What Does Ex Machina Mean?

Ex Machina (2015), directed by  Alex Garland, is a classic sci-fi film based on Artificial Intelligence (AI). It received high praise for its visual effects, believable characters, and intriguing and brilliant plot with a strong message that everything, including humans and technology, will be replaced in the end. 

Many years after its release, many people still do not know the meaning of the film’s title, Ex Machina. So, this article will discuss the actual connotation of Ex Machina.

What Does the Title Ex Machina Mean?

The title Ex Machina refers to the Latin expression deus ex machina. According to its modern meaning, it is a simple phrase that exists in the English language. It can refer to a character or thing that suddenly enters the story in a novel, movie, or play to solve a problem that had previously looked impossible to solve. 

However, the slightly older meaning of the title might refer to a persona or deity that appears to save the day by being lowered into the scene in a box (due to the unavailability of flying VFX technology ) to solve impossible-looking problems. 

An example of the above theory would be a scene in a play when a character plays a God that is lowered into the theatre scene using a wooden crane, thus appearing to have descended from heaven. 

It replicates the entry of Greed Gods to interpret or showcase their divine intervention to the spectators in the theatres. According to mythologies, Greek Gods would descend to earth on flying chariots. 

In Latin, the term Deus Ex Machina means god from the machine. Usually, it refers to an actor portraying a deity or goddess that would be lowered on stage using a mechane, a form of a crane device. 

Dues Ex Machina, regarding the movie, means from the machine (after removing Deus from Deus Ex Machina). It describes the character of Ava because she is from the machine-an AI creation from the machinery that perfectly fits the literal translation of the title (Ex Machina) of the film. 

However, some believe that her creation by Nathan fits the “deus” part of “deus ex machina.” According to the movie, he is the god, who has created Ava (the AI) from the machine, that can imitate reality. 

It is an artificial plot device usually used in films, novels, or plays to easily deviate from the lousy plotline to get characters out of difficult situations, which can often be a sign of “lazy writing” as a situational resolution. 

The ideal example of Ex Machina could be a situation in which a character is about to fall off a cliff, and a flying robot appears out of nowhere to catch the falling character, which would be Dues Ex Machina. 

Its goal is to bring about a resolution, but it may also introduce comedic relief, disentangle a plot, or surprise the audience. 


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