The Day I Encountered Ava

Ex Machina (2015) 
A Review By Ben Hunter
5 Out Of 5 Stars

GET TO THE POINT BEN!

The day I encountered Ava was indeed a good day!

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Intelligence … … artificial … intelligence (AI), to hear, to speak, to think, and to see with your own eyes that something can hear, can speak, can think, and see with their own eyes the same as you.  Remember The Imitation Game (2014)?  Remember the hero Alan Turing and his machine Christopher?   Well Turing’s Christopher evolved into what is known today as the computer.  In a Turing Test, a person interacts with a computer, artificial intelligence.  The test is passed if the person believes the AI is human.  

Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) works for Bluebook the world’s most popular search engine and wins the company lottery to meet the CEO Nathan (Oscar Isaac) and be the human in the Turing Test with Nathan’s AI, Ava (Alicia Vikander).  If the test is passed, and Nathan has created a conscious machine, Caleb perplexes in complete astonishment, that this is not the history of man … it is the history of Gods!  So the sessions begin, and Caleb goes to see Ava, alone, in her study, just the two of them with Nathan recording in the cameras in his secluded research facility in the middle of the forrest, surrounded by the arctic, engulfed by the ocean, just Caleb and Ava.

Ava & Caleb interact in the Touring Test.  What is real?  What is not? What will become of the future?
How will Ava act or react?  How will she behave or misbehave?  Can she really have consciousness?  If that’s the case, will she develop feelings for the only man she’s ever met apart from her creator Nathan who feels like a father?  A human female would behave in such manner, correct?  Will she flirt with Caleb?  Hold his gaze?  Communicate slowly, softly, and in a gentle demeanor to win his emotion?  Gracefully conduct her movements in the same ease as her physical movements?  Or not?  Or was she really just pretending this entire time?  Using the men who interact with her for her plan all along to escape, and she just walked right by you at Victoria Secret.  You said hello … and she responded … … and you continued shopping for date night.  

Writer/Director Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine) truly captured the concept of human intelligence and what it means to be conscious of the world around you.  I love the major themes this film eludes to.  How we’re “programed” by nature or nurture or a combination of both to be a certain way.  If I’m attracted to Asian women, was that from a concentrated effort from analyzing all races and mathematically concluding a decision?  Or is it just a consequence of the senses of external stimuli?  “I see Asian chicks and I dig them”.  To not think, to be.  As humans we operate on actions that are not automatic as robots do.  We act, not automatically, but “naturally” in what we feel is best based on our thoughts, emotions, and such.  So if Ava flirts with Caleb, is she acting in an automatic manner as her programmer, Nathan, programed her to do so?  Or is it all happening naturally and we are witnessing the history of Gods right before our very eyes?

I was astonished.  I was amazed.  I was programed by a combination of nature and nurture to enjoy myself on this day.  The day I encountered Ava.  

Ex Machina
Sci-Fi, 108 Minutes, R
Written & Directed By: Alex Garland
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, & Oscar Isaac

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