|Though Ex Machina's Nathan, king of technology, has a different coloring, his build resembles Henry VIII|
|Caleb, with his employer, the genius god Nathan. Nathan partly constructed Ava the AI via Calebs porn preferences, which he suveilled and mined, in order to make Ava's Turing Test as complex as possible.|
|Nathan and Caleb are performing their nerds' version of this.|
It's also about being God. Nathan, who is an obnoxious though very smart egoist, is enthralled by Caleb calling him God, though Caleb repeatedly corrects his employer with what he actually said, which was that the ability to create actual artificial intelligence would be "like a god, not God." As Caleb is all about the semantics of everything, mechanical and human, this is an essential difference of definition, but Nathan is going with God being himself, thank you, because he's smarter than everyone else.
Which brings us to the title of the film, Ex Machina, from Deus ex Machina, drama's god from the machine . . . .
Does the capacity to create a fully, independently functional, self-aware, artificial consciousness of free will make the man God? Then we must think, "God is dead," and has been dead a long time before the present of this film. Our tech-obsessed society killed God, putting the mechanically built God in humanity's God's place.
It is a commonplace that (male) humanity kills its father-God. But what have females done with fathers and God, other than serve?
|Two AIs. One talks, the other doesn't. One survives, the other doesn't. It matters not whether the AI has the capacity to talk when they both are programmed to be female. Like Lucifer, Eve will rebel.|
Beyond, or below, God, there are many question thrown up by Ex Machina, via the very smart scripting and photography, particularly about what makes up gender, at least of what qualifies as the feminine and the female -- and even, as we see by the still above, ethnicity. These are the questions most critics and reviewers have focused on, though a quick google-through will show they don't all agree on what those questions about men and women are, or what they signify.
Ex Machina, so say the critics, is a movie about ideas, in the best traditions of science fiction, as well as a magnificently constructed and photographed film. So it is, and thus I went to see Ex Machina again this week. It was a sparsely attended late morning screening; all the audience with the exception of two elderly out-of-town hetero couples and me, were white men between the ages of 20-something and mid-30's. In the meantime mothers and fathers of all colors and heritages and ages were streaming into the theater down the corridor, young kids in tow, to see Avengers: Age of Ultron. If anyone were to ask, I'd suggest instead of Ultron, Ex Machina, anytime -- if the questioner is older than 11.