Devs: Alex Garlad on Tech Culture & Quantum Computing
(DenOfGeek) Author, screenwriter, and director Alex Garland made his directorial debut with Ex Machina, an unnervingly believable vision of a tech company CEO becoming a modern day Frankenstein. Garland studies almost obsessively whatever field of science he’s writing about, which now pertains to quantum computing.
Garland’s first limited television series is FX’s Devs in which he returns to the quiet dread hatched on sunny Californian tech campuses, here embodied by the fictional Amaya. In the series, Amaya is a peaceful workplace surrounded by idyllic forests and an upbeat ethos that has made it the global leader in quantum computing—but they’re using it for secretive ends. Devs addresses two specific concerns of Garland. One of them is to look at the weird nature of quantum mechanics, which seems to be a very good way of examining the world we live in and just how surprising and bizarre some of the implications of that are. However, the larger concern is not the technology but the company using it.
The difference between the common things a company can sell and the uncommon things they quietly develop is profoundly important. the friendly exterior of Amaya with its enormous statue of a child—a literal monument to Forest’s lost daughter—is a public face to the actual profound work his Devs team is doing in a separate, highly secretive facility. Seemingly based in part on mysterious research and development wings of tech giants—think Google’s “moonshot” organizations at X Development and DeepMind—Devs is using quantum computing to change the world, all while keeping Forest’s Zen ambition as its shield.