In Ex Machina, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is a young worker drone at Bluebook (think: fictional version of a naughty Google without the threat of reprisal lawsuits) who wins the opportunity to spend a week with his reclusive boss, billionaire eccentric genius Nathan (Oscar Isaac), at his remote hi-tech home. But when Caleb gets there he finds he’s actually been selected for a completely different purpose – to help Nathan test a revolutionary new prototype artificial intelligence.
The standard way of determining whether an AI has truly achieved sentience is to administer the Turing Test, in essence a lengthy conversation with a human at the end of which the AI is deemed to have passed if the human cannot say with any degree of certainty whether they have been interacting with another real life person or a machine. That’s easier said than done however, and it’s soon clear that the test is in any case far too simplistic for Nathan’s requirements. What, then, can the two men come up with to determine whether or not Ava (Alicia Vikander) has genuine self-awareness or is just very good at mimicking and faking certain characteristics? Read the rest of this entry »