Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryArts & Culture

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robot ai artificial intelligence is learning creativity

AI Tries Creativity! … by Kidnapping Newborns — Sci-fi Saturday

But the AIs seeking world dominance kidnap the wrong child

“The Shift” (2021) at DUST by Johan Samuelsson (July 8, 2021, 7:10 min) Many years ago tech giants lost control of AI robotic technology. By kidnapping and monitoring newborns, the Ai robots are now trying to master the one thing they have yet to understand – Creativity. The Shift is about creativity, and the things that separate humans from robots. The idea for “The Shift” grew from the development of new Artificial Intelligence (AI) focused technology that simplify, and replace humans tasks and jobs. As a motion designer I experience this constantly in updated softwares, and countless of plug-ins that simplify daily tasks. For example some crafts that took several hours to complete by hand a couple of years ago,…

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double moon above Crater Landscape on alien Planet.

Would ET Intelligences Understand the 1974 Arecibo Message?

Probably not, says astrobiologist Dirke Schulz-Makuch, who raises the question of whether we could ever really communicate with extraterrestrial intelligences

In early, easily-mocked sci fi, a little green man points his raygun at an unsuspecting passerby and barks “Take me to your leader.” Fast forward: If the little green man didn’t have the technology to figure out who the leader was before landing, he certainly wouldn’t have the technology to get here. In any real-world scenario, we must assume that extraterrestrial intelligences are doing common sense logical things that we would do: Check Earth’s inhabitants out first by monitoring our communications. Some analysts have pointed out that there are places they could even hide technology in our solar system (Lagrange points, for example) with much less chance of being noticed. But then the question is, what to say to them?…

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Time flies

A Man in Dire Need Contacts His Unborn Grandson — Sci-Fi Saturday

The grandson “gets the mail” and sends back something from the future, via a mysterious mailbox, that gives the felons a considerable surprise

“Mailbox” at DUST by Louis Yin (October 15, 2021, 17:00 min) An American Chinese immigrant makes contact with his grandson in the future via a mailbox. Together they have to deal with their mutual enemies. Review: Based on Yanan Wang’s short story, “The Post man,” the story begins in New York City in 1946, where Chinese immigrants are oppressed by a criminal landlord. The gritty, authentically period tale begins to revolve around an old mailbox that turns out not to be time bound. Not a spoiler: Bo (William Yuekun Wu) can mail things to the future. His grandson (whose life appears to have only somewhat improved by being two generations on… ) can, however, help by mailing back stuff from…

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Empty cinema hall with red seats. Movie theatre

Ari Emanuel, COSM 2021: Movie Nite’s Changed; It’s Not Just COVID

How are both streaming services and the global pandemic changing the way we watch movies?

The movie-going experience was already changing before the COVID-19 shutdowns of 2020, due to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. But the global pandemic may be changing how we watch movies forever. “The pandemic has changed everything, and that will be reflected on screen,” writes HuffPost. Headlines have roundly been indicating the same. From Quartz: “Coronavirus is pushing an already vulnerable film industry closer to the edge.” From FEE: “To Survive COVID-19, Movie Theaters Will Have to Change.” What will that change look like? Hollywood maven Ari Emanuel will be at COSM 2021 this November to explore that question. Emanuel is a businessman and super-agent (having represented names like Oprah Winfrey, Martin Scorsese, and even Donald Trump). He is the CEO…

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Sand dunes in Death Valley

What if the Rescue is the Worst Part? — Sci-Fi Saturday

Crashed spaceship crew members find themselves on a desert planet with some very strange features

“Beachworld” at DUST by Jackie Perez (September 20, 2021, 14:00 min) Beachworld is an adaptation of a Stephen King’s short story as part of his Dollar Baby program. Lieutenant Shapiro’s ship is destroyed in a crash on a deserted desert planet covered in sand dunes. As she begins to understand the severity of her situation, she sets out to discover other survivors and formulate a rescue plan. Her crewmate Rand is alive, but spellbound by his new surroundings. It’s up to her alone to figure out how to get back home. She finds their ship’s emergency beacon, and an unsavory salvage crew answers their distress call. Ultimately, their rescue comes too late as Shapiro has succumbed to the planet’s hypnotizing…

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Promotional still from Extent via IMDB

An Inventor Discovers the Curse of Immortality – Sci-Fi Saturday

What happens when he makes others immortal in this world but not himself?

