Ex Machina (The Movie)

June 28, 2015 — Leave a comment

I never went to see this movie in the theater, didn’t watch the trailers, I literally knew nothing about it.  I ended up watching it to see if the computer graphics are “there yet”.

There are technological leaps coming that can’t happen until a myriad of individual technologies progress dramatically.  A simple example would have been Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality as there were numerous components (displays, gyros, rendering etc.) that all had to advance to make the combined experience possible.

I saw Ray Kurzweil speak years ago at a conference and he compared our knowledge of the human brain, being like we’d just been given the first ever CPU in a computer case.  But we couldn’t open the case, we could just put sensors around it and try to work out how it’s so smart.

This movie is the perfect example of how far we still have to go.  I watch lectures on just about every component that could make robotic AI that would pass the Turing Test (where you believe the software is a human), but each component still has so far to go.  From batteries, to silent motors, to vision systems, to cognition, awareness etc.  Even things like “common sense” are insanely difficult challenges.

I’ve seen attempts on the Turing test were people have put computers in public places and recorded the questions they get asked so they can write great “surprising” responses.  But if you ask something bizarre or complicated you always break it.  “What did you mean by your answer two questions ago?”…  Oh snap.   “What price is fish?”…  Oh snap.

So I absolutely loved this movie.  It’s the kind of work that inspires technologists, much like the Light Saber in Star Wars or the Hoverboard in Back to the Future.  Robots are generally “robots” and I think this is a kick in the pants to push much harder to stop accepting the “walking like robots” “talking like robots” etc.

The movie making technology was also equally incredible, I didn’t see the use of all the typical motion capture suits with marker balls and green screens.  I like that to make a movie about artificial intelligence was technically very hard.

Anyway, as you can probably tell, this is my favorite kind of experience, when it’s all just a really good surprise.

It reminds me of seeing “The Terminator” for the first time.  I knew nothing about that either, I was stuck in the rain outside a movie theater in England, and a friend and I went in and watched it in an empty theater.  We were both blown away.

So robot makers keep heading towards making the Terminator T-800 Model 101, when they should be studying ballet dancers.

They need to see this movie.


Just for contrast, here’s what Chatbots sound like today, it’s a nightmare!


Movie Making Info – Video Contains some spoilers.

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