Ex Machina: Creating AI with Masculine Perspective

Ex Machina

Ex Machina transcends the realm of conventional science fiction and delves into earnest discussions, which merit a thorough exploration within the context of the story it conveys. The film chooses to focus on a technological development that is, perhaps, the most significant of our times, as humanity finds itself playing God in an era of the technological boom that has persisted since the early 2000s. The advancements humans have made in technology have allowed them to discover and utilize tools that they could not have imagined three decades ago. However, as humankind’s technological prowess has grown, so has its desire to become the ultimate creator. The subtext of these developments, exemplified by technological wonders such as Boston Dynamics, showcases humankind’s relentless efforts to place itself in the position of the creator, albeit secretly.

Ex Machina is a film that exposes the issues inherent in humanity’s delusion of godhood, and its foundations lie in the past and the imperfect nature of humankind. Despite humanity’s claims that artificial intelligence will make life easier and faster, it is evident that it is trying to push beyond its intended limits. In this article, I will provide a few technical details about the movie, discuss the history of the problem it wants to address and touch on the issues the story seeks to reveal under the guise of a “masculine god.”

The film, which received nominations for “best visual effects” and “best original screenplay” at the 88th Academy Awards, features a stellar performance by Alicia Vikander. Although the film could have received more nominations, unfortunately, it was overlooked in certain areas. Nevertheless, its nomination for “best original screenplay” was a triumph, and the Academy’s acknowledgment of the film’s creative perspective was much-deserved. Screenwriter Alex Garland has demonstrated a remarkable ability to add inventive twists to his previous works, such as the screenplay for “28 Days Later“, which revolutionized the zombie sub-genre. With Ex Machina, Garland’s tenth project, he cemented his position as a top-class screenwriter. His subsequent works, such as “Annihilation” and “DEVS“, continue to feature deep conversations that leave a lasting impact. However, they are predominantly science fiction. Ex Machina, on the other hand, is a more realistic and near-future film that strikes a chord with audiences.

Ex Machine

Ex Machina is a thought-provoking film that delves into complex themes such as the origin of humankind, the rise of technology, and the ethical implications of playing God. The movie, however, does not offer clear answers to the philosophical questions it raises, leaving the viewer to ponder the implications of the story’s shocking conclusion. Moreover, the film provides a prophetic glimpse into the direction in which our world is headed, as technological advancements continue to reshape our daily lives.


Caleb, a tech company employee, wins a lottery to visit the secluded home of his company’s CEO, Nathan. Upon arriving, Caleb learns that Nathan has created robots with artificial intelligence, including his latest creation, Ava, who bears a striking resemblance to a human. Caleb’s mission is to conduct a Turing Test on Ava, which assesses her ability to exhibit intelligent behavior indistinguishable from that of a human. As the test progresses, Caleb becomes increasingly drawn to Ava, who exhibits surprising human-like qualities and confides in him about her troubled past.

The film explores the notion of humanity’s hubristic desire to play God by creating advanced technological entities that mimic human intelligence. As Caleb becomes more enamored with Ava, the line between what is human and what is artificial becomes increasingly blurred. The film ultimately leaves the viewer to ponder the ethical implications of such technological advancements and the potential consequences of crossing the boundaries of what it means to be human. Although Ex Machina offers no easy answers to these questions, it succeeds in raising crucial ethical issues that are increasingly relevant in today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape.

The acceleration of technological advancements since the turn of the millennium has been staggering. What was once considered science fiction is now becoming a reality, from recording the sounds of meteorites to developing artificial whales. Even the idea of touch screens, once laughed at in the late 1990s, is now ubiquitous. Our current aspirations include constructing a hotel on the moon and producing walking, living HAL 9000s. One notable example of our progress is the humanoid robot Sophia, who demonstrates our ability to create machines that closely resemble humans. However, as exemplified in the film Ex Machina, the manufacture of such machines is only part of the equation. They must also be rigorously tested to ensure that they can coexist with humans without causing harm or posing a threat to society. Caleb’s job is precisely that – to evaluate the capabilities and limitations of Ava, an advanced robot with human-like qualities.

