Collaborating Authors


Space, the final frontier for angry teens in 'Voyagers'

Boston Herald

From writer-director Neil Burger ("Divergent") comes another young adult science-fiction tale, this one of a cruise ship in deep space full of restless teenagers under the supervision of a single adult. Some of the young people find out that the adult is keeping them drugged and docile and forcing them to reproduce artificially. Is that a recipe for YA trouble or what? Just when you thought you could not watch one more film of this kind, here is "Voyagers," a title that sounds enough like "Passengers" (2016) to put you off you spaceship-grown peas and carrots. The story is set in 2063 when Earth is ravaged, and scientists have searched for another planet to colonize.

Algorithms workers can't see are increasingly pulling the management strings


I'm afraid I can't do that." HAL's cold, if polite, refusal to open the pod bay doors in 2001 A Space Odyssey has become a defining warning about putting too much trust in artificial intelligence, particularly if you work in space. In the movies, when a machine decides to be the boss – or humans let it – things go wrong. Yet despite myriad dystopian warnings, control by machines is fast becoming our reality. Algorithms – sets of instructions to solve a problem or complete a task – now drive everything from browser search results to better medical care. They are helping design buildings. They are speeding up trading on financial markets, making and losing fortunes in micro-seconds. They are calculating the most efficient routes for delivery drivers. In the workplace, self-learning algorithmic computer systems are being introduced by companies to assist in areas such as hiring, setting tasks, measuring productivity, evaluating performance and even terminating employment: "I'm sorry, Dave.

GPT-3 Creative Fiction


What if I told a story here, how would that story start?" Thus, the summarization prompt: "My second grader asked me what this passage means: …" When a given prompt isn't working and GPT-3 keeps pivoting into other modes of completion, that may mean that one hasn't constrained it enough by imitating a correct output, and one needs to go further; writing the first few words or sentence of the target output may be necessary.

'Terminator: Dark Fate' Didn't Need an Exploding Airplane


The latest Terminator movie, Dark Fate, struggles to give satisfying emotional arcs to its large cast of characters. Writer Sara Lynn Michener says it doesn't help that a large chunk of the movie is wasted on a bombastic action sequence set aboard an exploding cargo plane. "I think there's this idea with, especially, male directors where they get really excited about trying to top what's been done before, but do it even bigger and better and more Michael Bay-ish," Michener says in Episode 386 of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. Are we really doing that in 2019? Geek's Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley agrees that the cargo plane sequence was silly, and stands in sharp contrast to the sense of realism captured in the franchise's best installments, The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Blade Runner 2019: How close are we to the film's vision of the future?


In 1982 the film Blade Runner provided us with a stunning but utterly dystopian vision of the year 2019. But now it is upon us, how close is the Blade Runner 2019 to reality? As with any vision of the future, Blade Runner has deep influences from the time it was conceived. There is something both socially and aesthetically that is distinctly 80s about the sci-fi masterpiece. However, there is also some thrilling tech that belongs firmly in our collective vision of the future.

The Reunion: a new science-fiction story about surveillance in China

MIT Technology Review

Though only 23 minutes on the high-speed rail from Shenzhen North to West Kowloon, the journey from the mainland to Hong Kong seems to transport me back half a century. The concrete jungle of my childhood memories hasn't changed one bit. Time seems trapped in the amber of this city of seven million, while the Shenzhen Bay area that I departed has already arrived at the future ahead of schedule. My classmate from a decade earlier, Dr. Ng Lok Tin of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, waits for me at the station exit. As though to highlight the discombobulation of modern China, he greets me in Cantonese though he's a native of Shanghai; I, Hong Kong born, on the other hand, speak to him in Modern Standard Mandarin. "Leung Wah Kiu, what's this really about?" he asks me. "A few days ago, two plainclothes officers approached me to ask if Professor Lau had been in touch and for the contact info of his relatives and friends in Hong Kong." "I thought he had been placed in ...

The Terminator - Wikipedia


The Terminator is a 1984 American science-fiction action film directed by James Cameron. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator, a cyborg assassin sent back in time from 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), whose son will one day become a savior against machines in a post-apocalyptic future. Michael Biehn plays Kyle Reese, a soldier from the future sent back in time to protect Connor. The screenplay is credited to Cameron and producer Gale Anne Hurd, while co-writer William Wisher Jr. received a credit for additional dialogue. Executive producers John Daly and Derek Gibson of Hemdale Film Corporation were instrumental in the film's financing and production.[4][6][7] The Terminator topped the US box office for two weeks and helped launch Cameron's film career and solidify Schwarzenegger's. It received critical acclaim, with many praising its pacing, action scenes and Schwarzenegger's performance. Its success led to a franchise consisting of four sequels (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Salvation and Terminator Genisys), a television series, comic books, novels and video games. In 2008, The Terminator was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry, being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". In 1984 Los Angeles, a cyborg assassin known as a Terminator arrives from 2029 and steals guns and clothes.

Blumhouse Has Already Conquered Smart, Budget Horror. Can Upgrade Help It Do the Same for Science Fiction?


In 2009, Fox released James Cameron's Avatar, an absurdly expensive, but also absurdly profitable, science fiction adventure featuring cutting-edge special effects. Its success provided further confirmation to what had already become entrenched conventional wisdom in Hollywood: Movies should be big because big makes money. That same year, Paramount distributed Paranormal Activity, a horror movie shepherded by the then–little-known Blumhouse Productions. Directed by the unknown Oren Peli, it originally cost $15,000, was shot on consumer-grade video cameras, and had already been kicking around festivals for a couple of years. It went on to gross nearly $200 million, confirming that conventional wisdom didn't always apply.

Director Andrew Niccol Lives in His Own Truman Show (And So Do You)


In 1998, The Truman Show told the story of a man whose life, unbeknownst to him, is a phenomenally elaborate reality television show. Every day and around the clock, every move made by the hapless Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) is captured by a network of hidden cameras and broadcast live worldwide for the entertainment of millions. And then Truman begins to notice discrepancies. "Things that don't fit," he says, in the original script. Twenty years later, The Truman Show writer Andrew Niccol frequently experiences what he calls Trumanesque moments. Sloppy art direction and set design. And he doesn't mean anything happening on a set or on a screen. "There'll be a traffic jam, for instance, for no reason," Niccol says. "In my mind, the reason is actually that Christof"--the all-powerful, demiurge director of The Truman Show--"isn't ready at the next set. Or when you see someone out of context.

Back to the Future: 2018 Big Data and Data Science Prognostications


"We should study Science Fiction in order to understand what someday could become Science Fact."