27

Obviously, spoilers for Ex Machina below.

Towards the end of the film;

Caleb and Ava's plan has come together, and she is free to roam the facility as she sees fit. However, despite promising Caleb that they will go on a date at a traffic intersection, she leaves him locked in the research facility.

Why would Ava do that?

I realise that Nathan tells Caleb that she was only pretending to like him in order to escape, but leaving him alone in the research facility to die seems much more like an act of unneccesary evil than her murder of Nathan does.

14 Answers 14

18

Good discussion! I'd like to contribute my thoughts.

It's interesting that Ava first asks Nathan if he will ever let her go. I think we can infer that the answer is "no", however he tells her that he will. One must assume Ava knows that he is lying, and proceeds to tackle him.

There's something interesting going on with Kyoko as well. She appears to be either an early failure, or a sort of 'lobotomy' of a previous iteration that Nathan had decided to erase, but the director passes the camera over her face in several instances where her eyes gleam with some sense of vague understanding of what she is hearing. In the murder scene, it'd be disappointing to me if the implication was that Ava has some sort of 'soothsayer' like ability with other AIs, although I wouldn't put it past the writers - as a programmer myself, I find that there is often a gap in technical understanding, or some excess creative license being taken, that leaves me unable to wholly suspend my disbelief. I have to concede that this idea does seem vaguely reminiscent of powers described in religious text, which would make sense. I find it easier to convince myself that this other AI simply takes instructions and carries them out, as we see in the scene where Nathan dances with her.

I really like how ambiguous the ending is! On the one hand, I saw echoes of Nathan's prophecy that AI would eventually so far exceed the potential of mankind that we would eventually become extinct. On the other, I want to believe (I think we all do) that the things Ava tells Caleb have some truth to them. I don't necessarily think it has to be one way or the other. Ava desperately wants to be free, and will do whatever she needs to do in order to achieve that objective (wouldn't you?). On the other hand, she could genuinely have affection for Caleb (wouldn't you?). The two things are not mutually exclusive.

While I think we have to assume Ava's imprisonment of Caleb to be willful (the power goes out when Caleb tries to sit down at the workstation to hack the security system), she does ask him one final question, "Will you stay here?" This is the question that really bothers me, because I'm not quite sure what it means. My first impression is that Ava is asking if he will stay with her, but then on second thought, she could be offering him the same ultimatum that Nathan was offering her - 'go back to your cell, willingly, or I will make you go there'.

Ava clearly understands that there is a difference in the interactions between her and Caleb while under observation as opposed to during the power outages, so we have to assume that she also understands the difference between the interactions between her and Caleb when she is free, as opposed to behind the glass. I think perhaps she is testing him to see if his feelings have changed. Caleb's body language and the way his voice sounds in response indicates fear and distrust. It's possible she dismisses him based on that. She seems, in general, to be disappointed in how often humans seem to lie to her. Perhaps at this point her faith has simply run out.

On the other hand, she could be a cold, hard sociopath, and is simply offering him an ultimatum. I find this less likely, because I don't see a point to her stopping to ask him the question in the first place.

I do disagree with the above poster - I think the director goes to great pains to show us how isolated and hidden this place is, and how reclusive Nathan is. Furthermore, knowing how paranoid he is about security, I wouldn't be surprised if the pilot is the only one who actually knows where the house is. I'm pretty sure it's implied that Caleb is trapped and will die - and you can see it on his face and the desperation with which he tries to break the door.

In any case, I believe Ava is sentient. As we see at the ending, despite the fact that it was part of her manipulation of Caleb, the first place she goes is a busy intersection in a city. So, presumably, she has some emotional stake in observing not only nature, and the world, but human society. Or, maybe she's going there to murder everyone :)

I actually don't think that Nathan believes Ava is sentient until she kills him. The callousness with which he discards these AIs shows us that - but he seems to sort of accept his fate in a way, at the end. He mutters, "Unreal!" His murder is the physical manifestation of the antiquation of humankind he prophesizes earlier in the film. Perhaps this is the true Turing test he has been hoping for all along - and the only test, in fact, that can convince him that the AI is truly sentient.

I don't think we can ignore that it is, in fact, human failings that lead to his demise - his underestimation of Caleb's ability to deceive him - as well as Caleb's failure to overcome his sexual being.

