Ex Machina

Ex Machina came out on DVD this week (July 14). This is a thought-provoking film, and one of the best science fiction movies I’ve seen.

In the movie a young programmer wins a contest to visit his company’s genius CEO at the man’s private estate in the middle of nowhere. Once there he’s thrilled and intimidated as he participates in an historic experiment to evaluate a completed AI, in the form of a young female robot named Ava.

It’s definitely sci-fi, but it’s set in a very near and possible future, just around the corner. At its heart, the movie is about what makes us human, and what would make an AI “human”.

We follow the programmer, Caleb, through the convoluted paths set by Nathan, the brilliant, driven inventor. Nathan has an agenda of his own. So in addition to all the larger issues of technology and humanity, Ex Machina is a tense thriller that kept me riveted.

The plot of this film fits right into recent news. Prominent figures such as Steven Hawking, Bill Gates and Elon Musk have been warning about the dangers of artificial intelligence. Musk even referred to it as “summoning the demon”.* In this movie, Caleb evaluates the AI in its harmless-seeming form of a young woman, to see if it can be distinguished from a human being. And Nathan, the creator, delights when Caleb refers to him as a god.

This is a wonderful movie that I think will become a classic.

Here’s more info about Ex Machina at IMDb.

* Washington Post article Oct 24, 2014, from Musk’s speech at the MIT Centennial Symposium