Ex Machina – The Global A.I. Brain Revealed
via Jay’s Analysis
by Jay Dyer
Apr 26, 2015
Ex Machina is the latest incarnation of the familiar Short Circuit theme we’ve seen lately – but this film does not feature the madcap antics of Johnny 5 seducing Ally Sheedy. In Ex Machina, the bots are babes, and the babe bots are not happy about their male masters, and Steve Gutenberg is not one of them. However, there is a lot of sexual innuendo and robo fetish in this download, and as you can imagine with a JaysAnalysis analysis, there’s a deeper, esoteric meaning! Boot up your floppies and polish your laser discs because if there’s anything we can learn from Ex Machina, it’s that you can make a chick perfect and she still ain’t happy.
For most nerds, the robobabe is some kind of fantasy, but Ex Machina has an important lesson to teach all nerds: give up that pipe dream. Recalling iconic imagery from Speilberg’s A.I., PKD and Blade Runner, here we have the archetypal tech geek who is coaxed into meeting a tech elite at his underground mountain facility following winning a “contest.” As a low-level coder at Bluebook, the world’s largest search engine, Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers his CEO, Nathan Bateman’s (played by Oliver Isaac) home is actually a research facility for super advanced A.I. Guarded by levels of security requiring key cards and shrouded in secrecy, Bateman’s zen architecture provides a stark contrast of cold techno logic against the lush green of the mountain forests, foreshadowing the coming faceoff between nature/man and A.I. As with 2001: A Space Odyssey, man specifically will square off, not against the masculine HAL, but the feminine Ava (played by Alicia Vikander).
Caleb is instructed by Nathan to perform a series of Turing tests on Ava to see if she can pass by fooling him into thinking she is self-aware. Boozing his way through the film, Nathan’s shady side gradually emerges as it becomes evident he is lying to Caleb. Modelled on a seven-day week patterned after the days of creation in Genesis, each day Caleb conducts a “session” with Ava that involves a series of questions between them, as Nathan watches each session from his panoptic surveillance system. Dating herself as “1,” Ava refuses to specify whether she is one day or one year old, indicating (following the climax) that she is not concerned with dates because she is the new number 1, the first, as a fembot replacement of Adam.
With lifelike precision, Ava is able to perfectly mimic human emotions and manipulate Caleb into thinking she is self-aware and experiences emotional attachment to him. Utilizing his weakness as a horny, single tech geek, Ava we find has profiled Caleb from the beginning, and rather than winning a competition, the real study is not Ava, but a deep psychological operation on Caleb to see if he can be manipulated by A.I. Nathan has planned all along to deceive Caleb into thinking he is special, and through mass surveillance data collected globally, Nathan is able to construct the perfect A.I. deception based on Caleb’s online footprint and psych profile.
Readers will recall that I highlighted in this very idea in past articles, explaining that social media and search engines themselves are designed ultimately to provide the synthetic version of the subconscious for the “global brain.” The global brain is a real plan, and as highlighted in my analysis of Spike Jonze’s Her, it will be linked into the supercomputers, the Internet of Things, and the mass data from search engines and social media. All of this is explicitly stated and revealed in the plot of Ex Machina, even to the point of Caleb sounding like he was reading directly from JaysAnalysis articles – that problems in the philosophy of linguistics and pattern recognition would be central to avoiding the Godelian “loop” of determined reactions, that might be circumvented by linking the A.I. to the “global brain.” As I wrote in reference to Her:
[Potent News editor’s note:
There’s also a goat skull on the antagonist’s wall in one of the opening scenes.
Later when the antagonist tells the protagonist about the AI he just created:
Nathan: “[…] Cuz if that [Turing] test is passed, you are dead centre of the greatest scientific event in the history of man”
Caleb: “If you’ve created a conscious machine, it’s not the history of man – that’s the history of Gods.”
Also, much of the film takes place indoors whereby you see a red carpet in the hallway countless times, reminding us of Hollywood’s red carpet which many of us know symbolizes bloodlines.]