Sep 282009

How would you like to control your own personal robot to do your bidding? The new movie Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis, takes this concept to extremes. In the movie, humans link their minds to a robot and control them directly. This is a bit different than being converted to a cyborg like Ray Kurzweil predicts.

As CNN reports:

“Surrogates” director Jonathan Mostow, whose film credits include 2003’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” said he was drawn to the concept of surrogate robots as an extension of current technology. And, he said, as he met with scientists, he became convinced that something approaching the concept could one day be a reality.

It seems like the concept of “old fashioned” humanoid robots is  finally becoming outdated. I wonder how Isaac Asimov would feel? It is one thing to boss around a robot using the Second Law of Robotics, but actually mind-melding with one, or becoming one is completely different. The main dilemma in Surrogates is that someone found a way to fry someone’s brain before they were able to jack out of the robot they were controlling. This concept is very old, dating back to the old Virtual Reality plots. I was very interested in the movie when I first saw the trailer, but after reading some lackluster reviews, I think I might just wait for DVD.

The critics could be wrong though. Do any of you think I should give it a chance?

Check out the full article via CNN for more information. I found it to be an interesting read.

Posted by Stettin
Sep 272009

Book Cover

In 1992, the year of his death, Isaac Asimov was awarded the Hugo Award for best novella for writing Gold. This story, along with many others was published in 1995. Along with 14 other short stories, there are collections of essays called “On Science Fiction,” and “Writing Science Fiction.” Interestingly enough, I found the essays much more interesting than the stories themselves. I think this is partly because I have read a TON of his fiction, but haven’t got around to reading his non-fiction.  I’ll give a brief overview of the essays, saving the stories for later. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Sep 262009
Twitter

I haven’t really messed with Twitter much, but figured I could at least post updates on where I’m at in my reading as I’m going along. I’ve added the new “Tweet” buttons so you can quickly tweet any interesting posts you see here. I also plan on posting here more often than I have been the past year. I want to try and get back into the groove of posting interesting stuff between reviews like I used to. There have been some amazing developments in AI, robotics, and nanotechnology that I really should have mentioned before.

I’m going to be tweeting all of my posts, but not sending all of my tweets back here. That would make my main site too messy. Want to see what I’m up to?

Follow The Science Fiction Review

Also, I haven’t yet replaced my StumbleUpon button since I went to this new theme. I’m looking into a plugin that has other social bookmarking features as well.

Posted by Stettin
Sep 262009
Flash Forward

Flash Forward

When I first heard of Flash Forward, I was intrigued. Time travel stories always have piqued my interest. This new show isn’t a typical time travel story. One day all of humanity is knocked unconscious, and most of them see what appear to be hallucinations (2:17 minutes worth) of the future. The rest of this pilot episode is the main characters picking up the pieces from the fallout of this event. Can you imagine the scale of destruction if that would really happen? Interestingly enough, by the end of the day everyone is home and contemplating what their visions actually mean. I would think they’d be busy cleaning stuff up for weeks after all of the crashes and looting that took place. I’m not sure if it was poor scripting or what, but quite a few times I felt like I was being spoon-fed information and “insights” as the actors tried to piece things together.

For example, some of the visions were disturbing. They didn’t like what they saw and were afraid the vision of the future would come true. The flipside of this is also touched on, but what about those that had no vision?  Also, how will seeing the future affect the future? It is apparent that some will fight FOR the future, while others will fight AGAINST it. Who will win? Can both sides succeed?  I am waiting to see how the writers can add a unique twist of their own.

Anyway, give it a try and judge for yourself.

Flash Forward – No More Good Days – Full Episode

Posted by Stettin
Sep 252009
Star Wars Lego Chess Set

Star Wars Lego Chess Set

I just ran across this excellent Star Wars Lego chess set. It looks like someone made it for the Star Wars Days at Legoland California. The site has an English translation button for those interested in reading more background on the set.

The main gallery is located at http://www.fubiz.net/galleries/set/star-wars-lego-chess/

Check it out!

via Fubiz (original post)

Posted by Stettin
Sep 242009

Dune Book Cover

It’s been quite a while since I’ve read Dune. I found my way to this interesting conceptualization, Sietch Nevada, through my regular StumbleUpon clicking. For those not familiar with Dune by Frank Herbert, please check it out! It is an excellent novel, as described in my review. I find it interesting how many ideas are drawn from Sci-Fi. Everyday technology like cell phones, video conferencing, and robots (well maybe not everyday yet), were hinted to by authors long before they were developed. I find the Sietch concept intriguing because I lived in Phoenix, AZ for many years. A few years after I left, I started hearing about how Lake Powell, fed by the Colorado River, might dry up soon. I thought that it meant there would be no more water, but experts are referring to “dry” as unable to generate hydroelectric power. So, not only will water levels be low, but there could be power shortages as well!

Posted by Stettin
Sep 222009

About a year an a half ago, I reviewed The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil. I never did get around to reading his slightly newer book, The Singularity is Near. I just ran across an article that quotes him as saying

I and many other scientists now believe that in around 20 years we will have the means to reprogram our bodies’ stone-age software so we can halt, then reverse, aging. Then nanotechnology will let us live for ever.

He goes on to describe a number of medical advancements that seem unbelievable.  He doesn’t really expand on how many people, or rather WHO will have access to this technology.  We can’t very well have billions of immortal cyborgs running around for eternity, now can we? I think that those denied immortality, or at least extended life-spans, would wage war against those that would keep the technology for themselves.

Credit: Telegraph via Geekologie

Note: For those of you not familiar with Geekolgie, be sure to check that blog out.  I added it to my newsreader about 2 months ago and it keeps me entertained every day!

Posted by Stettin
Sep 122009

I’ve been dissatisfied with my current theme for a while now. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a fresh look? I haven’t really touched the site design since I re-launched the site about 2 years ago with the new blog format. Please bear with me while I tweak the site with “Suffusion” by Sayontan Sinha. I’m very impressed with it so far. There are so many easy to customize options. Let me know what you guys think!

Posted by Stettin

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