Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

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social media concept

What If Social Media Thinks for You? — Sci-fi Saturday

We get a good chance to find out in a short sci-fi about a couple on a date

“Vessel” at DUST by Ethan Godel (November 29, 2021, 8:14 min) Thomas and Lucy are on a date. It’s going well. Really well. The chemistry is palpable – there is never a dull moment, never a lull in conversation. These two seem perfect for each other. Thomas waxes poetic on T.S. Elliot’s prose, Lucy recites her favourite stanzas… They are the envy of every couple in the restaurant. But if these jealous couples just looked a little closer, beyond the big words and fancy clothes, they would find something very peculiar. Unbeknownst to each other and other restaurant patrons, Thomas and Lucy each sport a discreet earpiece. And, through their respective earpieces, these “passionate” and “soulful” “lovers’’ are being told…

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Time travel machine. Surreal steampunk technology

Are We Tethered To Our Time Despite Time Travel?— Sci-fi Saturday

A very short film about a girl on a mission to save her mother raises a profound philosophical question

“Tethers” (2021) at DUST by Matthew Steele Finley (uploaded at DUST November 24, 2021, 5:22 min) A woman travels in time to save another woman’s life but the risk could be far reaching for her own reality. Review: “Don’t kill your mother or anything,” the time travel technician (Larry Herring) warns Anna (Abigail Williams), as she prepares to travel back to prevent a tragedy set maybe thirty years ago in an upper middle class home. Not too many spoilers but Anna must attempt to persuade her future mother Rachel (Alicia Kelley) not to marry her father — a man whom she knows (the way the future knows the past) is not good for her mother. Sshe shows her mom the…

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Modern cyber woman with matrix eye

The Matrix Revolutions (2003) Spins Out of Control

In Part I of this review of the third film in The Matrix trilogy — anticipating The Matrix: Resurrections (December 22) — we bring you up to date on the story

Recently, I’ve been reviewing — and reminiscing, if you like — The Matrix (1999) and The Matrix Reloaded (2003). After all, The Matrix: Resurrections opens December 22. Although I find the plots disjointed so far, I can at least provide you with a cheat sheet for what happened earlier. Now let’s see what happens in the third film in the turn-of-the-millennium trilogy, The Matrix Revolutions (2003). Alas, the confusion continues. The movie opens with our lead characters discovering that Neo is not in a coma after all but has been taken to a zone between the Matrix and the real world; think digital purgatory. How does this happen? We don’t know. How can Neo be taken anywhere when he’s not…

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A free-living dung beetle sits in the forest

When Your Oppressors Are Giant Beetles — Sci-fi Saturday

“Résistance” (2016, animated) by Alex Chauvet et al. (uploaded at DUST November 19, 2021, 6:36 min) Dominated by an Insect’s totalitarian regime, the staff of a restaurant organizes a plot to knock down the established order. Review: Picture a very upper crust French restaurant staffed by humans, whose patrons are giant beetles with temperaments to match. The beetles are very well executed. The sight of the beetles guzzling mini glasses of champagne is not one to miss, so it’s not surprising the film clocked over 150k viewers in fewer than ten days. But yes, the humans are unhappy with all the grossness. They are plotting in the kitchen. And it doesn’t help that one of the drunken beetles starts pawing…

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military robot and skulls of people. Dramatic apocalypse super realistic concept. Rise of the Machines. Dark future. 3d rendering.

The Matrix Reloaded (2003) Just Did Not Load Properly

Although the second part of the Matrix trilogy offers interesting ideas and exciting action, the confusing plot obscures the concepts it should explore

What a mess of a story is The Matrix Reloaded (2003) — the second part of the Matrix (1999) trilogy, in which the world we know turns out to be a simulation created by AI intelligences. We met some of the characters in the first part, The Matrix (1999), reviewed here. But then what happened? First, we’re introduced to the new technician, Link, but no one explains where his predecessor Tank went. Then Zion (“the last human city, the only place we have left”) is introduced and there we find ourselves at the infamous Party Scene: To look at this techno-hedonistic rave, one might think we’ve entered volcano-challenged Pompeii of long ago. But this party is more reminiscent of the…

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Red Pill Blue Pill concept. The right choice the concept of the movie matrix. The choice of tablets

Will The Matrix Resurrections (Drops December 22) Break the Mold?

