Science Fiction

Science fiction gets criminal

Los Angeles Times

People live clustered in cities, protected from the outside world. Are Marta's husband's deeds catching up with her, or does someone else in the group have a secret? Locked-room mysteries go back to the earliest crime fiction (Edgar Allan Poe's "The Murders In the Rue Morgue" was published in 1841) and this is an excellent addition to the sub-genre. In the future, when cloning is legal, people have additional bodies at the ready; their memories can be downloaded to their new hosts in a snap.

Why Science-Fiction Writers Couldn't Imagine the Internet


If you had locked a group of theoretical physicists in a room 50 years ago and asked them to predict what we now know about the universe, they would have missed almost all the key discoveries we have made since, from the discovery of dark energy and dark matter to the ability to detect gravitational waves. Experiment determines what we must build our theories on, not a priori prejudice about elegance or beauty, or even what seems like common sense. Quantum mechanics defies common sense--so much so that Einstein never really accepted it. But as experiments today, from entanglement to quantum teleportation, demonstrate, quantum mechanics does describe the universe at fundamental scales.

George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' will soon be a video game


George Orwell pretty much invented the dystopian future genre, with novels like 1984 and Animal Farm still finding relevance and new readers today. You'll make both story decisions and choices on how to run the farm that will fit in the overall tale. The team opted for a hybrid of genres to show that the story of Animal Farm isn't only about the fate of Boxer and the other specific characters, "but also about the everyday choices Napoleon and the other animals make to run the farm," said Jele. "I can't help feeling personally challenged to create a game adaptation of Animal Farm, as I myself grew up under a communist regime."

Isaac Asimov's 3 laws of AI – updated


In an OpEd piece in the NY Times, and in a TED Talk late last year, Oren Etzioni, PhD, author, and CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, suggested an update for Isaac Asimov's three laws of Artificial Intelligence. In an open letter to the U.N., a group of specialists from 26 nations and led by Elon Musk called for the United Nations to ban the development and use of autonomous weapons. Another more political warning was recently broadcast on VoA: Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking to a group of Russian students, called artificial intelligence "not only Russia's future but the future of the whole of mankind… The one who becomes the leader in this sphere will be the ruler of the world. One that would regulate but not thwart the already growing global AI business.

'A Trip to the Moon' holds up 115 years later


On Sept. 1, 1902, the world was treated to a truly ridiculous but also amazing short silent film that definitely holds up more than a century later. A Trip to the Moon, directed by Georges Méliès, takes viewers on a journey with astronomers in wizard hats and a pretty goofy moon with a face. Plus, according to NASA, it's the first science fiction movie with special effects. You have to see this news station's ridiculous edit of a crime victim's statement Try not to cry watching this emotional'Game of Thrones' video about Jon Snow

L.A. movie openings, Sept. 1

Los Angeles Times

A trio of reissues, all 4K restorations, highlight the Labor Day weekend film offerings: Steven Spielberg's 1977 mashed-potato-stacking sci-fi classic "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," with Richard Dreyfuss; Merchant-Ivory's 1983 India-set drama "Heat and Dust," starring Julie Christie; and Jacques Becker's 1960 crime drama "Le Trou." Close Encounters of the Third Kind Steven Spielberg's 1977 science fiction classic stars Richard Dreyfuss as a man on a mission after a brush with a UFO. Written by Dan Glaser and Steven Molony & Richard M. Lewis; story by Jon Wanzek. Viceroy's House In 1947, Lord Mountbatten is dispatched with his wife to New Delhi to oversee the transfer of power as India gains its independence from British rule.

Artificial Intelligence is Science Fiction Coming to Life


Turing was one of the first persons to question a machine's capability of thinking like humans and the Ratio Club became the venue for him to express and discuss his interest on integrating the characteristics of a human brain to a machine. In the early 1990s, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning weren't even buzz words in the tech industry and if you ask people about it, they'll often ask if it is really possible to experience AI. As issues in the past like limited storage and data were answered, AI innovations appeared one after the other. If we follow Asimov's Laws of Robotics, it's humans and machines versus real-world problems.

We don't want AI that can understand us – we'd only end up arguing


With the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning, there already exists a solid sense in which robots and artificial assistants such as Microsoft's Cortana and Apple's Siri are said to understand us. We no more discover that machines think or understand than we discover that Pluto isn't a planet. In the case of artificial intelligence, people often talk of 20th-century science fiction writers such as Isaac Asimov as having had prophetic visions of the future. Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics have been an inspiration to a whole generation of engineers and designers who talk about machines that learn, understand, make decisions, have emotional intelligence, are empathetic and even doubt themselves.

Kinect@home Needs Your Help Identifying Objects: Science Fiction in the News


Kinect@home is a Swedish program that encourages humans to help robots in identifying common household objects. The intent is to build a library of objects that robots can consult as they maneuver around your house.

The 7 Best Sci-Fi Movies You Can Stream Right Now, From 'E.T.' to 'Ex Machina'


While investigating a disturbance in his own backyard, a young boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) discovers E.T.--a strange little creature who was mistakenly left behind by his fellow glowing-finger alien friends. If ever there were a movie that stood as proof that style over substance is not necessarily a bad thing, it would be Dark City, Alex Proyas' Metropolis-inspired follow-up to The Crow. But the real shocker comes when a monster attacks the city, and puts a quick end to their revelry (and some of the partygoers' lives). But if the Coen brothers' Oscar-winning 2007 film No Country for Old Men proved one thing, it's that--in the right director's hands--McCarthy's deft understanding of the human mind (both good and bad) can make for one hell of a movie.