The Origins Podcast with Lawrence Krauss

Alex Garland: Fundamental questions inspire art and science

Aug. 14, 2022

Alex Garland is probably best known to the world for writing and directing the blockbuster film Ex Machina about the consequences of the coming of age of an AI humanoid robot. Before that, he wrote the film 28 days later, about the fictional aftermath of a mysterious incurable virus that spreads through the UK. Most recently he directed a television series for FX called Devs, about many things, but hinging on quantum mechanics and issues of a multiverse.

The human implications of new technology seem to play an ever present role in his films, and I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to chat with him about science and art in the past, and was eager to sit down and record a podcast. He is remarkably thoughtful and at the same time self-deprecating. Since the origins podcast tends to focus on issues of science and culture, Alex was the perfect guest, and he seamlessly blends the two. We sat down and talked about his own origins, emerging from a period of more or less complete disinterest in science to returning to the kind of questioning that his scientist grandfather used to embark on with him when he was a young boy. Recorded in the building in which his most recent TV series Devs was being recorded, we had to talk about the quantum universe as well.

It was a fascinating and thoughtful conversation about the human interface with modern science, as displayed in film, writing, and art.

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