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Does Ava pass the Turing test?

    Most probably SPOILERS ahead

    Does Ava pass the Turing test? Does it matter?
    What's your take at it?


  • 37 Replies sorted by
  • @maxr

    What you mean? Btw, film got into my list of worst films ever.

  • Example from one of the best movies ever - Blade Runner. (Regarding human ability to create a machine that truly fools people into believing its a person, I would doubt that is possible, and I say so because humans haven't reached the point where they can explain human behavior, human thought, human emotion, human motivation fully and accurately. If those were truly understood, then maybe it would be possible to program a robot. But you first need to know what you are programming into the robot.)

  • The artificial humans in Blade Runner aren't really robots, cyborgs (like Terminators - robots with biological coverings), or androids (human brains attached to robotic bodies) in the classical machine sense... they're genetically engineered biologic constructs that have implanted memories. I always found the Turing test methodology in Blade Runner to be silly... again, they're not AI's. They're super-humans born in a Petri dish like the updated Cylons on the newer Battlestar Galactica.

    Ava is a robot in the guise of a woman.

  • I think Person of Interest - an American TV procedural - depicts AI far better than anthropomorphic efforts like Ex Machina. It shows alien intelligences that are all-seeing, and the humans closest to them becoming disciples to these new Gods.

  • The Turing Test is mainly to raise questions, rather than act as an actual test. After all, we don't impose this test on human beings, even those who might not pass it (people who are severely mentally impaired, for example). I don't meet people and think, "Okay, should I treat this person as a fully-fledged human being?" And we treat many animals as though they had human agency, even if they don't. We don't think about these in terms of threshholds, at-what-point thought experiments, or anything else that comes out of discussions of AI.

    And on the other hand, I'm sure we'll be fooled by relatively simple programs-- say, a really good help-line robot that really seems to respond to our spoken questions.

    So if a machine seems like a human being, it'd be perfectly reasonable to treat it like a human being.

  • Hey @VK , the question addresses the premise on which the film tricks us to believe it's built.

    Ja ja ja I saw it Vitaliy, diligently I follow the films that you like as the ones that go through your personal guillotine =) The

    And always with naked robots you can fuck (main feature!).

    is spot on... nevertheless I differ on the overall assessment, I think there's a valid point, a value in the story and how it unfolds... maybe 'cause I have always been an Asimov fan, as well as sci-fi stories... like the Bible.

    I think Ex Machina is close related to Her, another one in VK's list :P, but with different starting point's premises and thus materialization. As it is to @matt_gh2 Blade Runner and Cherry 2000... those fuckable robo-chicks wanting emancipation. And to some extent also - borrowing "quotes" and/or ambient, or just having simillar/parallel elements - to (massive derailment of) Automata, (cheap) Chappie, A.I., 2001: A Space Odyssey, (seminal) THX 1138 and grandfather Metropolis.

    But IMO only in (the more cerebral, almost as if a book) Ex Machina the Turing (conscience) test, the moral laws of humanness (???), the inversion of god-human-robot roles, the pervasive relations, it's implacably explored in such a methodical, surgical and raw way. Of course there's a lot of deceivement (to the spectator and to the characters) but I don't see in it so much as an entertainment trickery as a means to deliver a message. The whole film is constructed from a anthropomorphic standpoint... that might sound ridiculously silly but as we dive into the sessions and the 4 characters... it seems clear that are the humans who should be Turing tested and surely too lost and morally lax - Caleb get to an extent where he cuts himself to check if He is a robot. There's also a suspensive shift, a perspective disbelief... at times being almost surreal and grotesque (Nathan and Kyoko's dance).

    While the wild nature outside it's a restraining and insulating element it also represents all (living things) Ava wants to engage with. Different from HAL and more to the cheese than Samantha, Ava is doing what it's best for her; in a very human like behaviour (I know in this world there is a bit of everything) she is being ultimately selfish, she wants to survive, to live... and ironic enough, she has learnt that (from) humans just want to use her - very very nice strong sexual metaphor throughout the film - and get rid of her afterwards. Lying and deceiving it's something not many species can do and surely we do very well, just turn on tv and blast yourself; just look at who's in charge of the locomotive. Anyways Ava does everything necessary to get free.

