A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) – Rotten Tomatoes: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ai_artificial_intelligence/

Wow, that “Critics’ Concensus” blurb really sums things up. I remember seeing this movie twice in the theater back when it was released. I remember that l liked it, with a couple caveats. Don’t remember seeing it since. Worth another viewing.

(I guess I’m just into bleak sci-fi movies about where human behavior and our innovative technological advances might ultimately take us, which is either some degree of Enlightenment (rare outcome in these movies) or our own Extinction (more likely outcome in these movies, as our inherent animal natures and short-sighted impulses mean we keep putting off solving long-term problems in favor short-term comforts, like the medium- and long-term problems are either too complex to solve right now or completely insurmountable.)


Self-taught AI is best yet at strategy game Go : Nature News & Comment

Self-taught AI is best yet at strategy game Go : Nature News & Comment: http://www.nature.com/news/self-taught-ai-is-best-yet-at-strategy-game-go-1.22858

Reposting this, after a “cohort” in the politics forum I frequent linked it this past week.

As a lover of science fiction an real human history, gets me thinking about this: http://freakonomics.com/podcast/american-growth/

If throughout Human History, Civilizations’ economies have pretty much only grown at a rate 2%-3%, and if the ‘recent’ surges (past 500 years) of phenomenal growth are slowing down because we’ve taken ceryain advancements to their limits, seems to me the next advantages that could advance Human Civilization will be in the areas of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and in Genetic Engineering & Medicine. Research and advancements will feed back-and-forth to each other, trickling-down into other areas and technological advances. 

Edit: Anyway: A.I. and protein-folding. My blue-collar mind boggles.

Sci-fi to zone-ponder-out upon: Blade Runner; Ghost in the Shell; modern Battlestar Galactica; GATTACA; Orphan Black; Black Mirror. Hell, even any version of Island of Dr. Moreau.

SIDEBAR: Too bad FOX/FX couldn’t hybridize the best of elements of Almost Human (cancelled before it could explore more), APB (had potential), FARGO (love it), and American Horror Story, to create higher-end anthology sci-fi series.

SIDEBAR: They’ve managed to do some very good stuff with Marvel’s mutants. Often hope Disney would involve them more in other Marvel TV properties. Still wishing for a dedicated Marvel TV channel, bringing in all the disparate NetFlix and other series under one “roof”, so it’s easier for us with cable but without internet access in the home (other than for phones) to have reliable Marvel viewing. No way am I going to watch this stuff on my phone. Certain On Demand services seem too limited. “Appointment viewing” nearly impossible anymore, most days of the week…. 
EDIT: back to the AlphaGo article, wondering if they can do the same for the game of Arimaa….?

“Automation Day”

Gotta love NPR’s “1A” program. Good stuff today. “Happy May Day” by the way.

Who’s Looking Out For The American Worker?:

The Great Unknown With Marcus Du Sautoy:

PRX’s “This American Life”
615: “The Beginning of Now”

The ‘Populist Wave’ Trump rode in on, its origins in working-class blue-collar America, Washington, D.C.’s inability to explain what it does and why, economics, automation, and the tide of History. Yay.

NPR’s “Studio360”
“Handmaid in America”

No robots, but class-warfare sci-fi, flirting with genetics.

I want to see “The Handmaid’s Tale”.
Also wanting to rewatch “Orphan Black”, the modern “Battlestar Galactica”, “Gattaca”, “Elysium”,”Ex Machina”, “CHAPPiE”, and scoop up “Humans” and “Black Mirror” while I’m at it…

“Block-Chain Identity”

APM’s Marketplace has had a couple of stories about the ‘block chain’ technology behind BitCoin being used for other things, both related to acknowledging and protecting an individual human being’s identity-related information.

Bitcoin’s blockchain technology may be its real legacy: https://www.marketplace.org/2016/05/02/tech/inside-block-chain-technology

Using bitcoin’s technology to wrangle widespread medical records:


Ended up pondering “self-driving” vehicles. Thought about the vehicle as property, and all that goes with it: maintenance, fuel, insurance, time and money.

Need the car to get to work to rarn the living to agford the car.

A funny-but-dark thought had me thinking about living in my car, which had me thinking about “home ownership”, and how i really don’t want a house on a plot of land with a lawn. The way the ‘market’ seems to be rigged, you have to own a house on a plot of land with a yard. Apartments are too expensive.

Too bad my pipe-dream self-driving plug-in hybrid car couldn’t also be my “tiny house” that I take to work everyday. Eventually, even such an “RV” has to be parked somewhere, maintained, repaired, cleaned of shit. Have to do laundry, get a decent shower, et cetera.

Got me thinking of how ‘mobile’ jobs and labor are. Taxes, and what they pay for; types of taxes; who pays, how much, and how wisely it’s spent.

