in clothing and wearing wigs to show she can be human. She shows a serious lack of concern for Caleb when she abandons him at the end of the film. She takes body parts from other humanoid robots to fix minor injuries. Also, she uses Kyoko to kill

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