Tag Archives: Minority Report

Science Fiction Today – Privacy

This was a topic we almost covered during our A to Z Challenge posts on Science Fiction Today. However, it’s a big topic and probably not best in that shorter format. Also, we hit on Surveillance, so we somewhat hit on the topic. But government surveillance is only part of the topic.

My take on Privacy is that it is only somewhat a right – it is also something you have to fight for. We can have expectations of Privacy, but things like government surveillance remind us that we don’t always know when or where we’re being watched. But it can be simpler and lower-tech than that – when I am home I might have an expectation of Privacy, but if my blinds are wide open then someone may well be watching!

That’s what I mean as to fighting for Privacy – perhaps working on Privacy is a better term. Constant vigilance! Or maybe the blog is the best example. We have a right to free speech – we can write what we want here, and we’re not worried about getting dragged off to jail. However, we have been careful regarding our Privacy – like names, picture of us, things like that. Or of the Geek Baby. I know a number of bloggers who use a pen name, and plenty who splash their picture and such all over. It’s a personal decision, about how much Privacy we’re looking for. We’re not all looking for the exact same level! No matter what Facebook thinks…

I’m a librarian. I know Privacy is tough. I was working in a library when the Patriot Act was passed – when the FBI got the right to come in and request library records. When libraries around the US got paper shredders to destroy paper records. Got programs to erase browser history and downloaded files and such between computer users. It’s a fight. So let’s look at a couple of possible futures when it comes to Privacy.

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Minority Report: Pilot Episode Review

Note: Minority Report aired in the UK before the US, so here is Melissa’s review of the pilot – which airs tonight in the US!

Minority Report

Minority Report is one of my favourite movies, so when I learned there was to be a television programme I was understandably intrigued. If you haven’t had the pleasure, the movie is set in the future. Basically, thanks to three siblings (Agatha, Arthur and Dash) – precognitives who can predict the future, a special police unit known as Precrime is able to arrest murderers before they commit the crime.

The pilot episode, set ten years after the end of Precrime, focuses on Dash, one of the three precogs. Dash is alone in the city, and tormented by his premonitions of murder. Without his siblings, these visions are unclear. He only gets bits and pieces of the crime (mainly faces), which he draws compulsively in a notebook.

Stark Sands as Dash.

Stark Sands as Dash.

Understandably, Dash becomes obsessed with preventing the murders and, until he meets Det. Lara Vega, all his attempts at intervention fail. Miserably.

I enjoyed Stark Sands’ portrayal of Dash; a man tortured by his abilities, and his past. Since he’s spent most of his life in isolation, his social skills are underdeveloped and this makes for some awkward, and often amusing interactions. It was refreshing to get to know one of the brothers, especially as the movie focused on Agatha.

Meagan Good as Det. Lara Vega.

Meagan Good as Det. Lara Vega.

It’s an interesting twist too, the fact that his abilities are more of a hindrance than a blessing. As his visions are incomplete, he has no choice but to fumble through and try to fit the pieces together. This makes for a great dynamic between Dash and Vega. She’s an experienced detective with technology on her side, and together they can solve the crime before it even happens. In theory.

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2015 Fall TV Show Premieres

The 2015 Fall TV premieres are almost upon us, which means that David and my shows are starting up again. It also means that new shows are premiering. The problem is always finding a balance between the shows that we are already watching and the shows that we are interested in trying out. Now we have started watching shows on Netflix that come out all at once so those end up with a slightly different watching timeline because we are not as worried about when they air. Now here are some of the shows that we are looking forward to returning and the shows that we are interested in trying out. Continue reading

Science Fiction Today – Justice System

JThe justice system is a complicated process and deals with not only finding the people who commit crimes, but also convicting and judging them. There are a lot of different areas that make up the entire justice system and in science fiction we see these areas dealt with in very different ways.

In some stories it is about compressing the process, in that way justice can happen more swiftly and not have to deal with the lengthy processes of trials or other things. Another option that can be found in science fiction is creating some sort of automated or surveillance-based system. The basic idea is that someone is always watching and keeping track. Both of these futures look to hasten the path to justice, but at a cost.

Cop, Judge, Jury

Karl Urban as Dredd in DreddThe obvious reference for a science fiction justice system are things such as Judge Dredd or Robocop. In these situations someone or something finds the criminals, decides their guilt, and passes the sentence. A lot of time this occurs because crime has risen to such a level that justice needs to happen swiftly in order to deal with the growing number of criminals that are out in society. This means that a person is trained to do every step of the process instead of having one person to arrest and investigate, another to decide to go to trial, and then a judge to pass sentencing. It narrows the process down to one person to speed up the process.

Automated Justice

In a few science fiction stories they look at justice as the need to watch things at all times. This can be seen in Minority Report (in a way) and in the surveillance system set up in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Now each of these stories add an additional level of judging a crime or criminal before it happens and basically convicting before a crime happens. At the same time the idea is still their that surveillance is used as the ultimate justice system.

The idea that we can track citizens at every moment could mean that we could track the actions and give tickets and sentencing based on those actions. Now imagine that it is not external surveillance, but something that gets imbedded underneath the skin of each individual. Something that could track you and automatically send a signal to the police or automatically take fines out of your bank account, points off your license, etc. Something like in Fifth Element when his car was deducting points from his license as he drove.

Obviously the extreme problem with all of this is can either of these solutions really be called justice? Both of them are quick to convict and not take the time to fully examine or look at a situation. It is about the swiftness of justice instead of the ethics or morals of justice. What do you think?

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!

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!