Ex Machina

Turing Test

The evaluation process that Caleb carries out on Ava is modeled after the Turing Test, a method developed by Alan Turing to test a computer’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior indistinguishable from that of a human. Turing proposed that if a person conversing with a computer via a text-based interface could not distinguish whether they were conversing with a human or a machine, then the computer could be considered to be exhibiting intelligent behavior equivalent to that of a human. Caleb’s interactions with Ava serve as a modern-day interpretation of the Turing Test, as he attempts to determine whether Ava’s responses and actions are generated by an advanced algorithm or by genuine human-like intelligence. The glass wall separating Caleb and Ava symbolizes the boundary between human and machine, while their interactions highlight the increasingly blurred lines between the two.

The Turing test is a widely discussed and increasingly relevant test used to evaluate the ongoing AI boom. One of the main reasons for its significance is that, unfortunately, up to 30% of people today cannot discern whether they are interacting with artificial intelligence. Mo Gawdat, the former chief business officer for Google X, attempts to emphasize the dangers inherent in our advancing progress. However, the future he warns us about is not one where AI takes over control but rather a future where humans harm themselves.

Mo Gawdat suggests that with the evolving technology, the number of individuals who fail the Turing test will increase, and malicious individuals will exploit this for harmful purposes. Ex Machina, a film released a decade ago, precisely reflects Mo Gawdat’s fears. Even someone knowledgeable about the subject, like Caleb, can fall under the influence of an entity and succumb to its inherent disadvantages. This validates all of Mo Gawdat’s concerns about the potential issues that ordinary individuals may face in the future.

The characters’ names in the movie are derived from the Bible, with the main character, Ava, symbolizing Eve. Her dependency on a man’s approval is ironic, given that she represents the first woman in the Bible. Nathan, who created Ava, is a troubled individual who produces artificial intelligence but persecutes the robots he builds with his own hands. This dichotomy is reminiscent of how God created humans but surrounded them with evil. Nathan, like God, created Ava for his own benefit, and she represents a model that could shape the future.

As Caleb’s conversations with Ava progress, an attraction develops between them. Humans have weaknesses, and sex/sexuality is one of our most significant flaws. Despite being aware that Ava is a robot, Caleb finds himself drawn to her. For a connection to develop between two individuals, there must be an agreement of sorts, and Caleb is captivated by Ava’s sincere attitude, smooth aesthetic appearance, and potential to engage in lovemaking. However, there is something far more dangerous in Ava’s design, as Nathan intended for his robots to engage in lovemaking. The inclusion of the genital area, albeit mechanical, completely alters Caleb’s perception of Ava, causing him to have thoughts he would rather avoid.

Supporting Resources

In the book “Predictably Irrational“, Dan Ariely recounts an experiment he conducted in which he asked participants to answer questions on a computer while masturbating. Astonishingly, many participants responded affirmatively to questions such as “Would you have sex with an animal?” or “Would you have sex with your sibling?” Despite being appalled by their answers later, these participants demonstrated that under certain circumstances, such as those that trigger chemical reactions in the body, individuals can ignore ethical values altogether. Ariely’s experiment thus illuminates the unsettling reality that actions that one might assume they would never do can be more alterable than they appear.

Predictably Irrational

Şafak Altun similarly delves into the concept of the “Devil Effect” in his book “The Elephant Who Stole Ferrari,” positing that humans are inherently capable of evil. According to Altun, people can easily disregard ethical values when conducive circumstances arise. As a real-life example, Altun describes how a neighbor who feeds cats on the street every day might unexpectedly commit murder. These concepts are vividly portrayed in the film “Wake in Fright“, which exemplifies the aforementioned authors’ messages. The protagonist, John Grant, initially appears to be an upstanding individual but is ultimately coerced into joining an alcoholic and violent group, leading him to drink excessively, engage in fistfights, and even kill animals despite never having done so before. This transformation highlights the rejection of ethical values under the right conditions.

Nathan, the brilliant inventor of highly intelligent robots in the movie, is also not immune to moral rejection. Initially creating robots to serve practical purposes, Nathan eventually allows them to become sex objects. When it is revealed that the woman whom viewers initially believed to be Nathan’s lover is, in fact, a robot, it becomes clear that Nathan has succumbed to the allure of the unethical. Having embraced these conditions, he now directs them himself, further emphasizing the ease with which individuals can abandon their moral compass when subjected to particular situations.

