On Ex Machina

Because if that [Turing] test is passed, you are dead center of the greatest scientific event in the history of man.
— Nathan
If you’ve created a conscious machine, it’s not the history of man. That’s the history of gods.
— Caleb

This is an exchange between two of the main characters in Ex Machina. A superb thriller, the film explores a range of ethical implications concerning the human ability to transcend itself through technological innovation. In this case, it focused upon the Turing Test, and the possibility of creating a conscious machine. Early on, the two characters cited above touch on what is in my mind a crucial ambiguity in the philosophy of technology. It goes back to Plato's Phaedrus, where Socrates cites writing's divine origins. Central to my recent work has been this question of the problematic way in which technique implies transcendence in philosophical discourse. With this problem in focus, I have aimed to provide an alternative approach to basic aspects of technique, such as writing in books. In any case, Ex Machina maintained a philosophical ambition worth noting alongside its coldly narrated suspense.  

timothywstanley@me.com