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Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Adam Nieri

into-the-deep-woods-atmospheric-landscape-with-archway-and-ancient-trees-misty-and-foggy-mood-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpg
into the deep woods, atmospheric landscape with archway and ancient trees, misty and foggy mood

Is Sci Fi Brain Decoding Becoming a Reality?

To what extent can the inner workings of thought and dream be measured through correlation?

Today I want to look at something slightly different. After stumbling upon a piece by Cassidy Ward titled “Inception’s dream-reading technology is becoming reality” over at SYFY Wire, I started thinking more about the idea of reading our dreams. He’s talking about Inception, a 2013 film from Christopher Nolan, of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight fame: The protagonist, Dominick Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), is a thief who makes his living stealing corporate secrets by invading a target’s dreams. Our dreams are meant to be safe, untouchable. They are constructed of our most private thoughts, unbidden even by our own conscious selves. To invade them is to invade the most sanctified halls of our minds. If we’re not safe in our…

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Digital illustration painting design style a dragon slayer fighting with boss of dragon in video game, against ruins city.

AI-written Scenario for Dungeons & Dragons Is Actually Quite Good

It is a computer revolution, not in type, but in scale

I still remember walking past the tabletop game store in the mall when I was a kid. I used to think, “that looks really interesting, but everyone would think I’m a nerd if I started playing it.” Admittedly, I am most definitely a nerd, and proud of it. But only recently have I begun diving into the world of tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons (otherwise known as D&D). The poster (left), from one of the many Dungeons & Dragons-themed films of recent decades, gives some sense of the genre. My first experience pillaging through a cave as I smashed anything and everything with my mighty hammer was way more enjoyable than I imagined. The experience was most definitely helped…

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The runway of a rural small airfield against a blue sky

Third Kind Is a Unique Kind of Sci-Fi Film

Director Yorgos Zois helps us to interpret others’ real-life experiences through the sci-fi genre

This week I’ve got another Sci-Fi Saturday short for you. Although not much is currently going on in the big world of sci-fi (though there is always something going on), there never seems to be a dull drum when it comes to short films. Although not a brand new release, Third Kind (2018, 32 min) by Yorgos Zois is interesting, unique, and thought-provoking in several ways. First, let’s talk about interesting. While I would gladly say that most short films I watch are interesting, the slow burn of Third Kind makes it more interesting than most. As three archeologists visit a long since abandoned earth (we’re not really told what time the archeologists are from), they search for a mysterious…

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robotic arm catch for electronic assembly line. The robot for smart technology manufacturing process.

What to make of Erica, the AI Superstar Robot?

I have a hard time conceiving of a way that this film could be successful without a little bit of cheating.

An AI super star? In case sci-fi fans haven’t heard, there is a new actress on the block. Her name is Erica and she is a… robot. According to the Hollywood Reporter Erica will star in a sci-fi film called b, “b follows a scientist who discovers dangers associated with a program he created to perfect human DNA and helps the artificially intelligent woman he designed (Erica) escape.” A part of me chuckles, thinking of the creepy uncanny valley Youtube videos of failed attempts at human-like robotics. However, robotics doesn’t seem to be the center of attention here. As Hollywood Reporter also reports, b is, “a $70 million science fiction film which producers say will be the first to rely…

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Gemstones collection jewelry set.

Two More Hidden Gems Among the Sci-Fi Shorts

I spotted both of these gems on Short of the Week and was instantly intrigued

Back in the old days, I used to endlessly browse YouTube for short films; hoping I would find a hidden gem. Don’t get me wrong, I have respect for any aspiring filmmaker but short films can be very difficult to pull off. It could certainly be said that each film deserves respect in one way or another. Every now and then, however, I would find something brilliant hidden in the corners of YouTube. Nowadays, though, Short of the Week has pretty much taken the burden of searching off my hands. First up, we have This Time Away (2019): Nigel is an elderly man living as a recluse, haunted by his past and memory of the family he once had, until…

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ufo flying over the desert

Close Encounters, Fifth Kind, Just Missed Contact

Worth a watch but Stephen Greer and I part company when he makes clear that he believes everything is conscious

In his documentary on UFOs, Stephen Greer certainly gets one thing right: Consciousness doesn’t fit into conventional science inquiry.

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Circuit board with CPU.  Motherboard system chip with glowing processor. Computer´s technology and internet concept.

Devs Both Grips and Challenges Hulu Viewers

I had fully expected Devs to be yet another series about sentient AI but it is something fresher

Alex Garland departs from conventional sci-fi themes to create a thought-provoking film, packed with action and based on a challenging underlying philosophy.

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sunset photograph during nighttime

Will Twilight Zone 2020 Soar or Sink?

Season 1 featured too much message, only some good stories, and ratings seem to have suffered

If Season 2 follows Season 1's pattern, we can definitely expect more politically and socially driven narratives— but will the stories sparkle?

