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3 initial thoughts on Ready Player One

Robohub

The long-anticipated, Steven Spielberg-helmed Ready Player One has just been released in UK cinemas this week, and as a film of obvious interest to DreamingRobots and Cyberselves everywhere, we went along to see what the Maestro of the Blockbuster has done with Ernest Cline's 2011 novel (which the author himself helped to adapt to the screen). A one-time viewing and a next-day review are, of course, too early to answer such big questions with any certainty. Fortunately, however you feel about the film itself, it will reward many multiple viewings on DVD as even the most unsatisfied viewer won't be able to resist pausing the action frame-by-frame to catch all the references and fleeting glimpses of their favourite video game characters of the past. Cline's original novel was very much a paean to plucky independent gamers resisting the ruthless greed and world-conquering ambition of the Corporate Villain (while simultaneously, strangely, lionising the richest and most world-conquering of them all, James Halliday, the Gates-Jobs figure transformed here into the benevolent deus ex machina that built his trillions on creating the OASIS). The film remains true to Cline's vision, and perhaps even heightens this black-and-white, goodie-versus-baddie (IOI), with a brilliantly cast Ben ('Commander Krennic') Mendelsohn and a tragically under-used Hannah John-Kamen heading an army of faceless corporate infantry.


How machines are learning to read your mood

#artificialintelligence

GWEN IFILL: Now: developing technology that can better identify your own emotions. At a time when people are concerned about what data can track and how it can be sold, it is an advance that clearly raises concerns. But it may also yield some important benefits. The "NewsHour"'s April Brown takes a look, part of our weekly series on the Leading Edge of science and technology. DAN MCDUFF, Director of Research, Affectiva: You can control the movements of BB-8, the little droid, based on how your facial expressions are changing.