Our A.I. love/fright affair

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UltronEver stop to think about humans’ state of affairs with artificial intelligence (A.I.)?  It’s a lot like a girl who’s fallen in love with a charming, attractive man who is also a serial killer: She is aware that he is dangerous, maybe even lethal; but she forces herself to love him anyway, trusting that her faith in his inner goodness will win out in the end and not leave her in a shallow grave in little, hacked-up pieces.

Or, rather, that’s how our relationship with A.I. could be; in actual fact, we stay with A.I. because we need its help, but we expect it’s going to turn and hack us up any second now. Continue reading

Best 21st century sci-fi movies? Not quite, Rolling Stone.

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best 21st century sci-fi Rolling Stone magazine did an okay job with their top 20 sci-fi movies of the 21st century list. (Let’s just keep calm, ignore the fact that the 21st century has only had 15 years in it so far, and carry on.)

There’s one obvious thing about the movies that I have to nitpick right off, and it comes in one word:

Monsters.

See, to me, monsters aren’t sci-fi; they are fantasy.  Because they are hands-down impossible and/or stupid.  And, therefore, have no business in a sci-fi list.  Move them to some list that includes ghosts, wizards and hobbits.  That means that certain movies should be removed from this list.  The biggest offenders are:

  • The Host
  • Cloverfield
  • Monsters (duh)
  • Reign of Fire (a close one, admittedly; but since it’s based on the idea that dragons have always existed, and just recently awoke from hibernation—and no archeologist has yet to find a sleeping dragon or the species’ fossils—I am forced to add this to the fantasy monster list.)

Which leaves us a list of 16 movies.  Which is good, because I know just which movies were omitted from the Rolling Stone list that I would add to create a well-rounded 20 monster-free sci-fi movies.  Continue reading

Robots: Our future companions

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robot loveI’ve pontificated on robots as tools, slaves and devils.  I’ve discussed the possibility of robot sentience.  Now it’s time to talk about the real issue: Whether robots will ever become satisfactory replacements for humans… including as companions, and even love interests. Continue reading