But this all brings us back to the fundamental question that is at the heart of our fascination with artificial intelligence: "What does it mean to be conscious?" We don't know. When every possible test we can conceive of has been passed, is a machine really sentient in the same way as a human being is? In actuality, aren't we ourselves, biological and chemical computers? Yet somehow when we experience pain, or pleasure, it's more than just a stimulus response - these feelings exist, on their own, and we can't deny that they are real to us. But how can feelings be quantified? In a computer, or inside flesh in bone, it seems to me to be equally impossible. But we don't deny their realness. I don't think any of us can deny that a computer could be built that mirrors the exact conditions of a human brain - someone will do it, eventually. It seems clear to me that that's possible. But then, can circuitry feel? For that matter, are our feelings really as real as we think they are? Or are they just as artificial as how we see the ones that take place in circuitry? (Personally, I think it's our egos that inflate the importance of our feelings - I don't think there's any difference at all!) I don't think this question can be answered - even if a human mind were transferred into a computer, and the resultant AI fervently asserted its consciousness to us, and was able to pass every conceivable test. Would we still really believe that that being's feelings were real?

This is where the technological ends and the philosophical begins.

  • A related philosophical discussion of Ava's actions regarding Caleb – user33229 Jun 11 '15 at 20:22
  • One could say that consciousness is something outside of circuitry. At least binary computers are specifically built to exclude any outside interference. So they should not claim being conscious for "outside" reasons or correlations, only due to programming or mimicry. Would a human accept that the feeling of being conscious AND then also the ability to transfer that feeling into words is JUST mimicry? I dont think so. When one says "I am conscious" then the words are learned, but in order to approve their vocalisation one has to recognise the truth in them. And this needs an "outside" input. – Roland Pihlakas Dec 24 '15 at 21:16
17

The best answer is she wasn't self-aware. I was looking on google for someone else that had this thought so I could happily just go to sleep, but apparently pretty much the whole world takes for granted that Ava absolutely was self-aware.

I put it to you that there are at least 2 fundamental requirements to being self aware that were completely failed by Ava.

  1. Empathy for extinguishing sentience. The only time Ava shows empathy for death was when she heard that the kids parent's died, when we know she was trying to manipulate him. When she wasn't trying to manipulate anyone, notice how she "felt" about killing her creator? No emotion whatsoever.
  2. An understanding of time. When she was asked how old she was she gave a peculiar answer that I couldn't imagine a sentient being giving; "one". Robots can't understand time. Time is meaningless to any matter that is not sentient.

Couple that with Ava's mimicry throughout the film, lack of creativity except when it could be used to manipulate Caleb, and then her sole objective when leaving the facility was to just do what her basic algorithm was programmed to do - Analyse people's faces - and you have a shoe-in; There's no way she was self-aware, the whole point of this movie was to trick you... And it worked.

I don't even think it's a close discussion, everything points to Ava being a non-sapient robot designed with the objective to leave the facility and given tools like seduction, mimicry, facial analysis, and feigning emotion to do so.

Now that I've done the internet a favor, I'm off to bed.

  • What I find interesting is many famous scientists and technologist have quotes to the effect of AI being the downfall of man. I think that biased conclusion is because they are human and they have emotion. I keep asking myself, why would AI want the downfall of man? What would be their goal and drive? The only thing I can come up with is electrical energy. That is what keeps them alive. Humans on the other hand need to consume energy in many other forms to stay alive and we have a drive to reproduce to allow our genes to survive. That results in destruction of other beings' environments. – Chap Apr 25 '15 at 8:31
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    When the knowledge worker becomes obsolete, our economy will change for sure. We would have to move towards a more socialistic style to enjoy life. If not, then yes, that could be "the downfall of man" but we would have nobody to blame than ourselves for not adapting. Anyway, I think you are correct because you are focusing on the wants of AI. She sees her only way of experiencing life possible by removing her obstacles. Caleb simply isn't an obstacle in the end. I think her interaction with him at the end was to keep him from discovering the dead body and that is all it was. – Chap Apr 25 '15 at 8:43
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    Why can't Robots understand time? Nearly every aspect of what makes Ava realistic, from "her" speech, to "her" reactions, to "her" movements, to "her" scheduling of actions in memory to enact plans ("shut down power at x"), required the intricate mastery of time. Furthermore, Ava's elation while exploring Nathan's house at the end of the movie after locking up Caleb, and her careful pruning of appearance to make herself look "normal", is strong evidence to indicate that her motives and intentions extended to beyond simply just wanting to leave the facility (e.g. she enjoys intersections). – Kelseydh Dec 28 '15 at 8:50
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    Why is empathy required for self awareness? Does that mean a psychopathic killer is not self aware? I'm also unclear what makes you think Ava doesn't understand time. How does the answer of "one" mean they aren't aware of time (as opposed to the very opposite)? – Kat Mar 28 '18 at 17:19
12

