Tag Archives: I Robot

Counterpoint: What About Dune?

So in yesterday’s post I talk a lot about the inevitability of technology in the near future… say in the Geek Baby’s lifetime. Indeed, we seem to be getting closer and closer to that point of Singularity… and the potential for a Terminator or I, Robot sort of future. I’ve written a bit about this in terms of how it always seems to be an accident when this happens in fiction…

And really, we’ve talked a lot about the dystopian possibilities of the future, in our Science Fiction Today posts. Doom and gloom honestly seem very likely. Should we plan for the future – raise the Geek Baby – with that in mind?

All The Dune!And it all comes back to Dune. Rather than writing the story about the war with the machines, Frank Herbert wrote the story of the future long after that time. When humanity has learned to do without nearly so much technology – and have done so by enhancing humanity, through rigorous training, enhanced drugs, whatever means – just to not use computers and machines instead.

If we were to raise the Geek Baby without reliance on technology, this seems like the reason and the way to do so. Raise her as a mentat almost, a human computer. All full of logic and deduction and data. Maybe start with SherlockBattlestar Galactica and the fear of networked computers?

We most likely won’t, but it does beg the question… should we?…

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Science Fiction Today – Accidental A.I.?

We wrote a lot of Science Fiction Today posts for this year’s April A to Z Challenge, and one thing I noticed over and over as we talked about science fiction examples was that in pretty much all of them Artificial Intelligence comes about as an accident.

I feel like it has happened so much now in stories that it’s become almost an assumed trope. Like the stories always end up in that Skynet situation where the AI was created and we weren’t ready for it, and it hates us, and it takes over.

Is that really how it’s going to go? I don’t know. Because no one really knows how the singularity will truly and finally come to be, I guess the best we can do is the accident, like many of the great inventions and scientific discoveries of the past. But I’ll look at a couple of thoughts as to what’s happening today that make me wonder how it really is going to go down.

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Cloud Connected Vehicles

Every year we see new technology growing in leaps and bounds. One of the areas that has not moved as quickly – but is still progressing – are vehicles, in particular cars. In today’s world you almost need to be a computer programmer or engineer to work on a car anymore. No longer is it simply about an engine, but now a computer runs the entire system. Not only does it run the entertainment, air, and windshields it also helps you park and warns you when you almost hit another car.

Weren't we supposed to have this flying car by now? Found on http://io9.com/5989200/20-lies-back-to-the-future-ii-told-us-besides-the-hoverboard

Weren’t we supposed to have this flying car by now? Found on http://io9.com/5989200/20-lies-back-to-the-future-ii-told-us-besides-the-hoverboard

While not fully functional we are not far off from being able to have driverless cars as a viable option. Now on one hand this seems like a a great idea, on the other you could easily raise issues with a computer being able to control all the features on a vehicle. Particularly the question is: how do you protect the vehicle programming that makes it run correctly?

Recently an article in Wired magazine shows that these questions are actually issues that currently exist. The problem seems to be the fact that the cars are not closed systems, but connect wirelessly, presumably to the manufacturer somewhere. This means that someone can access the vehicle remotely and mess with a large number of functions that could cause serious problems. Continue reading

Science Fiction Today – Driving

DThe rate at which technology changes can be astounding. These changes can be seen in all sorts of places and one of those place is in our cars and how we drive. Already we have cars that are more computer than anything else, meaning that just the way that cars get worked on has changed. The fact that they are more computer has changed the way we drive in certain situations. Already we have cars that can park themselves, that stop if they sense an impending collision, that show an enhanced rearview, and so much more.

There are a lot of advancements on the horizon with how we drive; will it be that driving will be a thing of the past or will there be other advancements beyond the pedals and steering wheel?

Driverless Cars

One of the directions that we see cars going is to actually be able to drive themselves. This would mean that we have cars on the road with no drivers. They have been doing tests with cars that can drive themselves due to being able to sense their surroundings, but the other way this could also work is creating roads that have paths that the car follows.

Is our future, at least for driving, going to be like I, Robot? Image found on http://fourtitude.com/emAlbum/albums/Marques%20%28Audi%20Brand%20Group%29/Audi%20%28Modern%20Era%29/Concept%20Cars,%20Design%20Studies,%20Prototypes/RSQ/I,%20Robot%20%28Movie%20Stills%29/

We have seen both of these type of cars in Minority Report and I, Robot. The cars were able to drive themselves and they did not need a driver to function. The possibilities of what this could provide is really incredible because it could mean less accidents and there would not be a worry of drunk drivers because they would not be driving. The logistics of what a driverless society means are huge, but then the problem is what happens if something does go wrong?

Advanced Vehicle Interaction

Another direction that vehicles could go is changing the way we interact with the vehicle. Over time we have gone from manual to automatic shifting and even have keyless cars. These changes alter the way we interact with the vehicle as a driver. How much further will these advancements take us? Will we be able to program a vehicle to detect specific drivers and only operate with them? And will we change how we interact with vehicles in general?

There are adjustments that they can make to cars to be drivable in alternative ways, now what if alternatives are created that allow everyone to drive differently? Imagine driving without a steering wheel, where you accelerate by thinking about it or pressing buttons, and then the controls for air, music, etc. are all done just by thinking about it. The world of science fiction shows so many different options of how we can operate with machines and those possibilities could easily connect a driver to a car.

Driving is something that is so basic and everyday, but as technology changes so does how we think about those simple things.

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

Rewatching I, Robot

I had been thinking about I, Robot recently, so I took some time over the weekend to watch this movie again. It’s one of my favorites, and one that I made sure we grabbed on Blu-Ray once we had a player. I love Will Smith, robots, science fiction, and pretty much everything about this! But still it’s been a while.

I am someone who saw this one before reading the book, but I did try the book after (you know us…). I’ve read and enjoyed several other books by Isaac Asimov (like The End of Eternity), but for some reason I had trouble getting into the book. More than anything, it might be the fact that the book is so different from the movie! I remember a lot of people who had read the book first had problems with the movie for this same reason.

Nonetheless, going back and watching the movie made me notice there are some really good parts to the movie. It has a lot of really great qualities that I feel we are looking for in movies these days, and that studios are looking for too – big budget, star power, based on an existing IP, but with a lot of originality and solid science fiction. And some good representation as well. Overall, this movie has held up quite well since 2004!

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