AI/ robotics spring geek fest, zeitgeist, movies & performances etc

sonoya⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ❗ hi all this blog is triggered by the fabulous-but-creepy new movie EX MACHINA. in a word: outstanding! [a25][a26][a27][a28] 😀

saw it saturday and was really blown away. it has a violent ending but it seemed almost shakespearean. great scifi movies seem not so common, there are maybe only a few every few years. to me this movie had almost “matrix level” intellectual and performance quality and the director has topnotch nerd cred instigating a reddit mini-orgasm.[a29]

have been tracking various robotics/ AI links and my bookmarks runneth over lately. can barely keep up. the two areas are increasingly dramatically fusing in scientific/ research realms and this is lately reflected in the vivid/ visceral hollywood imagination.

its really exciting & great to see hollywood latch onto the AI & robotics theme, but in many ways its just reflecting the buzzing, crackling zeitgeist. eg white house drone crash [a4][a5][a6], military robotics advancing.[a11][a14] robotic car drives entire US![a19] intel creates robot spider army![a20]

FAA consternation/ bureacratic seizure over drone regulation with even POTUS prez obama commenting.[a7][a16] and NYT pondering over collective drone angst/ “paranoia”![a10]

tv/ videos!

mythbusters gets into pulley robots.[a17]

legendary series battlebots might return![a8] but presumably without the playboy centerfolds. RATS!

“poledancing robots sleaze up CeBIT!”[a18]

Dancers and robot band called 'Z-Machines' perform in front of guests and media ahead of the live debut at the Liquidroom house in Tokyo, Japan, 24 June 2013. Described as a ëSocial Party Robot Bandí, Z-Machines made their debut live in Tokyo at an event sponsored by an alcoholic beverage brand.  EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON

Dancers and robot band called ‘Z-Machines’ perform in front of guests and media ahead of the live debut at the Liquidroom house in Tokyo, Japan, 24 June 2013. Described as a ëSocial Party Robot Bandí, Z-Machines made their debut live in Tokyo at an event sponsored by an alcoholic beverage brand. EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON

japanese ZMachines robot jazz invasion sponsored by Zima & covered by CNN![a21][a22][a23] “meet the robot with 78 fingers and 22 arms!”

movies!

ex machina blew me away, could write an entire essay on this movie alone. for us been-around-the-block guys it has some interesting similarities to old, wild scifi “wetware” series by rudy rucker (and why havent these ever been turned into movies anyway?). the AI angle is quite impressive and it also uses a turing test device to advance the plot.

speaking of being blown away, maybe this is gonna “out” me in my highly personal tastes (fetishes?), but to me Sonoya Mizuno in supporting-nearly-cameo role stole the show with her performance, playing a mute courtesan/ sex toy robot![a30] 😈

shes an avid social media user/ blogger but alas its all in japanese, but the hot pictures tell thousands of words![a31][a32][a33] ooh boy the feminists sure arent gonna like this, expect to see some scathing feminist critiques/ rants on her role! which reminds me somewhat of the unorthodox marketing techniques employed by the movie recently at the top geek conference SXSW. another notable angle is that star “beta” geek in the movie Domhnall Gleeson behind alpha Oscar Isaac gets a significant role in the new Star Wars movie….

also speaking of feminism, and more/ other “ripped from the headlines” aspects, the movie also has some weird parallels/ undertones to the heinous/ near-unspeakable Ariel Castro case where there are recent media reverberations as survivors have agreed to interviews. who was sentenced to ~1K years. seriously. could that have been the longest sentence ever in the history of the US judicial system?

❗ its interesting to contrast the CGI philosophy in various movies recently. for example the mad max director Miller is on record saying that he thinks CGI has gotten out of hand in the movies & that audiences can tell the difference & are desensitized to too much. ie some are talking about a sort of “uncanny valley” effect wrt CGI in overall physics etc. … in Ex Machina there is some terrific/ eyepopping cgi effects ( 😮 ) but they are quite seamless with the scenes/ movie/ story and very much not overdone. hmmm, transformers/ age of ultron anyone? its truly a turning point in hollywood when ppl start talking about “too much” CGI… but isnt as an old saturday night live sketch went, you can never have too much cowbell right? 😛

BB8-970-80amazing new star wars droid! completely real without CGI! very advanced polebalancing-motive combined design and the kind of tech one doesnt even see in university or govt/ defense labs, astonishing![a24] hollywood is truly unrivalled/ amazing sometimes!

imagethe chappie movie by scifi auteur neill blomkamp came out about 2 months ago, really dramatic movie. had trouble sympathizing with the gangster protagonists, and the movie has scenes that evoke a sort of child abuse of a robot! but its quite a clever and amazing theatric/ dramatic device to be able to succeed in that. the ending is quite violent and bloody. this movie had a lot of overtones of the robocop series but took it in a different direction. in the image right, a modern 21st take on a pose evocative of Rodin’s famous Thinker statue, one of my favorites.[a12][a13]

two other recent movies with a big AI theme either larger or tangential. transcendence[a35] with johnny depp and the age of ultron avengers juggernaut.[a36] lately the AIs are playing some very severe villains!

also big hero 6 was a great movie with a robotics plot & won best animated picture oscar. missed writing about it at the time but dont wanna let it get away without commenting at least once on this blog![a15] Lasseter one of the biggest moviemaking geniuses alive, probably involved with over a billion dollars of box office revenue at pixar, one of those adult kids and seems to have the nearly infallible golden touch, making it all look easy![a37]

another excellent, unmissable recent AI movie is Her by spike jones also with an erotica angle and starring scarlett johansson.

while on the topic, from awhile back, Oblivion is a great scifi movie exploring the use of military drones vs humans with excellent special effects starring tom cruise/ morgan freeman.

GEEKZ RULEZ!

image(5/24) managed to “think/ get outside the box” a bit & also got a big robotics fix/ highlights this wknd at “monster” Denver Comic Con (sat sold out! est ~100K attendants many from out-of-state! Anthony Michael Hall/ Kelly LeBrock from legendary Hughes geek flick weird science, 30th anniversary reunion etc!). Mountain States Droid Builders hosted a fun panel with several live robots present, 2 R2D2 models that look as realistic as the real movies. these builders are super dedicated/ consummate and very club/ team/ family oriented, spending all their spare times on nights & weekends and thousands of dollars over years. they are very hardcore in their designs & state a “decent” R2D2 costs minimum $10K! they also had some inside scoop on BB8 & estimated it cost over $100K to build.

right after that there was also an entertaining guy/ presentation from Southwest Research Institute/ Boulder (sorry! they didnt give his name in the schedule! did anyone else catch it?) who had encyclopediac knowledge on the subj & quite entertainingly/ humorously compared/ contrasted movie robotics (using real movie scenes/ videos eg star wars & battlestar galactica etc) vs real NASA probe capabilities. both panels were jammed to full capacity with long lines & something like ~100 seats or so.
 

a. robot
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