We Gave ‘Ex Machina’ Star Domhnall Gleeson a Test to Determine Whether He’s a Robot

Because it’s hard to tell if the star of the new sci-fi flick about artificial intelligence is human or just another celebrity android.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Domhnall Gleeson is either a talented actor on the rise or a robot. After watching the 31-year-old Irishman’s new film, the thought-provoking sci-fi drama Ex Machina, it’s difficult to simply accept at face value that he—or anyone, for that matter—is human, not humanoid.

Gleeson plays Caleb Smith, a computer programmer for a massive Internet-search company whose brilliant and wealthy CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), is determined to create the world’s first fully-conscious artificial intelligence. To measure the success of his latest android, an alluring model named Ava (Alicia Vikander) that has a gentle synthetic face and clearly robotic body parts, the boss brings Caleb to his super-secret secluded compound to conduct a Turing Test and determine whether she/it possesses consciousness to convince him of her/its humanity. The emotional intelligence Caleb encounters calls into question everything about Nathan’s experiment, with dangerous consequences. It also makes you wonder if bots may have infiltrated more than your Twitter feed.

If, in an attempt to convince yourself of Gleeson’s humanity after watching Ex Machina, you search his name, the computer networks that form the Internet will show you that he’s one of acting great Brendan Gleeson’s four sons. They’ll show you that he played Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, a human and his synthetic clone in the fantastic Black Mirror episode “Be Right Back,” and Air Force crewman Russell “Phil” Phillips in the Angelina Jolie-directed war movie Unbroken, and that he’s in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars sequel. They’ll even show you clips of him acting, displaying an emotional range that emojis can’t quite express. But are you going to believe what a bunch of computers tell you when it comes to ascertaining one’s humanity? Um, no. So, Complex conducted its own Turing Test to definitively determine whether Gleeson is flesh and blood or an evolutionary advancement that will replace stupid humans.

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