“Ex Machina” heralds creation of life, but Doctor Geekenstein’s blueprint imitates pornography

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“WHY DID YOU GIVE HER SEXUALITY!?” asks the geek tasked with debugging the anthropomorphic robot. Except they didn’t. Unless by sexuality you mean just the “female” bits and transluscent circuits where her belly and cranium should be.

These filmmakers gave Ms. Machina just the tangibles to titillate pre-sexuals: tits, ass, and a face for, um, facials. Their ideal is basically a blowup doll, upgraded to show off CGI; the Bionic Woman pared of nonessentials for viewers fixated on orifices; imagine the Six Million Dollar Man a cyborg whose flesh parts are lips and phallus. For male heterosexual tastes, a nubile female would have a womb. Otherwise the bare midriff would not be a thing. Nor belly dancing. But no mate of any age can lack a cranium. And a soulmate needs a soul. I think we can say the soul lives in the heart, but I’m pretty sure we manifest its presence under the cranium. A sexual mate, even as a sexual object, must be “all there” in the head, or is that just me?

The film “Her” pared the romantic partner down to a disembodied voice, this film preserves the body but disembowels her.

Presumably the filmmakers screen-tested their heroine on a focus group. If the results decided which virtues a virtual sex object requires for allure and which could be dispensed to skimp on parametric objects, I’m not impressed. Is hair no longer an asset to attractiveness? Ex Machina takes our depilation fetish to its nadir.

Spoiler: I haven’t seen the rest of Ex Machina. Does she have toes? Why or why not? How could she not have toes?

And what about “chemistry”? By chemistry I mean whatever electricity or scents we exude to guide ships in the night. Okay, no doubt biomechanical robots can be modelled to emit pheromones, but I’m sorry that’s about as romantic as boutique soap.

Whatever social commentary we are to make of this “high concept” thought experiment, I’m reminded of attending a lecture given by a geek who Time Magazine listed among the world’s most influencial people. He had coined the term “virtual reality” or some such and had shaped what the internet has become. I wondered why we entrust social engineering to antisocial engineers, then look to them as philosophers endowed with clarevoyance. With arrested adolescents for our gurus, of course “the internet is for porn.”

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