The possible consequences of the creation of an artificial intelligence has been a subject of many films already. However important aspect that is, with Ex Machina I was struck by something rather other. We already live in a robotic era, overloaded with thousands of apps and devices that are suppose to make our world better. We concentrate and praise the creators of electronic devices and a software of all sorts, as the world’s most advanced innovators and game changers. We set them as the role model in business and social life. We made a role model shift from writers, doctors and scientists to app developers. The question is, do those “wonderful” inventions make our life better? Or do they condemn us to ever great social isolation, which mankind has never before experienced. Is it truly a natural evolution process or have we wandered into direction inconsistent with human nature that might be a straight path to the end of civilization as we know it?
Caleb is a very stereotyped programmer. A shy, loner type, with the focus on becoming the best possible programmer there is. A common stereotype one might say but this stereotype is also…often true. Young, or now middle age men (as the tech and gaming industry finally reached 40 :)) unable to have a regular face to face relationship, fleeing into a virtual world, has now become socially acceptable and very common attitude. The world where anyone can be the master of any situation. Where emotions are maintained under proper control and characters are always predictable. Whilst in real life, all is so much more complicated. The dream girl in a real life is not so “dreamy”, people are unpredictable and beyond the control, the race after attention and appreciation does not seem to have an end. Caleb is after becoming the world’s worship subject.
Nathan, a brilliant programmer, is already the subject of the world’s worship. In his world other people are basically not good enough to rise up to his challenges. So, why not run into hiding and create better version of human beings – notorious AI? Better meaning of course under control. Surprisingly (for him) and luckily (for us) human nature has a wonderful ability to bite someone in his tail when trifled with.
And of course there is Ava, attractive, female robot, the creation of the brilliant programmer, the personification of “best” female “qualities”- unpredictable, inconstant and untrustworthy. On the other hand, a programmer’s dream girl. Sexy, intelligent and vulnerable, in need of guidance. Of course still with lesser intellectual capabilities then her male creator. Or so, that was the plan at least :)
A truly wonderful, fully artificial (in the literal and figurative sense) triangle between the robot, the brilliant and less brilliant programmer. Sounds like a scenario for a modern romantic novel, doesn’t it? It could be, if it wasn’t for the fact that non of the members of that triangle seem to be happy with their situation. A brilliant programmer, who few year later may be just as brilliant as a “game changer” Leo Baekeland, the inventor of plastic. Insecure, not-so-brilliant programmer, who spends his life in front of computer screen thinking that he hit the life jackpot. And Ava, the creation of an arrogant, maker-wanna-be programmer, who aspires to be a human-like successor of… the humans.
Ex Machina definitely rises some serious questions. Are our role models right? Is this the future we really want? Is this our road to happiness and cancer free, healthy and long life? Or are we lost in technology unable to make sense of what we actually created and keep creating. Technology definitely makes our life easier but it comes with a price.
So here is my final call to the world.
See the sky over your head from time to time, go out there and talk to other people instead of staring at your mobile, or Ava will consume us all:)
If we do just that, we might still have a chance as a society to survive technology madness and to benefit from it instead of drowning in the depths of our own minds supported by artificial intelligence. Afterall it is just as John F Kennedy said:
Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all…