Developer complexity comes from a seemingly simple question

Alex Garland continued on Men’s Health:

“To me [‘Devs’] began with the realization that determinism would be incredibly easy to refute. All you would have to do is show something completely spontaneous.”

This was easier said than done, however, because even seemingly simple choices like what to eat could be seen as resulting from cause and effect, with prior motivations such as television commercials, the a person’s last meal, their specific tastes and dietary concerns. to a specific choice. A machine that could run simulations tracing the trajectory of causes ad infinitum would seemingly render free will null and void. The age-old philosophical question of free will versus determinism thus gave rise to “Devs” and some of its internal dramatic tensions.

“Devs” doesn’t just expand on Garland’s usual two-hour story; it also goes beyond the single location of “Ex Machina” to a larger setting with a window into the multiverse. Paranoia about Big Tech is front and center again, but this time Garland is playing more of a corporate conspiracy angle.

The series falters a bit in some of its writing and acting, with Garland’s dialogue and some actors’ line-readings seeming clunky or stilted at times. Still, its techno-thriller plot kept it watchable enough that when it first aired in the early days of the pandemic, it became more inescapable than the increasingly jam-packed “Westworld” Season 3 on HBO, which aired around the same time. in March 2020.

At a time when everyone is looking for a bit of escapism, “Devs” offers gift-wrapping while asking the big existential questions, like whether or not our lives follow deterministic “trolley lines” and whether or not something happens. without reason. And it all started with this question: if free will exists, where does it reside?

Sharon D. Cole