Top 20 list defines sci-fi for 2015

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Pacific Rim

Meet the iconic image of 21st century sci-fi.

My post about the Rolling Stone top-20 sci-fi movies of the 21st century—and my version of the top-20 list—inspired some interesting comments from all over, making clear that (ahem) my opinion about what makes the best sci-fi movies is shared by some, but not necessarily all, of the sci-fi lovers out there.  Of course, as I pointed out in many places, my opinion is my opinion, your opinion is your opinion, and that’s as far as opinions go, pretty much.

But the discussion was useful in another way: That is, to help define what constitutes sci-fi for the audience of 2015.  This is largely an academic exercise, but for those who seek to create sci-fi to be consumed by the populace (and make them a lot of money), if might be worth taking a quick look over these conclusions to make sure you’re doing it right. Continue reading

AIs taking over? What the heck for?

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CybermenOne of the favorite discussions amongst sci-fi fans, scientists, computer experts and roboticists is the idea that artificial intelligence, or AI, will someday become so smart that it will “kill all the humans” and take over the world.  The trope has led to innumerable books, movies, papers, games and debates, and keeps everyone looking sideways at their computers whenever they do something unexpected.  It has arguably become the largest source of mass paranoia in the industrialized world, now surpassing our distrust of government.

And it’s fun to talk about, whether we expect it to happen or not. Continue reading