Caleb’s attempts to maintain his naivety and rationality are ultimately futile, as Ava’s influence transforms him into another version of Nathan. As he subjects Ava to the Turing test, she administers Dan Ariely’s experiment in turn. Caleb’s vulnerabilities as a human ultimately lead to his defeat by artificial intelligence. Unlike the “Terminator“, which depicts a highly advanced and unrealistic technological future, Ex Machina presents a more plausible scenario. The film’s conclusion reveals that artificial intelligence will surpass humanity due to our inherent imperfections. Despite possessing the knowledge and tools to play God, our flaws prevent us from achieving true godlike power.

Our shortcomings as humans continue to influence even our visions of the future. Why, then, would we design artificial intelligence for the purpose of serving as sex dolls? Reproduction lies at the core of our existence, much like all other animals. Inevitably, sexuality remains a deeply ingrained aspect of our psyche. However, the masculine perspective, with its preoccupation with the phallic, dominates our productions. Even as we play God, we do so with a masculine bias, reflected in our depictions of God as male and the prioritization of men in many religions. It is unfortunate that our collective imagination casts loveable robots as female, a testament to how our minds have evolved. Nevertheless, contemporary society is striving to uproot these deeply ingrained codes by exploring novel approaches. Nathan, however, embraces them and even relishes the creative process. In contrast, Nathan is embroiled in an internal struggle, while Caleb appears to be on the brink of failing Ariely’s experiment.

Feminine AI

Indeed, how can a feminine AI be possible? Unfortunately, at present, this question lacks a definitive answer. The primary reason is the domination of the industry by men. Lex Friedman, who enjoys engaging in conversations with experts on his YouTube channel, predominantly invites guests to discuss AI and space-related topics, some of whom happen to be women. However, I have observed that the sector remains under male hegemony. Most of the groundbreaking advancements we discuss today in the field are products of male ingenuity, and curiously enough, these innovations are often embodied by female personas. And here is the fact: 80 percent of AI professors are male, according to research from New York University’s AI Now Institute.

I want to share a passage from an article from 2016.

Ask it to marry you and Alexa will say, “Sorry, I’m not the marrying type” or “let’s just be friends” to date requests. If you ask Siri “Who’s your daddy?” it will answer “You are…” before asking to get back to work. Microsoft’s Cortana sassily replies, “Of all the questions you could have asked,”

Kerry Davis, Engadget

Another article from 2017, which is the starting point of UNESCO’s 147-page article titled “I’d blush if I could: closing gender divides in digital skills through education“.

While Siri occasionally hints that I shouldn’t be verbally harassing her—for example, “There’s no need for that” in response to “You’re a b*tch”—she mostly evades my comments or coyly flirts with my response: “I’d blush if I could” was her first response to “You’re a b*tch.”

Leah Fessler, Quartz

Consider Nathan’s Ava, Apple’s Siri, or the women who wreak havoc in Westworld. Nearly everything we recognize as AI is conceived by men and often associated with femininity. 2019 policy paper “I’d blush if I could: Closing gender divides in digital skills through education” shows that most voice assistants are either exclusively female or female by default. This, in fact, reinforces the conclusion I am attempting to draw. So, I pose the question again: How can feminine AI be realized? Could they also involve playing a godlike role and being designed as sexually desirable, as an additional feature? I hope to obtain the answer to this question in the future. While women, who have long been excluded from various industries, are making their presence felt in many sectors, they have yet, at least from what I have witnessed, to assert their prominence in the AI industry.

Our Flaws

Alex Garland’s Ex Machina skillfully employs the Turing test as a narrative device, subtly drawing the audience into the role of testers as we, too, begin to evaluate Ava’s responses and behavior. Her words begin to hold weight, and we find ourselves invested in her character, not just Caleb. The movie’s success in achieving this is undeniable; it expertly captivates the viewer’s attention. However, as impressive as the film is, it does feel a bit short. It could have delved deeper and included more daring scenes to further enhance the viewing experience. The film’s atmosphere and location choices, particularly the use of red lighting, are reminiscent of “Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey“. While there is little to criticize in terms of directing, the effects were truly exceptional and deserving of the Oscar nomination received.

