I’ve seen Ex Machina four times now and each time I’ve had a different response, which is the mark of a good, complex movie.
The first time I was disappointed because it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know. But that was more about me than the film and as such a poor judgment.
For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a three-way chamber piece about a tech billionaire, the artificial intelligence he’s invented and shaped in the form of an attractive woman, and the naive young man invited into their world to see if the AI passes the Turing Test and is to all intents and purposes a functional human.
The AI, played by Alicia Vikander, connects with the new guy as any young heterosexual couple would, playing on the subtle connections of attraction, the eye contact, the body language, the shared moments.
It becomes a thousand times more terrifying when you imagine the AI as a lawnmower, which is what it essentially is. A cold, impersonal machine that is very good at understanding what it takes to lure lovelorn, desperate humans.
Prescient. And right now, perfectly summing up the world we’re entering where all the rules are changed and you can no longer trust your own eyes.
But this time I saw it less about technology and more about simple human relationships. None of us can tell the true nature of the people we’re interacting with. If they’re good at putting on masks, understanding our psychology, pulling our strings, we are all potentially someone’s plaything. If they’re worming their way into our emotional lives for their own ends, we may end up defenceless.
Human beings can often be as terrifying as impersonal computer intelligence.