Paper Title

Ex Machina: A Dark Fable About Intersectionality

Location

Room 220, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

April 2016

End Date

April 2016

Keywords

Artificial Intelligence, Intersectionality, Ex Machina, Frankenstein

Abstract

Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2015), a recent entry in the genre of dystopic AI films, is read by many critics as an AI “upgrade” on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Like Frankenstein, Garland’s Ex Machina is another tale of excessive hubris of an inventor/physician who violates the proper natural bounds of human endeavor, thus reaping a tragic outcome, both for creator and his creation. There certainly are parallels, but Ex Machina is something else, or perhaps something in addition: a study of intersectionality as underestimated power. Tales of intersectional experience in our society are often tales of powerlessness in the face of abusive social practices. Ex Machina, it will be argued, is the opposite — an illustration of how a socially cultivated disposition dismissive of intersectional significance can be used against intersectionally oblivious oppressors. It’s not entirely clear how the film invites us to view this development, but it’s certainly a way to invite audiences to take lived intersectional experience more seriously.

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Apr 2nd, 3:30 PM Apr 2nd, 4:45 PM

Ex Machina: A Dark Fable About Intersectionality

Room 220, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2015), a recent entry in the genre of dystopic AI films, is read by many critics as an AI “upgrade” on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Like Frankenstein, Garland’s Ex Machina is another tale of excessive hubris of an inventor/physician who violates the proper natural bounds of human endeavor, thus reaping a tragic outcome, both for creator and his creation. There certainly are parallels, but Ex Machina is something else, or perhaps something in addition: a study of intersectionality as underestimated power. Tales of intersectional experience in our society are often tales of powerlessness in the face of abusive social practices. Ex Machina, it will be argued, is the opposite — an illustration of how a socially cultivated disposition dismissive of intersectional significance can be used against intersectionally oblivious oppressors. It’s not entirely clear how the film invites us to view this development, but it’s certainly a way to invite audiences to take lived intersectional experience more seriously.