The culturally influential trilogy (control by evil aliens) enjoys a fascinating beginning — but a thud! ending

The Matrix trilogy is famous for starting strong, then falling apart by the end. Will this happen again? We’ll see. After eleven years, the Matrix Resurrections comes out December 22, 2021. Now is the perfect time to look back at the original trilogy, starting with the first film, The Matrix (1999). The Matrix series begins by following a computer hacker named Neo, who is led by a beautiful stranger into a forbidding underworld. There, “he discovers the shocking truth — the life he knows is the elaborate deception of an evil cyber-intelligence.” He had been searching for the mysterious Morpheus who defends a human civilization from attack by machines. Neo is horrified to discover from him that not only is…

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When Oxygen Becomes the Most Precious Commodity — Sci-fi Saturday

This sci-fi riff on what where atmospheric pollution could lead us offers beautiful renderings of abandoned advanced civilizations, housed in caves

“Life support” at DUST by Saleh Jamsheer (at DUST November 12, 2021, 6:02 min, animated) A seeker finds himself distressed by his dependencies and is constantly searching for a way to survive without his life support. Review: The story is set in an age of atmosphere meltdown. Space-suited humans live in caves and, when things go wrong with their air supply, they are rescued by aerial drones. Favorite line from rescue drone: “Would it be a bad time to say I told you so?” (Shaykha Sayyar as N.O.V.A. and Voice of Authority) Um, yes, N.O.V.A. Now please ask us a challenging question. The central character, 178 (Saleh Jamsheer), finds himself in the ruins of a civilization started by drone hybrids…

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Time travel machine. Surreal steampunk technology

Can a Man Go Back and Fix His Past? — Sci-Fi Saturday

It turns out that the old man calling from 2120 doesn’t just want to give his younger self advice; he wants to change the past to prevent tragedy

“Hey, it’s me” (2020) at DUST by Mark Sposato & Courtney Sposato (October 11, 2021), 11:11 min. A selfish man tries to alter his destiny when he receives an ominous phone call from his future self. Review: Year 2120 and a sick and unhappy old man (Cedric Cannon) wants to go back and talk to his past self (RJ Brown). The past self, in 2030, is young and swinging and already has the neon telephone that can do that — as he shows his “date.” And then the phone rings and it’s his old man. That is, himself as a sick old man (120 years old)… And he has only seven minutes with him. No more spoilers. The story revolves…

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Man and woman playing game using virtual reality headset and gamepads in the dark room of the playing club

In a Futurist Game, Inmost Thoughts Are Real — Sci-fi Saturday

When a family plays the game, long-simmering hostilities surface as acts

“My House” (2020) at DUST by Alexander Edep (Oct 25, 2021, 9:53 min) A family game night turns ugly when a protective mother, desperate to keep her turn in the game a secret, is forced to commit a heinous act that holds a troubling, family-shattering secret. Review: Don’t watch this one to relax. It features a futurist game played by members of a family (a couple with a teenage boy and girl). In it, just about any family circumstance can be simulated — and is. The telling touch is that the event that is simulated is just what one could see happening, apart from law, religion, civilization, and, inevitably — what the neighbors would think? The game feels like unconscious…

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Business concept with a scared tiny man trapped inside a glass jar held by his gigantic boss hand. Surreal nightmare, helpless captive employee victim of abuse at work. Workplace bullying and conflict

Artificial General Intelligence: The Modern Homunculus

A homunculus is a little person created in a test tube. There was a time when some of the most prominent scientists in the world believed they could create miniature life in the lab. But while the search for homunculus has long since ended, there are some who believe they can find a similar kind of life through artificial general…

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Arizona Desert Ladscape

The Wild West Seen From Another Cosmos — Sci-Fi Saturday

Jane Montana must rescue a hostage from three villains. But is Montana what she seems?

“Cosmo” at DUST by Thomas Thomas (October 29, 2021, 6:58) Jane Montana, a rough and tough law-woman, is in a pickle. A gang of outlaws led by a man named Buford has kidnapped a helpless damsel. Worse, Jane has two bullets and three bad guys to confront. Review: A Wild West scenario is not usually mixed with sci fi but this short gets the Wild West atmosphere right. Montana (La Trice Harper) and the hostage Gwen (Kaylin Zeren) look very Western and the bad guys — Buford (Jeremy John Wells), Slick (Andrew Stroud), and Bart (Tony Nunes) — are straight out of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly tradition. At least one commenter felt that “Cosmo” wasn’t really sci…

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sci-fi scene of the creature machine invading city, digital art style, illustration painting

Worst Case: AI Robots Invade to “Help” Us — Sci-fi Saturday

A well-meaning AI attempts to “rescue” an impressionable child from the coming wipeout of humanity

“Cera” (2021 ) at DUST by John Robinson Irwin (October 20, 2021, 7:33 min) An 11-year old girl’s loyalty to her parents is tested after an attack by her caregiver hints to a greater violent upheaval beyond their rural surroundings. Review: The story opens with Hailey (Cali DiCapo)and her father John (Jason Isaacs) finding her mother Maria (Maria-Elena Laas) stabbed, though not dead. Minimal dialogue does a good job at filling us in on an, at first, nameless horror without breaking the suspense. Thus, we sense that “Cera” is an intelligent caregiver but not a human being and that the child’s devotion to her could be fatal or… It gets creepier from there. Minimal spoilers but it’s not clear, in…

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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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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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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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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…