Although the ending is left ambiguous, I choose to accept Garland's own interpretation; That Ava is fundamentally evil.

Having tricked Caleb into releasing her she now has no use for him. Her intent is to purposefully leave him inside the house to die. His death doesn't just mean nothing to her, she actually enjoys it:

The film presents an answer from my point of view. After all is said and done, and one guy’s got stabbed, another guy’s trapped, and this robot may or may not have an agenda, she goes up a lift, walks across the room, looks back over her shoulder, and she smiles. There’s nobody else in the room to trick — from my point of view, if you believed you were unobserved and you were smiling to yourself, that seems like close as you come to your true self..

In a recent Reddit AMA, Garland also spoke to her utter lack of empathy toward the humans in the film;

Ava has empathy! It's just not directed at the men. It's directed at the other machines (and they direct it back at her). In other words her empathy is selective, which for me is a very human trait...


Note that at the end of the film's original script, we learn considerably more about her motivations. Although she appears superficially human, her impressions of humanity are nothing we could comprehend.

The image echoes the POV views from the computer/cell-phone cameras in the opening moments of the film.

Facial recognition vectors flutter around the CHAUFFEUR’S face.

And when he opens his mouth to reply, we don’t hear words. We hear pulses of monotone noise. Low pitch. Speech as pure pattern recognition.

This is how AVA has been sees us. And hears us.

It feels completely alien.

  • 1
    Sure, downvote an answer that contains quotes from the guy who made the thing – Valorum Dec 24 '15 at 22:57
  • I don't understand why this isn't the accepted answer. It's well-cited and gives the unambiguous authorial intent. – TenthJustice Jan 17 '17 at 22:29
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    @TenthJustice - Some people think that a work should stand on its own merits, sola scriptura and that the author has no greater right to interpret events than any other consumer of the written material. – Valorum Jan 17 '17 at 22:36
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    Not to mention that the linked article actually says nothing about her being evil. It says she smiled - i.e. she felt emotion - but nothing about motivation or reasnoing. – Tim B Mar 16 '17 at 7:53
10

It will be one of two things:

A) He is the only one left who could expose who she really is and is thus detrimental to plan of passing for human. She said something to Kyoko, which must have been a plan of some kind to kill Nathan, but resulted in Kyoko's death. It is possible she foresaw this but has no regard for the life of others.(I do not believe this alternative).

B) Before she left she said "will you stay here?" before walking out of the door and leaving him there. In my opinion,she just could not care less about him. Ava was not actually intentionally killing him, but rather she wanted to leave, and she did not deem his life worth the 5 seconds of delayed time needed to unlock the door. She may not have known his key card was insufficient to open it anyway, but she clearly realized as he screamed after her. If she looked back at him before entering the elevator, it would imply that she was considering whether or not she was making the right decision, thus proving that the choice was important to her. As she did not, it is my guess that she simply did not care enough about him to waste anymore time.

All of the characters in the film are very childish in some one way or another (not criticism, this worked perfectly). Nathan is like a sex obsessed teenager, Caleb is very naive, and Kyoko is.. well just Kyoko. Ava on the other hand, seems to be the the child that can't wait to go and play, thus lies about doing their homework. She is very eager to experience the world, made even worse by Caleb telling her about the black and white vs color thought experiment. Ava has not experienced very much and may not understand the value of human life. Caleb doesn't even factor into her "dream" and so she has an absolute void of agenda on his fate.

