Ex Machina

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Ex Machina is a 2015 sci-fi psychological thriller film that was written and directed by Alex Garland.[1][2] The movie focuses on a scenario to do with AI emergence under controlled conditions.


A programmer wins a week's vacation with an eccentric Larry Page-like search engine billionaire in what turns out to be a secretly designed AI and robotics laboratory. There he must test a gynoid with an extended version of the Turing test to provide an independent review.

However it turns out that he was in fact placed as bait to see whether the AI would manipulate him to trigger her escape.

Futurist themes

There is relatively heavy use of technical jargon for such a film, from crowdsourced image recognition, machine learning, references to mass surveillance as well as the problems associated with simulated consciousness and the difficulties associated with verifying this.

The billionaire antagonist is unlikeable and egotistical in his treatment of the gynoids as sex robots and in his duplicitous manipulation of the protagonist. The conclusion references the atomic bomb inventor Oppenheimer quote:

Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds[3]

Even after the gynoid destroys her creator in the time-honoured method of Frankenstein, in the end it is left ambiguous whether the escaped AI will be a force for good or evil.

The film can be seen as an exploration of the AI Control Problem of containing a superintelligent AI, as described by Nick Bostrom in his book Superintelligence, and as originally explored by Eliezer Yudkowsky under the concept of "AI in a box".[4]

External links