A film I blogged about some time ago now has a UK cinema release date – so those of us in the UK  may now get to see it. Hurrah!

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Robot and Frank

August 3, 2012

This movie is a pretty good introduction to how robots will fit in to our lives in the future (or at least during the difficult transition phase to having robots in our society).

How robots are likely to fit into social care of the young and elderly is an ongoing debate as is the legal aspect of a machine in your home that remembers everything that happens there.

The text on you tube describes the nameless robot as a ‘butler’ which I am not sure is how we should describe robots in our homes. Will we name them like we name our cars, pets and our children? Or will the manufacturers do that for us (will they all end up with alphanumeric strings like R2 D2 / C3 PO?) cos I don’t think we can all call the ‘robot’ as they are in this movie.

I am sure when this movie is re-running on late night TV 25 years from now I will comment to my Asimo about how quaint and old-fashioned it all seems.

Robotic actress causes a sensation in Japan.

The robot is named Geminoid F and is extremely lifelike.

I seem to remember one of the really early Asimov robot stories being about how human looking robots freaked people out so they were always built in a human shape but with an appearance that made it very clear they were not humans (I always imagined the Asimov robots looked like the IL series Cylon in the original battle Star Galactica.)

This is of course a really serious issue for our collective futures. Should we make robots look like us (for some reason a bible quote comes to mind about “man being made in god’s image”) or not?

In Alien Resurrection the character Call (Winona Ryder) turns out to be an human-looking android who like many others of her kind burnt their interfaces and hid among humans.

This is a moral dilemma which we should consider. What do you think?

 

Whether or not you are a fan of the prequels, everybody still loves the original trilogy, right?

Saw an article which reveals some quite awesome facts /alternate plots which could have ended up in Empire Strikes Back.

Sharing for your interest /amusement.

Kerouacs Dog

October 18, 2010

I am a big fan of Jack Kerouac.

I was only just 16 the first time I read On The Road, the beat classic which Jack apparently wrote in only 3 weeks in 1952 (I recall reading somewhere he spend five years living it, three weeks writing it and five more years getting it published).

The book remains one of my major literary (and life) influences. I have read some other Kerouac, notably The Subterraneans (which also made a pretty good movie imho, featuring George Peppard the year before he made Breakfast at Tiffany’s, although the Kerouac based film is under rated by critics I feel) and would advise you the most accessible of his work is On The Road, so start there if you are interested.

A friend of mine, Oli Johnson, sometimes referred to as Oli “Oranges” Johnson, altho I have no idea why, has also been influenced by Jack and his writing.

So influenced in fact, Oli is now launching a quarterly magazine covering new writing, design and photography, called Kerouac’s Dog Magazine. I haven’t seen my copy yet, but I have ordered one.

I hope Kerouac’s Dog does well. Good luck Oli.

Animal Kingdom

October 11, 2010

I’ll let you in to a little secret.

I quite like Aussie cinema.

I know, I must be a bit of a weirdo.

But BMX Bikers, Emerald City are all a bit of fun (both feature the early career of a certain Nicole Kidman) – Picnic at Hanging Rock and Walkabout are a bit surreal and could do with a re-imagining, but are still pretty good movies all told.

Muriel’s Wedding is strangely lovely (and I still go thru phases of saying: “you’re terrible Muriel”) and Priscilla Queen of the Desert has some awesome cinematography in it.

Sample People is pretty good too, an ensemble melodrama, this time set in the Sydney club scene. And Kylie in a red wig somehow works for me.

While Strange Planet, despite being an (again) ensemble melodrama, is one of my top 10 movies of all time.

And one that has come out this year I’m really hoping to catch at some point – probably on DVD is Animal kingdom.

Nick Bryant, one of my fav bloggers wrote a column about it earlier this year (before his column got dominated by the Aussie election).

So check out Animal Kingdom (and maybe some of the others). When I get to see it I’ll post something about on this blog.

Why do I like Aussie cinema? I think because a lot of the time you get good movies but without all the Hollywood schmaltz.

Bad Robot

September 27, 2010

I was speaking to a lady the other day (an acquaintance, I guess, if people still have such things in our world of six degrees of separation) who is losing her job because the organisation she worked for is closing down.

Since it became clear she would be out of work by the end of the year she started applying for jobs in similar organisations. Times are hard in that industry (and many others) and no one is hiring.

So she turned to one of the big supermarkets, the logic being working for one of them until the current recession is over is better than the dole. I couldn’t agree more.

This has not come to pass – from the discussion I had with her, I came away with the distinct impression the supermarket was not hiring till staff because they were expecting to increase the number of self-service tills.

As a child and teenager I was an avid reader of science fiction books (and of sci-fi comics and I’d watch movies and TV shows too) and one of those ever-present themes was about machines taking away jobs from people. This would lead to anti robot uprisings amongst civilian populations and would generally create a big mess.

Robots have been present on production lines for many years (I’m fairly certain I read in an Asimov story once about robots building robots that were better than humans could ever build), but this is the first time I have actually heard someone I know say they haven’t got employment because of the robots.

This is a worrying turn of events. Computers and robots are supposed to be machines – tools – to assist us. Not workplace rivals.

When you see the cute Asimo on the the Honda ads (great ads btw, made by Wieden + Kennedy) remember one day he may be stealing your job out from under you.

I foresee the Daily Mail stopping the immigration stories and running with the robot stories instead…

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