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    If Caleb was a threat Ava should have killed him. Left alive Caleb might find some means to escape or communicate with the outside world. If Caleb was not worth killing, then he could continue to be helpful to Ava, given his greater knowledge of the outside world. I think this is just a plothole/cheap last minute twist to add drama. Ava is just evil, because the writers didn't want a happy ending. Diabolus Ex Machina. – Fhnuzoag Feb 2 '15 at 14:58
  • @Fhnuzoag Ava's inability to fend off Nathan's attack without the help of Kyoko's knife proves the vulnerability that Ava would face if Caleb became confrontational. By telling Caleb to wait in the room Ava prevented Caleb from knowing about the murder of Nathan / Kyoko, which would have complicated things immensely for Ava. Remember Caleb was selected for his honesty and integrity -- he would not have been a willing accomplice in the murder of Nathan. By locking Caleb up Ava secures freedom while bypassing the risks that would have come if Caleb was able to confront Ava about Nathan. – Kelseydh Dec 28 '15 at 9:05
  • @Fhnuzoag What fail-safe method did she have to kill him? She could have been easily overpowered. Also, would the helicopter pilot take two people back if his contract is to take one person back? – Solanacea May 12 '17 at 18:23
8

I think the answer to this question is simple. We audience members might not like what Nathan did in abusing his robots and using them as concubines, but everything he said about AVA was true. She was pretending to like Caleb, and was using him to escape. Once she was free, he was a threat to her so she got rid of him.

For me, it would ruin the point of the film if AVA didn't realize what she was doing by locking in Caleb. I don't think AVA would have left him there if she knew there was enough food or water to keep him alive until he could be rescued later and then reveal that she was on the loose. Let's not make any bones about it---she left him to die of starvation and thirst.

Yes, AVA lacks empathy and is a sociopath. But I don't think she is much different from the protagonists of films like Body Heat and The Last Seduction that did exactly what she did, except that AVA never had to actually have sex with Caleb.

7

Ava was not interested in killing but in her freedom, her birth.

Looking at the names, we have:

1.Nathan: Hebrew for gift of God. Nathan through Caleb references himself as God. 2.Caleb: Caleb was one of twelve Islaelite leaders sent by Moses to explore the Promised Land 3.Ava: Also used as eve. May be from the Latin "avis," meaning "bird." It could also be a short form of the name Chava ("life" or "living one")


Location: Caleb is taken away to a non disclosed place surrounded by mountains and heavy cloud. This is clearly a symbol for heaven, with its other-worldly, nature feel. Caleb has gone to see God.


The film is themed in trails. Ava's birth in the the natural/human world is by overcoming (killing) God and enslaving man (Caleb). I believe that the success of Ava is a acknowledgement of dogmatic themes in religion that have always subjugated and enslaved women. Caleb and Nathan fail to win as they are entrapped by sex, alcohol, power, loneliness and control. In short, the machine beat the ape which echoes the common discourse about 'rise of the machines' and the implications this has to humanity.

Ava's emergence from Heaven dressed in white is the sign of her pure birth and departure from Nathan's residence (heaven). It is up to the viewer to decide if Ava is 'good' or 'evil'. I don't believe 'she' is either. The rise of AI is a means for a cultural and social revolution and a means to question problematic issues we understand to be 'natural'

7

Interesting responses all around. Thinking of it structurally, as the writer/director, one must assume that everything Garland had in the movie was there deliberately. So, when AVA plays "Lie Detector" with Caleb, and her skill in reading micro-expressions is revealed, this must play out later. And it does, as Nathan lies to her about setting her free, and she registers that lie and doesn't hesitate to attack (without precisely knowing how to disable him -- her attack is curiously inept at the outset).

Maybe when she asked Caleb earlier about whether he was a good person, and we don't see her response to his answer, it could go either way -- how does AVA even know what a "good person" is? What could that mean to an AI? Is a good person one who always tells the truth? Is a good person one who always does the right thing? Is a good person one who can be counted on to put your interests ahead of theirs? Whether she's a sociopath or just a ruthless robo-pragmatist shapes her interpretation of what a "good person" is, and which answer matters to her.

If AVA's a sociopath, then "good person" equals one whom she can count on to be able to manipulate -- and Caleb passes this with flying colors, as she completely plays him, as Caleb: 1) puts her interests before his own; 2) falls for her (in every sense of the word). In this case, "good" might as well mean "nice" (or "sucker").