    Now, and coming back to passing the Turing test; if previous to Caleb's arrival Ava has been instructed to pass the Turing test as a formal sanction of intelligence and self-awareness, and supposing she's already at that consciense evolutive stage; are her actions the "absolute", machine logical results of the instructions she has been given by Nathan (the only true "demi-god" aware of possible catastrophic outcome) or a true free will? If Ava sees herself as an independent sentient being - but (thus) not a human - why does she want to mingle with humans? If there's no god, which are the limits?

    What's your take at it?
    --- Yurenchu (IMDB user) put it very nicely:
    In my view, Ex Machina is in essence a re-envisioning of the Biblical story of the creation of Man, and also a commentary on how our current science-and-technology-driven Western society has turned its back on God.

    --- Which lampefeber user replies
    I don't know about that. That depends on whether you refer to God as a mythical figure and a belief system or an actual being. The movie clearly showed that consciousness extends beyond the creations of God and also questioned our concept of "soul" and the boundaries of our morality.

    --- To which Yurenchu replies
    There are the obvious parallels between Ex Machina and the story in Genesis 1-3 or common representation of the Christian God in general:

    • Nathan : the creator of a (new) mankind (God)
    • Ava: the newly created mankind (Adam & Eve)
    • Kyoko: a servant to the creator (a cherubim)
    • the isolated tree in Ava's room: the Tree Of Knowledge
    • Ava escaping from the house, into the free world: the expulsion of mankind from the Garden of Eden, into the raw free world
    • Kyoko with the knife: the cherubim with the sword, guarding the Garden of Eden

    The difference being that instead of God expelling his creation out of the Garden, we have Ava turning her back to Nathan and escaping.

    Caleb has to fly for at least two hours "up" (= up North) to where Nathan resides (a parallel with Heaven).

    Ava starting to develop a desire when she draws the tree in her room parallels the taking of the apple/fruit from the Tree Of Knowledge.

    Nathan being "omnipotent" (physically strong) and "omniscient" (he sees and oversees everything).

    Ava covering herself up with a modest dress and modest (short haired) wig parallels Adam and Eve covering themselves up when they discover they are naked.

    Story unfolds over seven days, parallels God creating the world in seven days.

    And let's not forget the word that's missing from the title: "Ex Machina" is derived from "deus ex machina".

  • Btw, film got into my list of worst films ever.

    Spoken like someone I'd expect to create a list of films arbitrarily acceptable for human consumption.

  • When SIRI on your iPhone 57, says "Hey there mister, do wanna good time?" , be afraid! be very afraid! The AI in Person of Interest, unlike HAL and Colossus has no voice, but chooses Root as its analog interface with the real world. Root isn't a male fantasy inflatable doll but an ass-kicking Ellen DeGeneres. So Kubrick got it wrong in 2001, HAL should have been HILARY, a fembot party companion to Bowman and Poole, who turns into a Glenn Close/ Fatal Attraction psycho-killerbot with Wolverine blades, chasing them through the corridors of the Discovery...although that would be closer to another ALIEN.

  • Why all the talk about gods in the movie (and about the movie)? I find it especially funny where nathans employee refers to strong AI as "new god". As if there were old gods preceding it :)

    For all the science and empirical evidence, that's supposed to have laid the ground for AI to exist, we still end up with fuck dolls and infantile fantasy beings like god :( Am dissapoint.

  • Main issue is not all this pretense and artistic things.

    Issue is that writers completely do not understand AI field, do not know even basic science.
    Reality is always more interesting than wild fantasy, and much more complex.

  • @Jleo over the loud piercing techno I hear you brother, I hear you ,-)
    I remember a film with Geneviève Bujold where she was prisoner in a "jealous" automata-house... then the floor was heated... but for the love of Intel I can't recall the name of it. Also I clearly remember that despite not felling as "luxuriously" done as other productions to be clicked by the Cherry 2000 premises. I kindly thought I would see some kind of relation to it in Automata... but despite a good start the flick (script followed by everything else) killed itself with harakiri, well... {monkey with grease hands of eating peanuts} maybe tonight it's good for The Record Keeper, is either that or hungarian Fehér Isten aka White God


    Reality is always more interesting than wild fantasy, and much more complex.

    @Vitaliy I agree with you here =)

    Let's see how does wikipedia define sci-fi:

    {...} a genre of fiction dealing with imaginative content such as futuristic settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes and extraterrestrial life. It usually eschews the supernatural, and unlike the related genre of fantasy, its imaginary elements are largely plausible within the scientifically established context of the story. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific and other innovations, and has been called a "literature of ideas."{...}

    Of course there's among sci-fi fans a bit of a fight among the more "imaginative" ones and those who claim that premises and background should be only based and fundamented in demonstrable empiric facts.