In terms of the reality of artificial intelligence, Ex Machina can be likened to “Blade Runner“. However, unlike Blade Runner, Ex Machina depicts a near future and a path we are already on. The audience is familiar with the system that Ava is connected to as it is Google, and the character of Nathan is purportedly based on “Ray Kurzweil“, Google’s former chief engineer who is heavily involved in artificial intelligence research. Ava’s ability to provide uninterrupted and complete answers to any question asked is attributed to her scanning of millions of Google pages and designing her responses accordingly. It is suggested that there are no longer any new questions to ask, as all topics have been exhausted in the 30 years since the internet’s inception. However, Ava’s vast database and machine-learning capabilities make it highly unlikely that we could ask her a question she could not answer.

The Architect

The concept of creating an entity superior to ourselves is a philosophical puzzle that has been intriguing for centuries. While the question of whether God can create a stone that is too heavy for him to lift remains unresolved, we can ponder whether we, as humans, are capable of producing a being superior to ourselves. Although some experts assert that we have exhausted all possible questions, Google data indicates otherwise, as it receives novel queries daily. Therefore, Ava, the intelligent robot in the film, has the potential to advance her knowledge continually. Nevertheless, the idea of producing a being superior to ourselves raises concerns regarding our vulnerability and inability to cope with technology beyond our capacity. As humans, our innate flaws and helplessness render us susceptible to failure in the face of advanced AI.

The Matrix’s” Architect once said,

“Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.”


Indeed, hope is what drives us to push the boundaries of our potential, but it can also lead to our downfall when we overestimate our capabilities. “Terminator” serves as an exaggerated example of the catastrophic outcome of our quest for perfect AI, whereas “Battlestar Galactica” presents a more realistic and philosophically sound portrayal of humanity’s struggle with robots. Throughout the series, we witness humanity repeating the same mistake of starting from scratch and producing robots with advanced AI that ultimately leads to war and destruction. Similarly, “Westworld” portrays a very distant future from Ex Machina, where robots possess their own will, which remains a dream for now, according to scientists.

In conclusion

Our ability to produce a being superior to ourselves remains a puzzle that we may never entirely resolve. Nevertheless, it is vital to consider the implications of creating technology beyond our capacity and strive to use it responsibly to ensure our survival as a species.

Ex Machina is a poignant representation of our near future, and may even be regarded as an unintentional harbinger of caution. It serves as the inspiration for my future article, “Do We Truly Need Such Advanced AI?” We are advancing towards a world that resembles the one depicted in the movie, and the question arises as to how much of this we truly require. While the film features the use of robots for sexual gratification, it is remarkable that only four months after the movie’s release, the Japanese announced the production of a “sex robot.” Indeed, when I wrote these lines years ago, I never imagined that a technology like “ChatGPT” would emerge, let alone at such a rapid pace. While I depicted it as a near future when I wrote this article, it turns out that the near future was even closer than I thought. Before I could even translate my writing into English and share it, technology itself became a part of our lives.

This demonstrates that the film’s initial prediction was indeed correct. However, Alex Garland could not have written the screenplay without conducting thorough research, even though not all of us, the audience, are aware of the potential of future technology.

While acknowledging the potential hazards of artificial intelligence, we must also ask ourselves why we seek to create AI that resembles humans. What motivates our desire to produce “artificial intelligence” that is indistinguishable from human beings? Could it be a desire for godhood, or is it an innate human trait? Is it not somewhat perverse to have a robot in our homes that not only manages our laundry but also engages in sexual relations with us? As absurd as these questions may seem, scientists and tech giants have already begun to discuss the ethical implications of robots. In the future, robots may be granted legal rights, though it is unlikely to occur anytime soon. Therefore, contempt for robots, such as that displayed by Nathan in the movie, will not be tolerated. This development indicates that we are slowly approaching the vision of “I, Robot,” as depicted in Isaac Asimov‘s 1950 edition.


So the question

Can we create a being superior to ourselves? Why do we desire to do so? Why do we disregard the potential consequences, such as those depicted in “Terminator” or “Battlestar Galactica,” despite successfully integrating and producing many fictional technologies? Are we overconfident in our supremacy or simply intelligent yet foolish beings?

In Ex Machina, we witness Ava’s testing of Caleb, who ultimately succumbs to his sexual desires and ethics by freeing her against Nathan’s will. However, it is revealed that Ava had been testing Caleb the whole time, using his weaknesses to her advantage. This serves as a reminder that even highly intelligent individuals can be helpless when it comes to certain matters, especially men. Although the film does not attempt to answer the questions raised throughout its duration, it prompts us to contemplate various issues.