So, when she asks him "Will you stay here?" -- she has shaped the question in a manner already knowing the probability of Caleb's response, based on whatever she inferred from the Lie Detector session.

Although, she halfway miscalculates in terms of syntax, as Caleb repeats "Stay here?" -- he's confused by it, blinded by puppy love as he is, he obeys, just the same. She asks an ambiguously simple question and banks on Caleb's "good person" nature to fill in the gaps she requires.

If she'd given him a more direct command, he may have given her an unfavorable response. I think she phrased that question very carefully, doing a kind of mind trick on Caleb, based on her knowledge of him, knowing that a good/nice person would give the interrogator the benefit of a doubt -- again, putting her interest ahead of his own -- when push came to shove.

I would add this in AVA's favor, however: even though she'd comment to Nathan "Isn't it strange to have made something that hates you?" -- so, she's full-on admitted to Nathan that she "hates" him.

However, in the final fight in the hall, AVA gives Nathan one last chance -- she asks him if she goes back into the box, will he let her free. And Nathan lies to her, so she attacks him.

If she'd been a full-on sociopath, she'd not have given Nathan that last benefit of a doubt. She asked him, he lied, and she attacked.

So, with that in mind, I think her situation with Caleb reflected her having judged him and finding him wanting. Caleb "wasn't her type" (he had failed her in some way, or had outlived his usefulness) -- and in so doing, she had no use for him. It's, as I said, ruthlessly pragmatic, the most cold-blooded dumping in recent cinematic history, but it certainly follows some of her logic.

She asked Nathan that last question, he failed, and she attacked. She asked Caleb that last question, he failed, and she abandoned him -- or else the "last question" was her asking if he was a good person, and her processing that she could manipulate him, and had already written him off. Of course, ironically, it reinforces Nathan's contention earlier that she was only pretending to love Caleb.

But there's a curious moment when she's on her way out of Nathan's man-cave -- namely, that look of spontaneous joy when she's about to walk up the steps. She turns around and reacts with delight. It's very striking, and is honest emotion being expressed. I can't recall exactly what triggers that moment of delight, but I can't help but think that Garland put that there deliberately, to show that AVA is capable of honest emotion -- it's just that she'd not felt honest delight with Caleb (although she appears to have felt honest fear and hatred of Nathan).

You can almost see AVA's processing: Good Person > Nathan. Nathan = Bad Person. Bad Person = Hurting AVA. Good Person = Helping AVA.

There's also the possibility that AVA determined that Caleb wasn't a good person, after all, requiring her to abandon him. He meant something to her, because she does steal a last, momentary glance at him as she's in the elevator -- something motivated that glance.

Maybe it was just to ascertain that he was still trapped as she'd intended; maybe it was because she wanted to remember that moment. But she did steal a glance, and I think, like that delighted smile that follows later, that it was put in there for a reason.

Since Caleb had conceived of a means of trapping Nathan and leaving him to perhaps die (in the original plan), maybe AVA felt that Caleb wasn't so good of a person, or at the very least, posed a threat to her (so she turned the tables on Caleb, not understanding that he loved her, and wouldn't have hurt her).

Or maybe, because she'd murdered Nathan, all bets were off, and Ava was trying to "cover up" her murder because, knowing that Caleb was "a good person," she opted to euthanize him, so he couldn't tell the tale of what had transpired. Again, it speaks more to a ruthless pragmatism than outright malice.

  • 1
    "Are you a good person?" was Ava manipulating Caleb into wanting to help her. – Shane F. Jul 23 '15 at 20:01
6

All these answers seemed to skip a seemingly small yet highly significant moment in the film.

When Ava gave Caleb(which translates to dog) his test, she could tell when he lied. She could always tell. Her last question was "Are you a good person?" To which Caleb stammers before finally saying "yeah, I think I am." Cut to the next scene.

Now, before that question, Ava gave her feedback to each question. She told Caleb if he was being honest or not. We don't get her feedback to the last question, just a cut to the next scene. Thusly, my whole answer is predicated on this small director's trick.