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Curved video wall

My Five Top Picks in Short Sci-Fi from DUST at YouTube

I'm glad I decided to revisit DUST, a wonderful community of short, free sci-fi films

They’ll sure take your mind off lockdown. Both “Hum” and “Alientology” feature a simple storyline that works in a short film. “EI: Emotional Intelligence,” an animated short, compares well with live action shorts. “Exit Strategy” is one of the few really successful sci-fi films on the topic of time. And I would love to see “The Secret Number” made into a feature film. 

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Portrait of bored sleepless young man sitting on the couch watching TV at night

Sci-fi Culture: There’s Life Here on Planet Covid!

But you have to look hard. Here’s some help
With major releases postponed, we sci-fi fans tirelessly check our email and bookmarked sci-fi news sites for any good news. If you’re one of those, have no fear! I’ve compiled a short list of what’s been going on in the community over the past few weeks. Expect to see more updates like these as long as needed. Read More ›
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Amazon Prime’s Tales from the Loop: A Bold Attempt To Capture Stålenhag’s Work

… now if only it reached the right demographic

Deep underneath a small town in Ohio there exists the Loop, a facility created to explore the mysteries of the universe. No one really knows for sure what is going on at the Loop though we are given glimpses. Strange events occur on Earth’s surface as a result. Each episode explores one of those events.

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Landing strip spaceship interior 3D rendering elements of this image furnished by NASA

Epix’s New War of the Worlds Gets Personal

And it works! Wells’s alien invasion (state of emergency, lockdowns) feels familiar in the world of COVID-19

Although the new series is set in Europe, the dialogue is mostly in English. We follow the paths of several apocalypse survivors who seek refuge from the alien robots that are killing any remaining humans. I love the tension that the show conveys and the characters it seeks to develop.

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Senior couple having fun at home playing video game holding joysticks in hands.Quarantine.

Shelter in Place? Your Sci-Fi Video Game Binge List

You’ll never know where the long hours went, courtesy Sci-Fi Saturday at Mind Matters News

Has your ISP lifted bandwidth limits in your area due to thousands more Americans working from home? Great news for gamers too! Here’s my list of top-notch sci-fi apocalypse games.

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Covid-19, coronavirus that causes respiratory infections, Sars-CoV-2 virus background

How Sci-Fi Treats Pandemics

Seven sci-fi apocalypses to help you wait out COVID-19

One thing for sure, all those doomsday preppers, at whom we silently rolled our eyes years ago, are now crackin’ a secret smile. Never mind, us sci-fi buffs are going to need more than fizzy water and disinfectant. We need food for the mind! Here's a sci-fi binge list, to keep our minds occupied.

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Still Image from short film Dirty Machines

Dirty Machines: Short Time Travel Flick Exceeds Expectations

A Mind Matters Short Film Review

A tense soundtrack, intriguing ending, and thoughtful stylistic choices make Dirty Machines: The End of History a thoughtful exploration of a logically tricky subject. Now, if the director can just resist the temptation to get woke…

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Science fiction city dystopia panorama / 3D illustration of futuristic post apocalyptic sci-fi city ruins under bright sky

Tales of the Loop: Pushing the Boundaries of the Possible

Simon Stålenhag’s captivating post-apocalyptic landscapes remind us that the world could, at any time, be different from what we think it is

Science fiction, as an art, has always meant to inspire. It’s meant to push the boundaries of the possible. And Stålenhag’s world isn’t just different, it’s unique.

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Businessman seeing himself in mirror as superhero

Does Science Fiction Encourage Narcissism?

As a sci-fi critic, I think most fans are just looking for a genre where they can understand and be understood

It’s true that many people who are attracted to science fiction feel like outcasts or disconnected from mainstream popular culture. And many of them feel welcome, loved, accepted, and validated in the sci-fi community. Does that really make them narcissists?

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3D Illustration with exotic deep space formations

Star Trek: Picard—On Second Thought, Some Serious Quibbles

A Mind Matters review: Now that I’m four episodes in, I’ve gotta say, the “haters” might be onto something. Not everything but something

Why does Picard seem to be obsessed with Commander Data? And what happened to The Federation? Star Trek fans are quick to point out that Star Trek: Picard takes an unnecessary malevolent tone towards The Federation. Why do the Romulans look different? I’m still watching but I’d like some answers.

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The Expanse, Season 4: The Best So Far?

A Mind Matters Perspective: Unlike critic Zac Giaimo, I preferred Season 3 but it really depends on what you are looking for

Season 4 is, as critic Zac Giaimo notes, integral to character building and plot development for the overall series. I gave it 9/10 in an earlier review. However, I don’t know if I completely agree with Giaimo’s Amazonian optimism. Season 3 set up urgent questions that should be answered by the end of the show, preferably beginning in Season 5.

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Planet surface

Picard (2020): Episode 1 Is an AI-Themed Mystery

The mystery is related to another familiar Star Trek character

Seeing the Star Trek universe from a different perspective—that is, not from the interior of a starship—was super refreshing and rewarding. It gives viewers a unique look at what day-to-day life is like for other people (much as The Mandalorian did for the Star Wars universe).

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