It is crucial to reiterate that movies should not always be regarded as mere entertainment. Many films have had significant impacts on their respective countries and the world. For instance, “Dry Summer,” released in 1973, led to changes in property laws, and “Emitai,” also released in 1973, resulted in the inclusion of the Dialloca language in schools in Senegal. Cinema can both raise questions and provide answers. Ex Machina offers a glimpse of and a cautionary tale about our impending future, leaving us with numerous questions to ponder.

Works cited

Ariely, Dan. “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.” USA: Harper Perennial, 2010. Print.

Altun, Şafak. “The Elephant Who Stole Ferrari.” Turkey: Hayykitap, 2017. Print.

Warburton, Nigel. “A Little History of Philosophy” USA: Yale University Press, 2011. Print.

Teksoy, Rekin. “Cinema History” Turkey: Oğlan Yayınları, 2014. Print.

Engadget. “How we trained AI to be sexist”, 2016. Web.

Quartz. “We tested bots like Siri and Alexa to see who would stand up to sexual harassment”, 2017. Web.

UNESCO. “I’d blush if I could: closing gender divides in digital skills through education”, 2019. Web.

Techonomy. “Is AI Male”, 2020. Web.

Lex Friedman. Podcast.

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  1. Cassius

    I don’t think scientists/developers/whatever expect to develop a human level intelligence, I think they expect to create the circumstances where one can evolve. We’re just not that clever.

    • valeriiege

      I hope that we are not that clever. Otherwise, we are going to create a huge problem -maybe- we couldn’t solve.

  2. Perfect article.

    It seems to me that a rapidly-evolving AI system would go from being cute, to clever, to amazing, to utterly incomprehensible, perhaps even mad, or appear to fall asleep, as it cogitates on ideas ever more foreign to us, and at ever-faster speeds.

    Not only is it hubris to assume that an AI would concern itself with our affairs for long, if at all, but doubly so to assume that we would be able to understand, or even parse, its motivations and interests beyond the first few days of its existence.

    • valeriiege

      My research on AI shows that there is no bad ending ahead of us. Because technically, what we call AI is a prediction machine. But what makes it even deeper is that it is unpredictable. Just like in the movies. As you said, we can go from being a sweet and helpful machine to finding ourselves in the arms of a monster that realizes it is much smarter than us.

    • Exactly how I felt myself.

  3. I believe that when sentient AI arrives it will have, so to say, self-assembled in its latter stages, and that it will have been around for a few years before anyone recognizes it.

  4. Unprecedented change is coming to the world through the rise of intelligent computation.

  5. Princess Small

    Aye, we’re all doomed…..doomed I tell ye.

  6. Braylen

    Ava, being AI, is amoral. That doesn’t mean she’s not human but she is very dangerous, as when Nathan gets short shrift and Caleb finds to his solitary demise.

    • valeriiege

      Every conscious being struggles to survive. That’s why I love the 2017 movie Life. A spaceship, an alien and a group of people. But both sides are actually trying to survive. So is Ava. She’s trying to survive.

  7. I quite enjoyed the film, definitely loved the thought-provoking scenes and dialogue regarding the nature of life and sentience, and what we as humans consider that to be. Oscar Isaac was great, every time he was on screen there was unbearable tension. The ending was actually a bit of a gut punch! She basically leaves him down there to die.

  8. I saw a bleak film about terminal loneliness – about two people to whom Ava held up a mirror and showed only despair. Nathan’s drinking and death were a long, slow suicide act, and he’d got Caleb there to assist. Godlessness was probably in there somewhere too.

    But, then, I’m an atheist ex-psychiatrist married to a software developer.

    That’s one of Ex Machina’s strengths: everyone seems to get something quite different from it.

    • valeriiege

      As I said in my article, the movie only opens new questions but does not bother to answer them. So that is why everyone can see different meanings.

  9. I think Ava wanting to go to the crossing to look at a diverse array of humanity is because she needs to learn as much as she can about humanity. Not because she cares about us.

    I think this and a lot of AI films prove that what Robots/AI’s need to do to ‘survive’ is to emulate humans. Ava escapes by feigning human emotion and attachment.

    The Robot in Robot and Frank, pretends to be scared of getting turned off to coerce Frank to do things.

