Media

Without God: An Analysis of “Ex Machina”

Reposted from: The Open Scroll Blog | by 

Space-Time Containment – Ex_Machina 

As usual, spoiler alert! If you intend to watch it, watch if before reading here.

Wikipedia offers this brief:

“Caleb is a programmer working for Bluebook, the world’s most popular search engine. He is chosen to visit the company’s eccentric CEO, Nathan, at his secluded research facility in the mountains. The only other person there is Kyoko, a young housemaid. Nathan reveals he has been working on artificial intelligence and wants Caleb to administer the Turing test to an artificial intelligence (AI) named Ava. The Turing test is designed to test a computer’s ability to persuade the tester it is human.”

You can read more here, or on IMDB, or watch the film.

Most of the film is set inside Nathan’s house, which is also his personal and private R&D facility. It’s very remote, isolated and secure, and this facility is played as the independent space-time zone. The facility’s security system can be breached.

Obviously, Bluebook as the world’s most popular search engine connects it with Google. The name further identifies it with Facebook. Reference is also made to Twitter as the ubiquitous BLUE bird social media.

The color in the name identifies IBM by their nickname, “Big Blue.” Big Blue is famous for their AI named Watson. An article about Watson’s famous exploit from over 4 years ago reads, “In the end, the humans on “Jeopardy!” surrendered meekly. Facing certain defeat at the hands of a room-size I.B.M. computer on Wednesday evening, Ken Jennings, famous for winning 74 games in a row on the TV quiz show, acknowledged the obvious. “I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords,” he wrote on his video screen, borrowing a line from a “Simpsons” episode.” (NY Times: Computer Wins on ‘Jeopardy!’: Trivial, It’s Not)

If you watch Ex_Machina you’ll perceive how nudity (and the fact that the android was modeled on his personal porn profile) makes it a Blue film or Blue picture, one that features adult content. The name, Bluebook, like the title of a porn magazine or novel, suggests that voyerism, perverse sexuality and exploitation is among the search engine company’s core interests, and this is represented in the film.

An intended reference to Project Blue Beam also seems likely, especially since Caleb and Nathan are biblical names, and the starring android Ava plays strongly on one level as Eve, the first woman. “Project Blue Beam is a conspiracy theory that claims that NASA is attempting to implement a New Age religion with the Antichrist at its head and start a New World Order, via a technologically-simulated Second Coming.”

The title appears to be derived from the Latin expression, Deus Ex Machina.

“Deus Ex Machina is a calque from Greek (apò mekhanês theós), meaning “god from the machine”. The term has evolved to mean a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. Depending on how it is done, it can be intended to move the story forward when the writer has “painted himself into a corner” and sees no other way out, to surprise the audience, to bring the tale to a happy ending, or as a comedic device.” (Wikipedia)

The employment of the namesake dramatic device appears as Caleb himself is manipulated by Ava to provide a surprise ending. The manipulation changes the outcome from what looks like it might have a kind of happy ending in a romantic way, to one that is chilling in picturing the cold betrayal of a machine without humanity. It’s not Blade Runner, where Deckard gets away in the end with Rachel, the special replicant (AI android) he came to love.

Here’s what the actual title tells us about the film, as an equation.

Ex_Machina = Deus Ex Machina – Deus

Deus equates to theós, God. Our attention is drawn to deity. They have removed “God” from the machine. From the machine, no god or not god. If we consider how Ava is a machine, it suggests that she is godless, manifesting ungodliness or a demonic nature. That is the profound impression we’re left with as the final credits roll.  READ MORE HERE

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