Science Fiction Film & Television

Mind the knowledge gap

Ex Machina’s reinterpretation of the female android

Science Fiction Film & Television (2020), 13, (2), 223–246.


This article analyses the representation of the female android in Alex Garland’s Ex Machina (2014), suggesting that the film draws an unexpected parallel between the android and its inventor. Unlike in similarly themed modern films, the android is used to explore the creative potential of artificial intelligence, which becomes its similarity to human intelligence. The film establishes a hierarchy of creativity in which the android’s ability is much greater than that of the human characters. Through this, it revisits a key idea of earlier female android texts such as Villiers de l’Isle-Adam’s novel L’Eve future (1886) and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927): the knowledge gap stretching between technology developers and users. Ex Machina’s exploration of strong artificial intelligence is used also to problematise modern technophilia by reflecting concerns over the exploitation of users’ lack of understanding of trusted technologies pervasive in their daily lives.

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Author details

Oancea, Ana