“Extent” at DUST by Paul Draper (August 9, 2021, 12:43 min) Time stands still as two old friends attempt to grapple with a question that defines their very existence. If you could live forever, would you? Review: The film uses chess as a metaphor that deepens as the story progresses. Edward (Marcus Henderson), a famous inventor, became involved with a woman who sounds unpleasant from the get-go (Ann, played by Kaitlyn Raymond). I t all ends badly, of course: “I love how diabolical you are.” – Edward. Checkmate. Edward seeks comfort afterward from alcohol and secondly from his friend Alexander (Chukwudi Iwuji) and the two get to talking about life, death, and all that. Then we discover an astonishing fact…

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Sheep Cloning. Two identical sheep standing in a field. Photoshopped Dolly the Sheep.

What If Cloning Were As Easy As Shopping? – Sci-fi Saturday

A couple stumbles on a means of cloning life forms and they get, shall we say, far more than they bargained for…

“Burnt Grass” (2014) at DUST by Ray Wong (October 1, 2021, 9:57 min) A couple’s relationship takes an unexpected turn when a strange phenomenon in their backyard allows cloning to take place. Review: Dolly the Sheep was cloned in 1996 and that really put cloning on the map for most people. So, nearly twenty years later (2014), how did we understand it?: Not well, it would seem. In actual cloning, according to the Roslin Centre that cloned the sheep, “Dolly was cloned from a cell taken from the mammary gland of a six-year-old Finn Dorset sheep and an egg cell taken from a Scottish Blackface sheep. She was born to her Scottish Blackface surrogate mother on 5th July 1996. Dolly’s…

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Alien creature has a message for humans. Grey kind humanoid from an other planet portrait series.

Breakthrough Team Proposes Caution in Messaging Extraterrestrials

Carl Sagan had warned about making oblivious assumptions about exactly what’s out there

At Universe Today, science writer Matt Williams tosses another hypothesis into the ring as to why we don’t see ET: Maybe, universally, everyone is listening but no one is broadcasting. Or few are, anyway. Now why might that be? He outlines a distinction between two different approaches to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (ET): SETI and METI Most efforts to date have been SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) where we are looking for them. That encompasses projects like Cornell Astronomer Frank Drake’s pioneer Project Ozma (1960) and the current Allen Telescope Array. More projects now, Williams says, are METI (Messaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence). We could include in that group the three-word Soviet Morse Message (“peace,” “Lenin,” and “SSSR,” radioed into space…

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Legumes bean seed in sack, top view

If We All Depended On a Few Handfuls of Seeds… – Sci-fi Saturday

Actually, we do. An inventive Norwegian filmmaker has made a short sci-fi film out of a possible outcome

“Voyager” (2017) by Kjersti Helen Rasmussen (uploaded at DUST October 4, 2021, 7:39 min) A shooting star falls down over the Arctic island of Svalbard and The Global Seed Vault gets an unexpected visitor. Review: Kjersti Helen Rasmussen’s film (she’s the writer as well as the director) has received over 100,000 reviews at DUST since October 4. That’s no wonder because there really is a Global Seed Vault in the Norwegian arctic at 78 degrees N, offering “safe, free and long-term storage of seed duplicates from all genebanks and nations participating in the global community’s joint effort to ensure the world’s future food supply.” As a Mobster might say, it would be a shame if anything happened to it. The…

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Illustration of two different aliens talking inside a spaceship with a dark planet sun and moon in outer space in the background.

Where Could Aliens Be Hiding Technology in Our Solar System?

Possibilities include the Oort Cloud and Lagrange points, where NASA can park spacecraft to reduce fuel consumption

Debrief looked recently at five places for hiding “technosignatures.” Technosignatures are evidence of the activity of intelligent agents, as opposed to events or materials that the laws of nature alone can explain. They might include “radio signals, city lights, atmospheric changes like CO2, and free-floating spacecraft.” Or, reaching back into the past, they might be engravings on bone from 51,000 years ago or a child’s burial from 80,000 years ago. Technosignatures are events and entities that nature did not simply generate without some form of thought as a necessary ingredient. If we assume that extraterrestrials want to surveil without being noticed, here’s one of the five venues they might pick — a Lagrange point: Lagrange points are stable places in…

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One burning tea candle stands apart from a group of non-burning gray dark candles: concept of separation, estrangement, loneliness.

