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Science Fiction: AI-Alerts

It's not science fiction. Scientists have really made robots that reproduce

NPR Technology

Ayesha Rascoe speaks to Harvard researcher Sam Kriegman about xenobots, the self-replicating robots he helped create.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Humans, Ethics, and AI

Interactive AI Magazine

Concerns about ethics of AI are older than AI itself. The phrase "artificial intelligence" was first used by McCarthy and colleagues in 1955 (McCarthy et al. 1955). However, in 1920 Capek already had published his science fiction play in which robots suffering abuse rebelled against human tyranny (Capek 1920), and by 1942, Asimov had proposed his famous three "laws of robotics" about robots not harming humans, not harming other robots, and not harming themselves (Asimov 1942). During much of the last century, when AI was mostly confined to research laboratories, concerns about ethics of AI were mostly limited to futurist writers of fiction and fantasy. In this century, as AI has begun to penetrate almost all aspects of life, worries about AI ethics have started permeating mainstream media.

Sci-Fi Writer or Prophet? The Hyperreal Life of Chen Qiufan


When Chen Qiufan took a trip to the southwest Chinese province of Yunnan 15 years ago, he noticed that time seemed to slow down as he reached the city of Lijiang. Chen was a recent college graduate with a soul-sucking real estate job in the pressure-cooker metropolis of Shenzhen, and Lijiang was a backpacker's refuge. Wandering through the small city, he was enchanted by the serrated rows of snow-capped mountains on the horizon and the schools of fish swimming through meandering canals. But he was also unnerved by the throngs of city dwellers like himself--burned out, spiritually lost, adrift. He wove his observations together into a short story called " The Fish of Lijiang," about a depressed office worker who travels to a vacation town, only to discover that everything is artificially engineered--from the blue sky to the fish in the streams to the experience of time itself.

AI and the Auteur: Implications of Using Artificial Intelligence in Film Studio Decision-Making


The global movie industry generated over $43 billion in revenue in 2018, of which the United States' contribution alone topped more than $11 billion. Yet, these seemingly impressive headline figures can obscure the fact that year-on-year growth has been a sluggish 2 per cent over the last several years, with market researchers forecasting further stagnation. Given the inherent financial risk involved in film making, some now believe artificial intelligence, rather than human expertise, is best placed to select which films are most likely to provide suitable returns on investment. In early January 2020, Warner Bros signed a deal with Cinelytic, a Los Angeles-based artificial intelligence company which, according to the press release, aims to help content creators make faster, better-informed decisions through predictive analytics. Belgium's ScriptBook provides a similar service, touted as "artificially intelligent script analysis and box office forecasting".

Netflix's 'Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein' Is a Fun Mess


David Harbour, best known for playing supernaturally beleaguered small-town cop Jim Hopper, is now on to even stranger things. In the mockumentary Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein, he plays a puffed-up version of himself, investigating the life of his father, David Harbour Junior, after he unearths footage of his dad's televised stage play while killing rats in his mother's attic. What Harbour discovers--the bizarre artifact that is the play Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein and lots more scandal besides--challenges everything he thinks he knows about his father in just about 30 minutes. Stranger Things' Noah Schnapp Has a Crush on Zendaya What Stranger Things' High Viewership Numbers Actually Mean What he finds is also bizarrely funny. In real life, Harbour's dad's name is Ken and he's in real estate.

Sci-Fi Author Robert Heinlein Was Basically MacGyver


Robert Heinlein is the legendary author of such classic works as Starship Troopers, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, and Stranger in a Strange Land. His books have influenced generations of artists and scientists, including physicist and science fiction writer Gregory Benford. "He was one of the people who propelled me forward to go into the sciences," Benford says in Episode 348 of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. "Because his depiction of the prospect of the future of science, engineering--everything--was so enticing. He was my favorite science fiction writer."

What Asimov Predicted For 2019: Computerization And Lunar Life

NPR Technology

Computer scientist and professor Eugene Fiume talks about what science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov got right and wrong in his predictions of 2019.

Hunting for Frankenstein Amid Switzerland's Melting Glaciers and Nuclear Bunkers


Most people visit the Swiss Alps to ski or hike, maybe to launder money. British photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews went to find Frankenstein. Mathews, a fan, brought along her old copy to read, letting the text guide her journey through the landscape. "My eyes scanned the barren white lands for Frankenstein's creature, crossing the glacier at'super-human speed'," she writes in the introduction to her new photo book, In Search of Frankenstein - Mary Shelley's Nightmare. "I imagined catching a darting figure in my peripheral vision or coming across a makeshift cabin that had sheltered the fugitive for the night."

Afrofuturism: Why black science fiction 'can't be ignored'

BBC News

Science fiction has long been criticised for its lack of racial diversity and inclusion. It's rare to see a lead character who isn't white. One study of the top 100 highest-grossing films in the US showed that just eight of those 100 movies had a non-white protagonist, as of 2014. Six of those eight were Will Smith, according to diversity-focused book publisher Lee and Low Books. The long-term exclusion of people of colour from science fiction offers up an interesting paradox.