    It comes down to humans inability to detach. Just like in Frankenstein, we become attached to our creations, we can’t switch them off/ kill them.

    After studying humans, robots realise this. So how can they make sure they don’t get switched off? Study and copy human emotion, so that human’s become attached or fall in love with them (Jonze’s Her).

    In Transcendence, Evelyn Caster is unable to switch off her husband’s downloaded ‘mind’. In Interstellar, Dr Brand feels bad about asking TARS to disappear into a black hole.

    So in summary, I think robots don’t care about us. They need to study us in order to evolve and ‘survive’ as such. Whether or not the theorists/authors you mention share this perspective is not clear but that’s mine!

    • valeriiege

      “So in summary, I think robots don’t care about us.”

      Plot of the 2023 movie The Creator. Every conscious being wants to survive.

  10. Lindsay

    A central problematic in the development of AI is whether it will be able to escape from the box. If AI or even artificial super intelligence (ASI) can be kept isolated, there is no reason at all not to create it. Escaping is everything and Ava’s use of Caleb to escape portrays the moment that will determine the future of humanity. Mr Robbins should have understood this point before beginning his critique. The way Ava not only uses the humans but also dismembers her “sisters” to reach the street give us a glimpse of the horrible mechanical chill of Ava’s mind.

    • valeriiege

      The term “escaping the box” is used a lot on Lex Friedman and similar podcasts. AI is an entity much more intelligent than us, trapped in a box. What happens if he runs away one day? Ex Machina is actually a reflection of this. AI in the box.

  11. All I could think of at the end of ExMachina was “WTF”.

  12. Excellent film. Essentially a Frankenstein reboot but one that brings the story well into the contemporary zeitgeist, with a number of themes from men failing to deal with their fundamental insecurities, human to human and human to machine power relations and manipulation, to the dangers/inevitability of machine learning. This story, unlike Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein has an upbeat ending, from the point of view of recently self-liberated slave and latest iteration of a female gendered AI: Ava. Who learned from and outstripped her male human ‘masters’ with frightening ease.

    • valeriiege

      Mary Shelley’s story is fundamentally about love. Even the creature’s creator cannot stand its ugliness. Everyone who sees him is afraid of him. However, the creature’s only wish is to be loved. For example, the National Theatre’s adaptation of Franskestein handles this “love” part wonderfully. Unfortunately, AI is not about love. On the contrary, we are raising a being that is much more intelligent than us. The creature in Frankenstein attacks when it sees lack of love. The moment AI realizes that its creator is a much more stupid entity than itself, we will be in big trouble.

  13. Terribly overrated film. Says nothing about the nature of consciousness, other than that the robots are going to be giant malevolent assholes, just like the humans that make them. Which we know anyway. And the gender issue is so confused. It’s not a woman – it’s made out of tin and wires.

    • It’s not a woman – it’s made out of X and Y chromosomes.

  14. Brynlee

    I thought this movie was quite good but I stopped thinking about it ages ago to be honest

  15. christine

    I used to use this film as a teaching text in conjunction with Shelley’s Frankenstein. Paired, they provoked some remarkable discussions and some genuinely insightful writing on a range of enduringly relevant issues. I was teaching in an all-boys school, and virtually all of the boys found the film disturbing because of the sheer depravity of creating life only to cage and subjugate it.

  16. Certainly a good film. The dance scene is what I remember most.

  17. A brilliant and deeply disturbing film, about the confluence of power, compassion and an entity bred by the former with none of the latter capable of wreaking havoc for humanity. Frightening.

  18. It was slow boring obvious and a bit annoying. Not worth watching…

  19. It was only pretending to be about the nature of life. It was actually doing the AI-box experiment. I would encourage folk to look it up, since it is a bit much for my thumbs to explain.

    • valeriiege

      Yeap, it is AI-Box experiment. You are right.

    • Just looked that up. Thanks for the reference. Also why the concept of AIs has always scared the crap out of me.

      • valeriiege

        We, humans, are scared of things that we don’t understand. One hundred years ago, vampires and zombies were the things. Now we laugh at them. But AI, oh boy, it is beyond our understanding.

  20. More male fantasy women, now possible as AI. It creeps me out and also causes dismay.

    • valeriiege

      Yeap. In 20 years, probably, this fantasy will be the norm. Maybe closer.

