Video is on an exponential growth trajectory, and it's not just Netflix originals and HBO docs and new films on Amazon Prime. In today's world, when people aren't eating or sleeping (or perhaps even when they are), they are likely viewing a video. Each day, people watch over 1 billion hours of YouTube. Creating and delivering movies, news and other compelling visual content is no longer just for the Hollywood elite. In fact, some of today's most prolific storytellers are doing so with little resources and amateur tools.
Artificial Intelligence is a topic which evokes mixed reactions among people. Some consider AI to be a technological revolution which will solve all our problems and transform our planet into a veritable paradise. Others equate AI with robots courtesy of Hollywood movies; not good robots but rather exceedingly intelligent but evil and villainous robots with nefarious plans to wipe out the entire human civilization. As a computer engineer, I have always had an insider view of the technologies and been witness to many technical changes over the decades. From BASIC, to C to C to Java – each iteration produced better and more sophisticated coding mechanisms.
Have you ever wondered how apps like Netflix or Spotify decide which movie or songs you're likely to prefer watching or listening to? Seems like magic, doesn't it? For instance, a lot of data is being mined and multiple complicated algorithms are developed by data science professionals in an attempt to make predictions more accurate. It is not magic but "machine learning." Machine learning is what allows the system to determine the movies and songs most relevant to your liking.
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," wrote Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin in A Dance With Dragons. "The man who never reads lives only one." As someone who has lived and ended more than a thousand lives in his story so far, Martin knows what he's talking about. But something interesting has happened in the decade since Martin wrote those words. There has been a sudden surge of what we might call multiple lives fiction: novels where the main character experiences a good chunk of her existence on repeat.
Now that the world is gradually slipping under the wings of AI, it can be asserted that the sci-fi movies were not wrong. There are abundance of literature on examining the best sci-fi movies ever made and speculating their conversion into reality in times to come. However, though not a sci-fi movie in its truest sense, this genre of children literature provides a vision on artificial intelligence under the garb of a fairy-tale. It would not be wrong to say that this movie is the love child of fairy tale and technology which is typically Tim Burtonesque. The initial scene in the movie was a tragic one which showed how the boy's father lost his job because machines have replaced the human workforce to screw toothpaste caps. While this scene was a gentle reminder of the fact that machines, robots and humanoids will soon be substituting humans.
The Monitor is a weekly column devoted to everything happening in the WIRED world of culture, from movies to memes, TV to Twitter. An arc light, or arc lamp, is a source of illumination created when electricity flows between two carbon electrodes. Use of arc lamps dwindled in the 20th century, edged out by incandescents, but for a long time they were a common light source for movie projectors. Mostly this little detail is just a fun fact--something interesting to bring up at parties. But this week, it's a reminder that the history of cinema is long, even when our memories are short--and that the news of ArcLight Cinema shutting down can bring back a flood of recollections, even for people who may not know the theater chain's namesake.
DJI has a new drone, the Air 2S, and it's one of the best drones I've ever flown. The Air 2S is externally nearly identical to last year's Mavic Air 2. It even uses the same batteries, which makes upgrading a little cheaper. There are some very welcome changes in this update. The Air 2S adds an object detection camera to the top of the drone, which improves the collision avoidance system. It really helps when you're flying toward something at high speed, since the drone pitches forward, rendering the front sensor slightly less effective.
It all started with an odd pile of shells: a pile that, upon closer inspection, fell apart like a flower losing its petals, introducing a burned-out nature documentarian named Craig Foster--and, in time, the world--to the octopus hiding cleverly inside. Known simply as "her," she would become the star of My Octopus Teacher, the Oscar-nominated Netflix documentary and surprise pandemic hit that told the story of Foster's unlikely relationship with that eight-armed mollusk. Released in September 2020, it arrived at the perfect moment. Audiences exhausted by lockdowns and unrelenting 2020-ness were primed for escape into the undersea fantasia of South Africa's kelp forests, where Foster met her. Best-selling books like The Soul of an Octopus and Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness had whetted public curiosity about these uncannily intelligent creatures with whom humans last shared a common ancestor 600 million years ago. Yet while most writing about octopuses emphasizes their ostensibly alien, unknowable nature,1 and serious, science-minded nature documentaries elevate concern about biodiversity over sentiment for a single animal, My Octopus Teacher defied convention. It embraced Foster's feelings for the octopus, which over the course of a year evolved from curiosity to care--even to love. And though her own feelings were left for viewers to interpret, the film's indelible impression was of nature populated by species who are not only beautiful and exquisitely evolved and ecologically important, but highly sentient, too. Nautilus talked to Foster about his octopus teacher and how getting to know her changed the way he thinks about nature. I write a lot about nature and biology and ecology, but in the last few years I've focused on the minds of animals and how we think about them.
The minds at Respawn Entertainment are wizards when it comes to the action-adventure genre. Twenty-fourteen's Titanfall and its criminally underrated followup, 2016's Titanfall 2, challenged traditional boots-on-the-ground shooters with a heightened sense of scale and verticality, while the more recent Jedi: Fallen Order etched itself as one of the greatest Star Wars narratives told in any medium. The Los Angeles studio's fixation with exoskeletons, Blade Runner, and visuals that bleed Wachowski and Masamune Shirow's Ghost In The Shell is nothing new, but they are intertwined with world-building to create headier pockets of science fiction bliss. The free-to-play shooter set in the Titanfall universe first launched in February 2019. No extended gameplay reveals that cringe out with comms from Chad and the rest of the QA team.
The face of American character actor Richard Kind – melancholy, hangdog, a little dyspeptic – is exactly right for this high-concept midlife satire from director and co-writer Matt Kane. It's a variation on a familiar theme the time is the near future and Kind plays Felix, an architect in his 60s who has been pushed out of the firm he helped build and is now at home grumpily adjusting to unwanted retirement. His busy wife and grownup daughter have no great need of him these days so poor, emasculated Felix takes comfort in his hi-tech retirement gift: a pair of "Auggie" glasses, through which the wearer can see an "augmented reality companion", a virtual-reality hologram of exactly the kind of submissively understanding person your subconscious wants to see – in Felix's case, an extremely attractive young woman (played by newcomer Christen Harper). Felix understands that this is just a projection, a geisha hallucination programmed to respond with the right answers and expressions. But inevitably he begins to fall in love with her, and toys with the "extra" that Auggie owners are invited to purchase: a pair of hi-tech underpants that will allow him to feel his Auggie companion intimately, while his wife is out all day at her prestigious job. This is a movie comparable to Spike Jonze's Her, in which Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with the Siri-type computer voice played by Scarlett Johansson, and Alex Garland's Ex Machina, in which Domhnall Gleeson is entranced by the AI robot played by Alicia Vikander; and like those films it creates a dreamy mood of indulgent comedy.