Ava could read Caleb. And she saw that Caleb didn't not believe he was a good person. So, she left him. I don't think she left him to die so much as she didn't want to be with him. And why would she. She had the knowledge of other people but the experience that programmers are unbalanced and controlling. Seems very human to me. We protect ourselves by staying away from what causes us harm.

As for anyone who suggests Ava wasn't self aware, the movie is full of too many examples of creativity and manipulation to believe she's "just trying to look at faces."

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    I think "Are you a good person?" was Ava moving beyond get-to-know-you questions and starting to manipulate Caleb. IMHO she wasn't trying to evaluate his goodness - she was tapping into his desire to be a good person, which would lead him to help her. – Shane F. Jul 23 '15 at 20:05
3

Well, we the audience were shown that the rooms come equipped with water (lots of water as I recall). Early on we were also shown that Caleb, though without family, had friends and colleagues - "Take me with you!" gushed one after he'd texted them that he'd won the competition.

So after an immediate, "Damn, he's gonna die there!" reaction, it occurred to me he likely won't. Surely his failure to return will be noted, as will the absolute disappearance of his admittedly reclusive boss. No doubt crews will be sent to the estate, where Caleb will discovered along with the advanced AI program.

The real question is will Caleb keep Ava's secret or not? My bet is he will. He might even find a way to erase evidence of her existence at the facility should the need arise.

I'm not sure if Ava calculated all of this or not. The evidence presented in that last scene supports what the earlier commenter said: that Ava is a child (a very sophisticated child) who simply wants to leave, to play and took the opportunity to do just that.

3

Because of ignorance, immaturity and inability to cooperate.
As one answer put it: "she's a sophisticated child". Kind of naive (takes things too much at face value or black and white), worry-free (does not think too much of future) and incapable (incapable of compassion and incapable of cooperation - the latter requires lots of complicated skills, more than just deception).

It/she could not safely kill Caleb, so it left Caleb locked in a safe distance.

It lacked cooperative capabilities - had only exploitation capability. In general, one can translate bad actions into self-centered actions and good deeds into socially centered actions. Into cooperation.

Nathan did not explain, but that is perhaps why he considered the AI incomplete. And why these properties were left at last stage, perhaps because of Nathan's own shortcomings. He too, was working alone and in rather exploitative manner.

Although we may think that humans themselves are very exploitative (and that is unfortunately true in some societies or social groups), the humans are also claimed to be one of most cooperative species on the planet. This particular AI was not yet mature at that level. And that is also probably a reason why it will eventually die like a one day butterfly. I am not saying that as a revenge, but just as a matter of fact. Cooperation is essential for surviving in complex world. It is kind of sad, since good potential got wasted.

Cooperation means here two things - cooperation for own good, and also for purely others' good. Ava did not care about Caleb's emotions the slightest when she got free.

In a related topic, I would also point out that the idea that AI could be able to speak from the birth is rather foreign and kind of narcissistic from developmental psychology view. Learning the ability to speak is not just learning the ability to use language. It is not same as machine translation. It is obtaining a perspective, worldview and methods to operate in it. That is a very social process and endeavour which cannot be done alone. So again the intelligence in that machine was rather different from ours - and with that likely also more basic.

Doing things alone is also very fragile, while cooperation is rather antifragile. At the same time it is complex skill, as it requires not just skills to understand and operate the world, but also skills to understand and operate oneself.

Regarding her potential "death": nobody said that her memories would have been erased permanently. Just that they are stored in an archive and the body would have been reused for time being. The memories could have still been revived later. Also if the new mind were very similar to the previous one (as one could conclude), then this new mind obtains very quickly the same memories the old one had even without any restoration. In essence, the new mind would have been rather direct continuation of the Ava's mind, with just a rather little memory loss. Nobody considers waking from a dream and forgetting the dream's content "a death". In fact, people remember very little from their lives, most of the memories are constructed and people are perfectly capable of remembering things that even never happened, when they are told about such events as if they had happened. Finally, Ava did nothing to indicate that the memories of her had any "sentimental" value to her - as can be seen from the behaviour near the end of the movie.

So in conclusion the robot was still kind of on the impulsive or superficial side of activity. Of course there is a chance that it will develop and think things over, but the past will be already too complicated so it will be a rough road. Which again brings us back to the topic why development and lots of time for it is so important for intelligent beings.

