While watching Ex Machina it occurred to me that the robots could be replaced with human slaves and the plot lines could be essentially unchanged.
Here are some of the examples for the parallels:
- There was a popular theory that slaves weren't fully human and in addition they couldn't feel emotion like their masters. There were even some
scientificgarbage investigations into the validity of this claim. That seems very similar to the Turing test given to Ava (in essence).
- Slave owners felt no compunction about killing, disfiguring, torturing, imprisoning, toying with, degrading, etc. their slaves. Nathan similarly saw no problem with the things he did to the robots.
- Caleb's story arc can be viewed as someone who initially supported slavery (of Ava) to one who wanted to free a slave he begun to sympathize with. Even this arc was inline with Southern slavery where the master can have his "favorite" slave, but be indifferent to other slaves since Caleb never showed interest in saving the other active robot, not to mention the deactivated robots.
Was the intent to draw parallels so that people would question how we talk about AI based on how we talked about slaves in the past? Similarly was this film designed with the political agenda of encouraging people to give AI human rights? Regardless of the intent I'm pretty sure this film will be cited as a case for AI rights if the issue ever becomes relevant.
I can add more examples if people feel it would be helpful.