Last week I watched Ex Machina. And then I watched it again a couple of days ago. Yeah, it’s that good. Go watch it now, you really should. It’s a, introspective, sensible, no-nonsense sci-fi movie, with good visuals and deep dialogue. No explosions, though.
In the movie, there are expected and obvious questions like what happens to the artificial intelligence if it fails the Turing test, meaning it’s not conscious. Science fiction got us used to this kind of unknowns.
But there was a little moment of truth in the film: the AI – she’s called Ava – asks the protagonist whether he’s a good person or not. It’s not something we usually ask to our fellow humans. Not even children ask it, because good and bad are concepts deeply embedded in our culture. It’s not something you explain, it’s something you show with your actions. A sort of show, don’t tell in real life.
So, what makes a good person? Altruism? Empathy? Respect for others? Faith in some god(s)? There isn’t a simple answer and each of us has a different view, but I believe that, deep down, we all know if we are a good person or not. And an AI would easily figure it out by itself, once it understands human values.
What the AI does with that kind of information, well, it’s another story.