Ex Machina buried this insanely cool easter egg deep in its source code (literally)

Contributed by
May 20, 2015

Anyone who has seen Alex Garland’s sci-fi opus Ex Machina can attest to the fact that it’s a sci-fi masterpiece, but it turns out there are even more subtle layers buried in the movie’s literal source code.

The film, which stars Domhnall Gleeson as a programmer tasked with testing a cutting-edge artificial intelligence housed in an android body (Alicia Vikander), is a thoughtful and tense examination of humanity and the way we treat one another. But, this being a sci-fi film, it also features a scene with some computer code splayed across the screen.

In most movies, that code is just total gibberish, but the team behind Ex Machina decided to bury a very nifty little easter egg in there. Basically, run the code displayed in the film through the Python programming language, and you’ll get a message.

It all adds up to: ISBN = 9780199226559

What is that, you ask? It’s the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) for Murray Shanahan’s book Embodiment and the Inner Life: Cognition and Consciousness in the Space of Possible Minds, which is about, you guessed it, consciousness (a big topic in Ex Machina).

Shanahan is a professor in cognitive robotics at Imperial College, and actually worked with Alex Garland in an advisory role while he was putting together the script.

Well played, Garland. Well played.

(Via Rope of Silicon, Reddit, Source Code in TV and Films)

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