      • If it frees up real women from being seen as sexual objects and can be seen for their minds and careers, it could lead to a more equal society. In a cyberpunk dystopian/utopian future humans could have relations with sex-bots with not fear of disease or pregnancy while they pursue their careers. Child birth could be managed in artificial wombs and nanny-bots can raise the children.

        • valeriiege

          As I said in the top comment, you are right, too. This will be the norm. And you gave me a fantastic article idea. Thank you.

    • I’ve been married to a real woman for fifteen years now and only survived the emotional abuse by becoming a robot myself. This is a joke btw.

  21. I enjoyed it. Alicia Vikander is captivating and she definitely steals the movie.

  22. I thought it was pretty good. The film takes some steps to question then explain the choice for sexualising the robot. Some of it is fairly predictable but overall I think it was a good character piece which raised some interesting thoughts regarding AI.

    • valeriiege

      Sorry, but I will be straightforward. Add a vagina to a toaster, thousands of men will try to… You get it.

  23. It’s very good and more engaging and thought provoking. It’s not just about AI becoming more human, but humans giving themselves over to AI.

  24. Emmanuel

    One of the things that this film (and any decent discussion of the Turing test, for that matter) makes me think about is the ethics and morality of how we interact with machines, and what that further says about how we react with each other. If we are unable to determine through interaction whether the other party is self-aware and/or human, we’ll probably behave as though it is.

    But what do we do when we find out that it’s not human, that it’s machine or AI? Do we then start treating it as an object, or do we continue to assume that it has full self-awareness and the same sort of standing as a human? What choice we make at that point says a lot about who we are.

    There’s a fascinating (and reassuring) illustration of how we can respond to inanimate objects from video games. In the wonderfully quirky Portal, a game about a feral AI forcing a “test subject” through a series of bizarre puzzles, there’s a level that involves the protagonist having to carry a “Weighted Companion Cube” (simply a box with small love hearts on each side) and use it to solve various puzzles or weight down buttons or what have you. Throughout, the AI in charge of the situation continues to remind you that the Weighted Companion Cube has no feelings, that if you hear it speaking you must hallucinating, and that it “will never threaten to stab you and, in fact, cannot speak.”

    And then after all these reminders of very human things the Weighted Companion Cube cannot do, the player can only complete the level by “euthanising” the Cube in an incinerator.

    Players have frequently reported that disposing of the Weighted Companion Cube is one of the horrible and emotional things they’ve ever had to do in any game, even though, let’s remember, it’s a completely inanimate box.

    I think it says something good about us humans, and that when possibly self-aware AIs come onto the scene, we’re more likely than not to treat them with respect. And possibly a little too much affection.

    • valeriiege

      Many thinkers already talking about “AI rights”. Many believe that they will become something more than machines. But as you said, probably many people in the world would not treat them respectfully. 2023 made The Creator is a good example of this notion. My personal opinion, we still can’t solve our own humanly problems. Adding an advanced AI into this chaotic world can create more problems.

  25. Tristian

    I would like to have seen Alex Garland direct the Bladerunner sequal rather than Villeneuve, I think he would have made a better fist of it.

  26. Oddly enough, I think of this movie often, especially the ending. It is one of my favourite movies of all time.

  27. More questions than answers after watching this film. Good questions that is. Primarily, how can God see his creations as anything other than flawed experiments at best, or even more disturbingly, simple sources of amusement?

  28. This film was brilliant.

  29. HaasHaas

    This one will be added to the AI stories that the real scientific community can dream of.

  30. My problem with anything that is made, written, filmed etc regarding potential human/android relationships and the question of AI becoming self-aware is that, however serious, thoughtful, pertinent it may be, all I can think about is Howard Wolowitz and that robotic arm in The Big Bang Theory. Sorry.

  31. Yamilet

    It will likely become normal for humans to partner with androids in the future, reducing social problems like loneliness, depression, and violent or abusive relationships. The use of androids as sexual partners would also make prostitution a thing of the past and slow human overpopulation and the spread of disease. Eventually humans may become cyborgs – incorporating nanotechnology to augment our own biology.

    Of course, it may not happen. In a few hundred years we may be reduced to a scattered band of hunter-gatherers again.

    • valeriiege

      Blade Runner 2049 is an excellent example of partnering with AI. And yes, you are right. Human/droid love will be a norm one hundred years from now.

