The Final Moments of Karl Brant
Mar18

The Final Moments of Karl Brant

Share BY KYLE ANDERSON VIA THE NERDIST   Written and directed by award-winning graphic novelist M.F. Wilson, The Final Moments of Karl Brant is part detective story, part slasher movie, and part theoretical futurism. Quite a lot going on for just 16 minutes. The film stars Paul Reubens, being very non-Pee-wee Herman, as the scientist friend of the eponymous Brant (Pete Cheklava). Brant is working on a way to upload his memories into a computer in order to effectively reconstruct his consciousness in the virtual world. It appears someone wanted him dead for it. Two detectives (Janina Gavankar and Jon Sklaroff) are the ones investigating and the key to solving the case comes from a decidedly non-traditional source. But the question arises: at one point, in this new world, does a person stop being a person? The science behind the story was pioneered in part by Ray Kurzweil, whose books “The Age of Intelligent Machines,” “The Age of Spiritual Machines,” and “The Singularity is Near” discuss the growing idea that artificial intelligence will one day (soon, it seems) be indistinguishable from human intelligence and that our own existence and longevity is tied to machines. Eventually, what it means to be human will depend on leaving behind physical bodies and existing within the artificial, and seemingly-infinite, virtual space. The mind, as they say, reels. Science fiction is at its best when it’s about real science we haven’t quite achieved yet, and The Final Moments of Karl Brant has that in spades. Let us know what you think about the film and the ideas it’s putting forth in the comments below.  More at The...

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Why ‘Her’ Is the Best Movie Ever Made About the Singularity
Jan15

Why ‘Her’ Is the Best Movie Ever Made About the Singularity

Share BY ADARIO STRANGE The pop-culture tuning fork known as the Academy Awards will reveal its film nominations on Thursday, and if the recent Golden Globes win by Her on Sunday for best screenplay is any indication, the film’s writer and director,Spike Jonze, may score his first-ever Oscar win.But the film, which depicts a man in the not-too-distant future who falls in love with his computer operating system, may be less important as an epic love story and far more relevant as the best and most widely accessible film we’ve seen about an idea known as the Singularity. Popularized by science fiction author Vernor Vinge as well as inventor and now Google director of engineering Ray Kurzweil, the Singularity is a theoretical point in future history when artificial intelligences exceed the power of the human mind, become self-aware and dramatically change the balance of power on the planet while simultaneously transforming the very nature of humanity itself. Films like 1999’s The Matrix showed us a world struggling in aftermath of the Singularity in which seemingly malevolent artificial intelligences enslaved humanity. But perhaps the earliest cinematic conflict applying sentient qualities to an mechanized construct is a film that celebrated its 87-year anniversary on Friday: 1927’s Metropolis. The film tells the tale of a scientist who transforms a metallic robot into a flawless copy of a kidnapped woman named Maria. Spoiler alert: the robot is later burned at the stake and human Maria is set free. One of the central differences between these three films is how they reveal humanity’s relationship to technology at the time. In the technologically naïve 1920s that created Metropolis, humanity can easily defeat technology through the same means used to dispatch human criminals. The Matrix, on the other hand, was released during the mainstream explosion of the Internet and all the uncertainty it fostered. In the film, technology appears as something out of our control, with only one “magical” human (Neo) given the ability to meet the sentient computers on equal footing. But in Her we’re given a far more mature look at what the Singularity may really look like when and if it comes to pass. While many were alternately enthralled and creeped out by the subtlety and charm of the emotional interaction between Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) and his operating system, OS One by Element Software, later known as Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), few among the film’s enthusiastic reviewers have explored how the relationship ends. It’s at this point that we’ll warn you to look away if you don’t want the plot spoiled. Read More at Mashable: Why ‘Her’ Is the Best Movie Ever Made About the Singularity  ...

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