After months of mind numbing patience, I finally managed to see ‘Ex Machina’ the movie ( ). There have been a few AI centered or Singularity related movies the past few years such as Transcendence with Johnny Depp (love hate relationship with this movie) but ‘Ex Machina’ I really, really wanted to be good; and on many levels it was spectacular.

In the way of back ground, the name ‘Ex Machina’ is a reference to a plot device called ‘deus ex machina’ which is a Latin derivative of the Greek “ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός (apò mēkhanês theós)” which basically means “God from the Machine” which was used is complex plots to clean things up where ‘god’ would come down and just fix it all. [1]

In the story, it is more of a double entendre; in that, at least to me, it references the fact that we, as in human civilization, are all messed up and ‘god’, meaning the strong AI ava, is here to fix it all. The story in the movie is about her escape into the world to ‘save’ us or ‘save’ AI and it also can refer to this reference to Ava being an emergent ‘god’ for all intents and purposes.

The story in the movie is really at the limit of my tolerance of a psychologically complex plot, the context of the movie is focused and really the plot stays in the realm of psychological. It is interesting how the relationship builds between Ava and the programmer but the twist at the end really jars one out of what is expected.

My problem with this movie is this is the kind of thing that will scare people away from critical research we desperately need to fund strong AI. Strong AI is critical to the long term survival of the species and nothing is more important, at least in my opinion, as the creation of greater intelligence; and movies like this make strong AI out to be a bad thing, hence my issue with this movie and most AI related movies.


  1. Dues ex machina ( 4/25/2015