Darker reflections about how American society seems to have evolved. People have to either work, or ‘own” the workers. “Slave-masters” begat “robber-barons”, will it lead to “robot masters”? And I don’t mean robot ruling over humans. More like, human using “robots” [physical and/or internet-bot] to control other humans.

Marvel HeroClix “ReClix” Wish-List: The original “Human Torch” (v1.3)

EDIT (2015-09-07): Fixing some broken links, spell-checking, and adding clix-dials for both the “Original human Torch” and his sidekick “Toro”. That’s all.


Marvel’s original “Human Torch”, an android from Marvel Comics #1, 1939. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Torch_(android)

Got to thinking about “him” last evening. My mind was skipping from Jurassic Park/Jurassic World, mulling over genetic engineering in sci-fi. Thought about the 1982 movie version of Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electic Sheep?, the movie Blade Runner. In the movie, they are genetically engineered, growth-accelerated, memory-implanted and skills-programmed “replicants”, but in the novel, they are androids. Dictionary.com defines “android” as “an automaton in the form of a human being.”

In parsing out the differences between “android” and “just a robot”, and mulling over this year’s “artificial intelligence goes awry” sci-fi movie selection — Avengers: Age of Ultron; Terminator: Genysis; CHAPPiE; Ex Machina — wound up here — //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot — which then led me here — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.U.R. — which got me thinking to Marvel’s “android ‘Human Torch'”.

In a lot of ways, the android that would adopt the name “Jim Hammond” was one of Marvel’s first forays into the “monster-as-hero/anti-hero”. Now, the Wikipedia articles are pretty “jumbled”. The “fictional biography” sections of these entries for superheroes is usually a mess, because they try to provide a “continuous narrative” for characters that the companies constantly tweak or overhaul the “backstories” for.

All I can discern from multiple articles is that the original android “Human Torch” was an experiment in “artificial life” by Professor Phineas T. Horton, using “Horton Cells”, a kind of “synthetic cell”. However that would work. [The “Horton Cells” appear to be a retroactive continuity tweak from the 1980’s appearances.] So, the “android” H.T. seems closer to the “replicant” idea than the “metal and plastic robot with a human-looking veneer” (like, say, from the movie Westworld). [EDIT: Helpful links on the history and science of RNA and DNA: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/journey-into-human-dna.html and http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/cracking-the-code-of-life.html ]

Ended up skipping from tangent to tangent. The whole “Horton Cells” thing got me back to thinking about Marvel’s other contribution to the superhero genre, Captain America, the “super-soldier serum enhanced patriot”. Which also got me thinking about genetic research itself. Sample articles: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/before-watson-crick.html — and — http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/rosalind-franklin-legacy.html

Eventually, came full circle back to Avengers: Age of Ultron. In the comics, the Vision is the result of a partial rebuilding and reconfiguration of the remains of the WWII android “Human Torch” by Dr. Hank Pym’s renegade robot, Ultron. In the “Marvel Cinematic Universe”, Tony Start and Bruce Banner’s renegade experiment in A.I. defense programming creates the Vision using Dr. Helen Cho’s synthetic tissue process (“Horton Cells”?), vibranium, the alien Mind Stone, and his own A.I.

What does any of this have to do with The Game of HeroClix? Nothing. Just went down a rabbit hole that eventually reminded me, “Hey, we have a version of the “Jim Hammond” android Human Torch in clix, don’t we? Yeah, that one from SECRET INVASION [2008]!”

Which isn’t a bad version. “Workable”, but “showing its age” in game design terms. (Which in HeroClix, is kinda the equivalent of “dog years”.) After seeing not only the excellent new dial for the NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D.A set’s *other Marvel monster-as-hero/anti-hero from WWII era comics* — Namor, the Sub-Mariner — but also its fantastic sculpt, I couldn’t help but think “Jim Hammond” could use a sculpt that’s just as cool, and an updated Invaders-level dial to go with it.

Just sayin’.

(I’ll try to post the dial during my lunch break today, maybe along with some more ideas.)

EDIT: Aaaaand! I was chasing that rabbit because I was wondering about how Phineas T. Horton, Dr. Helen Cho, and “synthetic life form technology” could be part of TV’s “Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D.” story lines in the coming season. (Fanboy dreams.)

EDIT (2015-09-07): Pics!

SI017 Human Torch

This version of the original “Human Troch” is “aging gracefully”.

AV021 Toro

A few years ago, the definition for the Smoke Cloud standard power changed from 4 squares of hindering to 6. I kinda object to the correction of this special power definition to Toro; the original specified 4, not 6. I would have prefered language to the effect of “at least 4” instead. It would have allowed a “situational power bump” by allowing Toro to “snake” his SC hindering terrain markers around more than one opposing character, methinks.