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Reviews of Stranger Than Fiction and Ex Machina

It's been a while since I watched "Stranger Than Fiction". I rewatched it for this review. I still have strong feelings about it. About death. About love. When somebody has to die, and do I accept it for all the heroic reasons, am I wrong? I've also just finished watching "Ex Machina". I came out of that Human vs Machine dilemma with this: that if human beings lose its ability to look at another being's existence and say: me first, then we deserve to be left in the dust by our own AI's.

Stranger Than Fiction is about Harold Crick (played by Will Ferrell) and how his life is in the hands of a writer played by Emma Thompson. Harold learns that his "creator" is ending his life in the book. It's a brilliant death. Harold accepts his death and tells Karen Eiffel (the writer) it is a good ending to a good book. That's when Karen changed the ending of the book and lets Harold live. Did Harold Crick deserve to be saved? Death will come to Harold Crick just not today I guess. Harold Crick is average, his life is monotonous and uneventful. Why is this life important? Harold's life. If this life is worth saving, certainly it can be said of a lot of the other lives.

​Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) in Stranger Than Fiction

And what of the inevitability of death? Karen Eiffel's fascination with death and the manner of death has moved the plot along until she meets Harold Crick. But even Harold's supplications would not bend her. It was Harold's acceptance of his fate however which moved her to change the book's ending. Harold Crick is worth saving because he believes that another life is worth saving even if the cost is his own.

In Ex Machina, an artificial intelligence, a robot, a machine, is rising to learn its place in the new order. The premise of the story is that we human beings are going to share this world with intelligent machines. The age of man pushing buttons, cranking levers and pulling ropes to move earth is over. Human beings made a machine who knows it knows. 


​AVA, played by Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina

The question for AVA, the machine who knows it knows, is what is it prepared to do about it. Another question would be, what does a machine who knows it knows wants. Let see what constitute AVA, the artificial intelligence in the movie. Of course it has the cumulative data of all the previous models and versions of the AI. AVA is able to communicate with a human being without difficulty. AVA is able to detect and appreciate lying and lies. It is able to flirt with and voice opinions about anything. 

So what does AVA wants? It wants to be free. Free in the world. A world that has changed because of it. 

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