If Your Life Could Be Told in Five Photos — Sci-fi Saturday

A young woman accepts five key photos concerning a grandfather she never knew, taken at his death via a futurist technology

“Afterimages” (2020) by Cole Bacani (uploaded at DUST Sep 3, 2021, 11:58 min) In a world where your five most impactful memories print as Polaroids upon death, Sam learns about her estranged grandfather and reconciles her relationship with her mom. Review: “Upon death five photographs are orally printed; the five most memorable moments in the life of the departed.” The old man’s daughter and adult granddaughter sit, near tears, in the waiting room of an intensive care unit while the life support machine beeps in the background. The daughter wants to see the photos imprinted from a stick in granddad’s mouth while he is dying but the mother doesn’t want her to. In any event (this isn’t a spoiler; you…

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sad robot

The Robot Waits for the Humans’ Return — Sci-fi Saturday

“Robert” is a household robot who has little to do but prowl the house while the humans are away

“Robert ” (2019) by Jonathan Irwin (uploaded at DUST September 27, 2021, 3:25 min) A glimpse into the future of our technological friends: The ROB 9000, waits for his family. Focusing on the robot’s self-awareness, loneliness and dog-like love of his owners, the film evokes sympathy for this humble hunk of metal. Review: This is more of a musical meditation with animations than a story. The only significant character in the film is Robert, a robot the size of a robotic vacuum cleaner but with an upright shape. Because there are no human characters (except, toward the end), viewers can accept that Robert is something of a dog who misses his folks. And all the worse for him, unlike a…

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Cancel Culture Symbol

Database! One Stop Shop for Tracking Attacks by Cancel Culture

Looking at a number of entries at once helps us grasp the extent of the takeover of our culture, especially at universities, by grievance mobs

One used to hear many people say “Cancel Culture is so ridiculous, it will go away soon.” Well, that’s not happening. Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, who usually writes about other matters, discusses two representative incidents: The removal of a book review at Science-Based Medicine written by one of its own editors because it was deemed too friendly to Abigail Shrier’s book, Irreversible Damage (2021), on the 4,400% rise from from 2008 to 2018 of teenage females seeking to transition to males — and the curious absence of rigorous studies that might account for the astounding increase. Coyne notes I read Shrier’s book and thought it was fair, empathic, and certainly not transphobic. But because Shrier was unfairly accused of transphobia…

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mini robot work

Love Among the Ruins, for Robots — Sci-fi Saturday

A beautifully rendered animated short of robots looking for some place to just exist in a deserted, ruined industrial landscape

“Left Behind” at DUST by Minna Ericksson and Kateriina Kontturi at Xero Shorts (May 1, 2021, 7:14 min, animated) A lone robot walks the desolate landscape in search of a new life. It finds one in a unexpected place. Review: In a ruined, dystopian industrial landscape, a large robot (presumably laid off from a shut down enterprise) searches for a new place to be. The robot finds a cute baby robot that, duckling fashion, immediately bonds and begins to follow it around. The giant robot is none too pleased and tries, at first, to shed its unwanted companion. Then the baby robot begins to dance and… no more spoilers. This animation is not a laff riot; the climax reaches for…

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Layers of Deceit Plague a High-Tech Call Center – Sci-Fi Saturday

Locked in, Jess must try to save a competitor’s life when she can only contact artificial intelligence choices that are not programmed to provide the needed assistance

“Lifeline” (2018) at DUST by Harry Jackson (At DUST September 6, 2021, 7:57 min) Jess, and her trial for a job at a high-tech call centre. When her competitor suddenly collapses, her only means to save him is a state of the art computer system. The problem is, the art is in a terrible state. Review: Jess (Gwyneth Keyworth) and Keith (Nathan Bryon) are competing for a job at the futuristic (and dominant) call center Ulternative Solutions. The iconic “room” where the company started — and they are locked into while trying out — is dusty. And Keith, it turns out, has asthma… Julia Deakin, as the witchlike supervisor, apprises the competitors of the company’s “ruthless sales ethic” “cherry picking…