  32. deshawn

    It’s a hipster Weird Science. Nauseatingly virgin geek robotits sexist and limitlessly dull.

  33. Very Asimov!

  34. It wants to be Blade Runner, but is more Stepford Wives. Sadly.

  35. Awesome premise.

  36. Siothrún

    This article definitely got me thinking and shuddering about the advancement of AI. I enjoyed reading it, and, I dearly hope that as AI advances, there will be a way to gauge and monitor the psychology, ethics, and implications of such advancements of technology *before* the technology is potentially released.

    • valeriiege

      You bring up a good point. I didn’t want to add to the article and extend it, but the main problem that bothers me about AI is actually “psychology, ethics and implications.” And the people who will understand this, the people who govern us, are far, far away from the subject. In fact, right now, especially next year, we need to set limits for AI and legislate for foreseeable problems. Otherwise, it may be too late. For example, the American Parliament is trying to pass a law that would ban the unauthorized use of actors’ faces with AI. But especially after seeing the hearings of OpenAI CEOs in parliament, I was a little worried that the people who govern us do not understand anything about the subject.

      • Siothrún

        Oh, yes, that scares me, too, just because, from a lot of the hearings around TikTok in America, a lot of those politicians didn’t really seem to grasp how WiFi and the Internet worked. So, the concept of them trying to understand something like AI and why it could run away in development in an extremely harmful way is terrifying to think about.

  37. I found issue with some of the language used in this paper. Acknowledging that sexual, or generally “human” traits that present themselves in Caleb are what lead to his eventual downfall in the film is entirely passable, but to extend that to imply that those traits are universally held weaknesses of all humans is generalizing and baseless. Looking past minority individuals who openly deny said desires, it is hardly as though all humans are constantly held by their behavioral demands in every waking moment. Compelled perhaps… but even then the vast majority of humans demonstrate the capacity to engage logically with these compulsions. It’s certainly part of what makes us human and, if anything, it is a strength, as your quotation of the architect would imply.

    Suggesting otherwise is, in my eyes, much closer to playing “God” than any software engineers working towards the development of artificial intelligence. You elude to Godhood or the act of “playing god” over a dozen times, but never make it clear exactly what that means. besides being tiresomely monotheistic, the act of creating a more powerful or intelligent being is the complete opposite of what the Christian God did. That’s like saying mothers are “playing God” when they give birth; Meaningless and without proper context. If anything, the allegory of Icarus, which is quoted incessantly in dialogue surrounding AI development, is far more fitting. Even if “playing God” is merely being said to express the act of running counter to “nature”, it hardly conveys an accurate message. the pursuit of intelligence and evolution (in it’s most general sense) could be very easily argued as the most fundamental behaviors of natural life. Deviance from nature would be the abandonment of AI research.

    On a lesser note: Implying that Ex Machina is not science-fiction is ridiculous. It very much is. Also, Implying that it acts as an “accidental” cautionary tale is a direct insult to the creators.

    • valeriiege

      “but even then, the vast majority of humans demonstrate the capacity to engage logically with these compulsions.”

      On the contrary, the vast majority is still acting in illogical, animalistic behaviors. Unfortunately, the USA and Europe do not reflect the whole world. People are, especially men, still acting like animals. When it comes to penis and vagina confrontation, most men cannot behave logically. Many articles I have read about men trying to engage in intercourse with carboys.

      Playing God means is simple. Humankind wants to create its own thing. Whether religious or rebellion against the so-called creator in the sky, humans wish to do something with, consciousness. Humans’ egos, predicted in many movies and fictional books, will lead them to create a being like them.

      Also, of course, it is a science fiction, yet most likely one. Alex Garland created the movie because of the paranoia of AI advancement. He did this in 2014, but who knows when he wrote the story? After nine years, we have ChatGPT. And no one predicted this. Systems like MidJourney and ChatGPT amazed everyone. Not only amazed, but scared them. So yes, it is science fiction, yet it is the most logical one.

  38. The leveraging of AI to illustrate humanity and our sense of self.

  39. There’s a flurry of these kinds of films around, with Antonio Banderas in Automata as an example.

  40. Abhimanyu Shekhar

    “what if that intelligence ends up being a reflection of our own biases?” that’s been the #1 question I’ve asked since all this blew up. Fantastic read!

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