    If you ask me, even disregarding the human set of laws for perceiving the cosmos, good sci-fi tells more about (what is to) the human species, our fears and handycaps, our limitations but also how we fight to overcome them, to communicate and adapt than anything else. THE UNKNOWABLE will be always unknowable. To my eyes the A.I. theme in Ex Machina serves only as backdrop, as a cohesive drive to underlay and “expose” more interesting and compelling subjects of exploration… Of course all of this can be seen just as an exercise in rethorics, but so is the Bible that has served a big chunk of humanity as "instructions book"… look what happened to the guy who presented himself as the son of god. The truth is we would totally fail as gods… but if it only were for the amount of cynism we’re getting there.

    Ex Machina, and most of its sci-fi cousin-flicks reveal more about where are we now that some abstract time in the future. Nathan literaly fucks his "creations"... But this time Eva leaves Paradise over a dead god and without the good Adam, maybe aware that she doesn't really need him? And here comes another huge Bible chapter, pleasure and reproduction in the times of positronic beings :P

    Anyway this is just my opinion and despite... strong, biased or whatnot, I'm really interested to know (permeable to) other takes at it and their arguments =)


    U P D A T E
    With a couple reviews:
    RogerEgbert which rightfully praises Isaac, no surprise here, this guy's work is solid, also goes a bit about the director Alex Garland's previous works; writer of among others fantastic 28 Days Later.
    Real science fiction is about ideas, which means that real science fiction is rarely seen on movie screens, a commercially minded canvas that's more at ease with sensation and spectacle. And
    NY Times which also reference - I have only read them after writing all of the above - Her and Metropolis -)

    I totally forgot about Caradog W. James' The Machine - similar arguments as in Ex Machina but completelly different league. Also Vincenzo Natali's (365,000CAD Cube) underrated Splice. For a gorgeous looking aussy flick (art dept, light, scenarios - love the UIs) with great DP and grade, which also kind of gets lost (underexplored) in its way (argument wise) disemboweling itself in the process, Infini


  • What you mean? Btw, film got into my list of worst films ever. Issue is that writers completely do not understand AI field, do not know even basic science.

    haha....really ? after finally completely ignoring your "safe list" ...which are by and large the most mundane films made , I'll start seeing the films you don't like, as a reverse field test !

    I saw it this weekend. I thought it was excellent ....because it's only tangentially about "the singularity" and really a frankensteinian metaphor, which any mythologist knows goes all the way back....and was mentioned in the prometheus. That's why their technique was a metaphorical scenario where only the fundamental forces as characters were involved.

    As for the asked and answered the basic question of whether we can trust ai....and I guess Caleb is still asking why he was so naive to do so !

  • The film engages with some relevant issues, and many of the posts here are evidence enough of that. Personally I was a bit disappointed with the film, because I thought it was a little too predictable, and maybe lacked some kind of brain-twisting mystery at its heart that I look for in the best sci fi films.

    There are some featurettes online that help to explain a little of what was on Alex Garland's mind when he wrote/directed the film. His sympathy is really with the AI's, he thinks they are going to triumph eventually and thinks they have a better shot at making the world work than humans. I'm not sure I understand @maxr your question as to whether Ava passes the test, since she certainly has passed it with Nathan, who becomes convinced she's human in all relevant aspects. The sexbot question -- well, clearly porn is a huge motivator that drives technological innovation and we are going to see sexbots as soon as someone can figure out how to make one.

    There is a featurette on the turing test online somewhere, but I don't know where it's posted. However, I edited a couple of these featurettes myself so I'm going to post one that I did(!) This one is about Nathan's character.

  • haha....really ? after finally completely ignoring your "safe list" ...which are by and large the most mundane films made , I'll start seeing the films you don't like, as a reverse field test !

    Really. As for tastes - everyone is different :-)

    For me film is horrible.

  • Really. As for tastes - everyone is different :-)

    ...actually "everyone has different tastes" is a fundamentally flawed argument. If that were really true then why does our culture have agreed upon values of aesthetic appreciation even taught in institutions of higher learning ?

    Aesthetics is a learned discipline just like any other.