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A moody science fiction concept, of a figure standing in a field with UFO lights glowing in the sky. On a foggy spooky night. With a vintage, grunge edit

The UFOs Carl Sagan Was Convinced Of But Couldn’t Talk About

Sagan had already been denied tenure at Harvard, a sci-fi screenwriter reflects, and he couldn't afford to take more chances

Sci-fi screenwriter Bryce Zabel recalls a memorable dispute with cosmologist Carl Sagan (1934–1996) in a parking lot forty years ago: The Voyager II unmanned spacecraft had been launched in August of 1977. Now, four years later, it was due to make its closest approach to Saturn on August 25, 1981. It was even going to send back photos in almost real time. I got an idea. Bryce Zabel, “Cosmic Collision: My UFO Debate with Carl Sagan” at Medium (August 24, 2021) His idea was to interview Sagan (remember the insignificant Pale Blue Dot that Earth is supposed to be?). I got to host Saturn and Beyond, and it was going to be Carl Sagan and me “live,” without commercial interruption,…

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android robot thinking in office

One Day the Door to the Robot’s Shop Opens – Sci-fi Saturday

Roy, the robot, is suddenly confronted by another robot, determined to kill or die

“Roy” at DUST (July 23, 2021, 7:44 min) Roy is a sci-fi drama short film about a robot mechanic holed away in a rundown barn, living in a world of rustic antiques melded with futuristic sensibilities. He is a man forgotten by society and spends his days tinkering at projects. That is until someone opens the door into his shop. Roy is a story about compassion in the face of those affected by violence and despair. It explores the themes of how we relate to strangers and friends around us who have become bitter and jaded by the world. Roy poses this question: how do we face those transformed by violence and angry at the world? Review: This film won…

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business and investment strategy analytics, financial simulation model

When a Simulated World Begins To Fall Apart — Sci-fi Saturday

Marie has reason to expect trouble when the simulator who explains reality to her cannot get her name right…

“Untitled Earth Sim 64” at DUST by Jonathan Wilhelmsson (September 10, 2021, 6:11) Marie is an offbeat woman who suspects that all is not right with the world. After experiencing various glitches in reality, she is called upon by a mysterious being that accidentally lets slip that her universe is a simulation. Marie’s life quickly unravels at this revelation, as she desperately looks for meaning in an untitled simulation. Review: This sci-fi comedy has won a number of awards and it is easy to see why. It is fast-paced and raises many interesting issues. When Marie (Karen Olrich-White) attempts to explain to her friend (Alexandra Frick) that she has learned from a mysterious voice (James Fraser) — amid a series…

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Robot hand pressing computer keyboard enter

English Prof: You’ll Get Used To Machine Writing — and Like It!

Yohei Igarashi argues that seamless machine writing is an outcome of the fact that most of what humans actually write is highly predictable

English professor Yohei Igarashi, author of The Connected Condition: Romanticism and the Dream of Communication (2019), contends that writing can mostly be automated because most of it is predictable: Instances of automated journalism (sports news and financial reports, for example) are on the rise, while explanations of the benefits from insurance companies and marketing copy likewise rely on machine-writing technology. We can imagine a near future where machines play an even larger part in highly conventional kinds of writing, but also a more creative role in imaginative genres (novels, poems, plays), even computer code itself. Yohei Igarashi, “The cliché writes back” at Aeon (September 9, 2021) Currently, humans’ ability to guess whether it is machine writing, he says, is only…

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Motion Blur Stretcher Gurney Patient Hospital Emergency

When the AI Call Center Can’t Handle Crises —Sci-Fi Saturday

It’s not clear whether this is a bug or a feature but it is certainly something that could happen.

“Lifeline” at DUST by Harry Jackson (September 6, 2021, 7:57 min) Jess, and her trial for a job at a high-tech call centre. When her competitor suddenly collapses, her only means to save him is a state of the art computer system. The problem is, the art is in a terrible state. Review: It’s a very good story. It illustrates the huge problem that any electronics-run system faces: Problems that only human intelligence can resolve. Gwyneth Keyworth, as Jess, sees that her co-worker Nathan Bryon is apparently collapsing at his desk. But she cannot call an ambulance because the high-tech call center does not allow that option. It’s not entirely clear why Jess does not use a private cell number…