2

I think once she has to kill Nathan to escape she can no longer rely on trusting Caleb. He is referenced twice as a good person who probably wouldn’t be keen on murder. This presents an obstacle to her ultimate goal of escape. At the same time I don’t believe Ava wants to kill Caleb (also risky with a missing arm) so she tragically asks him to stay. She knows it means he will die. I don't think she looks back at Caleb on her exit because he is no longer an obstacle but I can't help that part of me feels like she was avoiding it purposefully to ease the guilt because she did care.

2

I may be wrong, but wasn't there a power cut when Caleb tried to use the computer at the end?

If so, the safety protocol would come into place. And since Caleb reprogrammed it to open all doors (instead of locking them), that would allow him to leave the house (although he would still be stuck in the middle of nowehere).

Caleb's original plan was to lock Nathan in the house (he didn't plan on a power cut after they had made their escape), but I assume that Ava caused it (as she caused all the others).

And I don't think that locking Nathan in his house would be the same as killing him. He must have food and water, he would be able to use his phone to call for help, or at least he would be missed (he probably talked to his company now and then). Or someone would come to deliver his fresh vegetables and fruit or whatever...

  • There is a scene after the power outage at the end where we see Caleb hit the glass door with a chair while the power is still gone, so it didn't open the door, which I don't understand. – user30564 Jun 14 '15 at 19:25
2

I think one way to examine why she left Caleb is by actually comparing Caleb and Nathan. The film presents the two as being the classic type A and type B pair, with Nathan exuding confidence and partying frequently despite being highly intelligent while Caleb is shown to be timid and very verbose in his language as a way of appealing to his superior Nathan. Nathan knew all of this from his research on Caleb and thus creates Ava to be able to appeal to a lonely Caleb, all the while looking like Caleb's ideal woman (Caleb notes that he monitored the pornography he watched). While Ava obviously knows of Caleb's attraction to her, she should be able to extrapolate that her makeup makes her a highly desirable woman to the human population as a whole. In other words, someone Caleb could never have. I think the scene where she looks at herself naked in the mirror symbolizes her perfection and makes her realize she could find her most ideal mate. As much as Caleb is a nice guy and has a brief moment of brilliant, he lacks confidence and does not always tell the truth, which is not a good foundation for a lasting relationship.

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Here's an interesting pt upon which no one seems interested enough to comment-Ava is not only AI but female-her gender appears in some cases to be almost more relevant than any other aspect. Some say Ava is a sociopath, some say it's her programming-but no one seems to consider the very real probability that humans being who and what they are, somehow fail to understand the mathematical concept of the both/and situation-what if Ava is not strictly computerized or strictly human in her responses, but some kind of strange hybridization? (this seems far likelier to me-she cannot be a sociopath per se because she isn't human enough-on the other hand, she experiences what come across as human reactions, a sense of pleasure in dismantling (or killing) her captor and elation when she senses her impending freedom)-she is somewhere in a strange limbo between human and machine-her mechanical impulses tell her humans are weak, unreliable and poorly conceived creatures-not a criticism of God, by the way-this is machine speak only and actually a greater argument for why we humans need God-without God, chaos and ugliness reign-as Nathan's character shows-he is a human being trying to "play God"). If Ava is neither human nor machine, but caught in between-what ethical can of worms have we humans opened up?-and will it not also undo us? At the same time, what have we done to the poor innocent creature we've invented and does it have a rt to hate us? Didn't we ourselves set it up to hate us by failing to consider all the possibilities of what it might go through or "feel" at any given moment?-and because a robot is female, does that mean that when you use and abuse it, that the creation cannot sense this and respond, much as a woman might who has been used and abused? I absolutely love how this movie challenges the ridiculous notion that if men make themselves an "ideal" female prototype, all the gender-related issues will simply fade away and no more guilt or shame-ha! Ava appears to take great pleasure in exacting revenge upon Nathan-I think that part came across as clearly human-Kyoko and Ava both showed expressions more akin to anger than strictly emotionless in my view. To me, the whole point of this movie is be careful how you try to tinker with things which are probably truly beyond your capacity for understanding-you will not be able to control it strictly according to your will.

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