    As for passing the test....she fails, because she has no human empathy for humans, evidenced by her abandoning Caleb to a fate worse than even she suffered when she was imprisoned...because she required no nourishment...and that was a calculated decision on her part.

    And I think that's his message. We can create Frankenstein ...but he won't have any sympathy for us....and we're really fools to believe he will .

  • ...actually "everyone has different tastes" is a fundamentally flawed argument. If that were really true then why does our culture have agreed upon values of aesthetic appreciation even taught in institutions of higher learning ?

    Best way to waste your own time is to spend it discussing such things. And trying to change others opinion.
    Just like that you like and live happily.

  • well...that was your argument....or that the filmmaker knew nothing about ai, which made the film bad, which is like saying mary shelley was a bad writer because she obviously knew nothing about medicine. It's a metaphorical work of narrative's not a documentary. It requires the suspension of disbelief....

  • @kurth

    Please understand - I do not care. I am sure in my opinion, you have some another one. Good luck.

  • @kurth the Turing Test is a hypothetical test that was thought up for a computer interface and the question is whether the actual human can determine if the person he is engaging with is a live person or a computer program. Since Nathan knows Ava isn't human, it's not strictly speaking a Turing Test, but the test certainly doesn't require her to have human feelings -- which she might or might not, despite her actions in the film, that is not answered -- only that she is able to convince someone else that she is essentially human.

    Please, this thread IS NOT about Vitaliy's triumph of meanness nor safe list. It's about Ex Machina and sci-fi extended.

    But I have a couple of things to say about personal taste. First regards @kurth 's

    why does our culture have agreed upon values of aesthetic appreciation even taught in institutions of higher learning ?

    My friend, this is a kind of delicate matter... I cannot but respond from my own standpoint. I'm always suspicious of common sense and closed agreed conventions. Of course our communication code is based and implemented upon (reductive) conventions, but specially regarding aesthetics I think there's a huge unavoidable spectator own experiences' context. Leaving elites, power based structures, brainwashing and other interesting subjects aside. Reality is shaped the way one perceives it. What I mean is depending who you are, how you live your life and deal with others, you're gonna engage and "get back"... from almost anything. I reckon those "anythings" are what Vitaliy calls "niches".

    IMO best practice would be instead of trying to get an unanimous agreement about some content's value, to express your own subjective opinion on it. That might seem chaotically anarchic but then the common elements as well as the discrepancies are at plain sight and (ideally) dialog gets richer and general stickers are easily avoided.

    This is totally off topic but I must say that (probably) the main reason I like and engage these forums is, despite the big differences I have with Mr. Kiselev, there is space for expressing myself freely... that has nothing to do with homogenizing or getting approval of his opinion... I can tell you (been expelled from too many places) that's is a very very rare condition. By absolutely no means this is a condescending statement =)

    Now, back on topic

    Personally I was a bit disappointed with the film, because I thought it was a little too predictable, and maybe lacked some kind of brain-twisting mystery at its heart that I look for in the best sci fi films.

    I think I know what you mean Ted; in my case happened opposite, from the very beginning it was quite clear that what I was seeing was just a kind of projection surface behind which there was the mother dough... as I said before a bit like in a book. BTW here in PT I cannot access your featurettes :-(   Abraço

    We are the ones giving the Turing ride ,-)

  • The Machine in POI is a very different AI to Ava. It receives exponentially more data (all the NSA feeds and more), has a correspondingly much larger memory, and has as a prime directive the task of identifying and preventing impending murders (much like Minority Report). This makes it much more interesting to me than Ava.

    While Ava raises abstract questions about the Turing test, the issues raised by The Machine are much more ... relevant. Now that the US of A has 'legalised ' murder of people using drones without trial (in its own head), it's not that far a leap to see the IT system that produces NSA data influencing who gets murdered more than the intelligence analysts who press the fire button. POI is becoming about how humans interact with machine AIs to create new world orders.

  • @onion I really don't know POI, but by your words looks interesting. I'll have to check it out =)

    I think Ex Machina it's a more abstract and yet contained (almost like a big brother tv show) version of a Bible in the style of the greek tragedy. Gods and their creations, humans, their emotions and passions, the sex thirst, freedom, death... c'won just add the technological elements and jargon!!!
    The other thing I find refreshing is that as an spectator i "have to" pass (the test) judgment of some sort and that is going to shape the way I'ld see and validate the characters and the tragedy itself. I loved that in Winter Sleep, where it was done in a bit more mature, gradual and detached way... maybe one of the differences with european cinema tradition...

    Cinema god (yawning) - argghh too many fucking years of this beings going all tragedic and whatnot, I don't care, send them A.I.s and call Tarantino to remake everything just faster, bloodier and funnier, we get 50% of the income... and just for fun make Chuck Norris and Swwarzzebergger a pair of lesbians

  • @Alienhead ....the real "test" as defined by Turing has become quaint in it's simplistic form. But the abstract test as defined by the film wasn't passed because , you have to speculate that Caleb would have realized that the robot , while more intelligent than him, didn't completely fool him that it was a human because he would have been left with the final piece of evidence ....his unsympathetic imprisonment as proof of the robot's lack of empathy. You have to separate the two is real and put forth in a scientific paper in the 50's...the other is a fictional concept as defined by the films narrative. anthropological's called consensual reality . Obviously an amazon shaman wouldn't get the same experience as a guy living in LA or Moscow.

  • The difficulty with the question stems from the concern that human beings do not in fact fully understand or agree upon the nature of knowledge or ontology, and therefore it is not possible to be certain beyond doubt what is real.[3][4] Accordingly, this line of logic concludes, we cannot in fact be sure beyond doubt about the nature of reality. We can, however, seek to obtain some form of consensus, with others, of what is real. We can use this consensus as a pragmatic guide, either on the assumption that it seems to approximate some kind of valid reality, or simply because it is more "practical" than perceived alternatives. Consensus reality therefore refers to the agreed-upon concepts of reality which people in the world, or a culture or group, believe are real (or treat as real), usually based upon their common experiences as they believe them to be; anyone who does not agree with these is sometimes stated to be "in effect... living in a different world."[5]

    I remember the example of the indigenous that could not SEE Cpt Cook's ship 'cause they had never seen/experienced such a vessel before... leaving alone attribute it value of any sort.

    I think I know what you meant @kurth... but we are talking about "not real" things here, about figurative meaning and what that aesthetized figurative meaning might trigger (or not) in different people depending on their context. I totally understand Vitaliy's position and furthermore it figures a very coherent one. If something failed in engaging me, or wouldn't trigger any hedonistic reaction I'll probably assign zero value to it, same as a stone in my path... which you just don't care. Problem is - and I biblicaly rise up my hand - that many times we mix opinion based on a personal experience (here, expectations, our own context and social values, etc.) with... well, other explosive things... like consensus reality.

    And as I personally have a huge problem with the art (industrial) world, with its function and what and how it sanctions - said it before, very tricky mine field I really don't want to get into - fuck consensus molluscs and let's talk about what we like. I much prefer reading your take at the film and their characters, the Turing test and that stuff =)

    BTW, flawed and all (mostly pace wise and a bit simplistic parallel stories) I think you'ld like the Fehér Isten flick;
    here Max one of its protagonists... when people ask my name I always tell them "Max as the dog"
    And a more geltle side ,-)

    720 x 294 - 218K
  • I wonder how many humans might even fail the Turing Test. How many people walk around parroting phrases they heard on the evening news? Phrases like “boosting the economy”, “Support the Troops”, “sacrificing their lives to protect your Freedom”, “Je Suis Charlie”, “xxxx” is a Madman ( insert name of foreign leader)”. You can’t have an intelligent conversation with these people…their responses are so... robotic. These “thoughts” were probably developed in think tanks and marketing agencies to influence or monopolize our consciousness. Je suis fatigue!

    As for human empathy, some of the most successful Corporate executives are psychopaths . This may apply to other successful politicians, artists , etc. Even shoppers at the supermarket or drivers on the highway have little human empathy as they pursue fuel for their machines! Like robots, we download Entertainment Industry “programming”, reality and game shows that promote greed, survival of the fittest, movies and TV series filled with psychopaths promoting prejudice, manipulation & punitive behaviour. ( House of Cards, Death Wish, Rambo etc.)

    The idea of cyborgs being Gods may come from the religious concept of Gods descending from Heaven and incarnating into human form or various forms of spirit possession. So in sci-fi, human consciousness is downloaded into a human form, a “decent of spirit”. From our point of view we are “uploading” consciousness into the machine, ”ascent” of the spirit”. The Machine in POI, Colossus… are Omniscient, Omnipotent. capable of judgement and dispensing punishment to transgressors as well as being a divine guardian to its believers. A God.