Posts Tagged ‘future’

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This short story is literally MacBeth set on Mars. It’s based on my screenplay.

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Honda's latest version of the Asimo humanoid robot walks down stairs during a presentation in Zaventem near Brussels July 16, 2014. Honda introduced in Belgium an improved version of its Asimo humanoid robot that it says has enhanced intelligence and hand dexterity, and is able to run at a speed of some 9 kilometres per hour (5.6 miles per hour).  REUTERS/Francois Lenoir (BELGIUM - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS SOCIETY) - RTR3YVL3

Robots coming to steal half your jobs, Bank of England warns

Roughly half of the workforce in the UK and the US are likely to eventually lose their jobs to robots, as technological automation trends spread across all industries and service sectors, the Bank of England’s chief economist has warned.

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“Disney, of course, can, and could, have none of this. Which is what, ultimately, makes this movie a fantasy.”
Tomorrowland: Disney Studios in Fantasyland

by Steven Jonas

Walt Disney began his career, or at least first came to major public notice, with the fantasy creature, cartoon character, Mickey Mouse.  While over the years Disney Studios has gone well beyond fantasy, and well beyond Mickey Mouse, it still does like to deal in fantasy from time-to-time.  And so it has done in Tomorrowland, a sort-of science fiction, past-time-present-time-future-time, essay into the future of the Earth and human civilization.  (Actually, The New York Times reviewer, A.O. Scott, took the movie to task for “its blithe disregard for basic principles of science-fiction credibility.”)

The story is complex and I must admit that I wasn’t able to follow every one of its ins and outs.  But it starts in a time past at the 1964 New York City World’s Fair (with, among other things, a good deal of product placement).  It then seems to come forward to just about the present or perhaps just a bit into the future, with the central character, a child science-junkie in 1964, now a grown-up super science/electronics junkie.  And then it goes into two versions of a future place called — you guessed it — “Tomorrowland.”  When it first appears, Tomorrowland is a bustling metropolis, set in the middle of one-is-not-sure where, sometime in the future.  It is all clean and bright and white, occupied by a very diverse population of well-fed, seemingly well-educated, and very busy people.  It bears some resemblance, from a distance at least, to the Disney World Magic Kingdom (my, what a coincidence).

Very importantly, allusions are made to the fact that in our time, more-or-less, the Earth and we are succumbing to climate change, environmental degradation, filth, over-population, water shortages, and so on and so forth, all of which are inevitably leading to the “Sixth Extinction.”  (Pointedly, at least pointedly to me, excluded from the list are Permanent War, which now seems to be permanently with us, and the threat of nuclear war/annihilation and its probable successor, nuclear winter [which seems to be making a comeback as a major threat].) 

As I said, the plot is complex and I wasn’t able to follow all of its twists and turns.  In particular, I was confused by the fact that when we first see Tomorrowland, as noted, everything is working beautifully.  But then when we see it again at the end of the movie, as the setting for the de rigeur mano-a-mano that just seems to be an absolute MUST for such movies, between the hero, played by George Clooney, and the villain (who is a villain, but does not for the most part come across as villainous) played by the well-known British character actor Hugh Laurie, it is, while still white, run-down and deserted, with trash blowing all around.  I’m sure that that state of affairs is explained somewhere, but I missed it. 

At any rate, what we do get that appears in very few post-apocalypse movies (which seem to be growing in number every year — wonder why?) is a very uplifting new beginning: a large, very diverse, group of seemingly very bright, very well-educated, very good-looking, young adults are recruited to go forth in the world, show people the positive way, somehow restore Tomorrowland, and then, I guess, spread the good word and the good works, all around the world (that is assuming that indeed the whole world did succumb to climate change, species extinction, environmental degradation, and so-on-and-so forth). 


Tomorrowland and similar works aptly reflect the pervasive sense of impending doom gripping the world, but as works of artistic creativity they also accurately mirror the complete bankruptcy of capitalist culture and the fact the system cannot even conceive of a rational (let alone moral) way out of the crisis it has itself created.

So.  Very positive.  Very upbeat.  Very supposedly uplifting.  Yes, somehow, the Earth and human civilization will be saved, renewed.  BUT, and it’s a very big BUT, neither the principal cause of the decline and fall of civilization nor what would be needed to create a Tomorrowland that could actually work are mentioned, even in passing.  And that cause of course is capitalism, as the principal form of economic organization in the contemporary world.  As has been said many times, the principal goals of the capitalists are the making of profits from capital and the accumulation of ever-increasing amounts of capital with which to make evermore profit.  The ultimate outcome of capitalism, which depends upon the ever-increasing exploitation of both human and natural resources, is its suicide.

Disney, of course, can, and could, have none of this.  Which is what, ultimately, makes this movie a fantasy.  The on-coming destruction of the Earth as we know it, which is referred to in the movie, is “cause-less.”  It, apparently, just happens.  As for the reconstruction of the Earth, which is to be achieved by the legions of earnest young people recruited at the end of the film, it is seemingly to be achieved without any system of social organization and with no mention of the resources — physical, organizational, economic, and political — which will/would be needed to achieve the desired end.  To say nothing of the fact, that if this reconstruction were to be tried under capitalism, rather than the alternate form of socio/political/economic organization known as communism, exactly the same outcome would eventually be realized.  And that, of course, is the definition of insanity.

Postscript:  The day after I wrote this column, the following item appeared in The New York Times: “Pink Slips at Disney. But First, Training Foreign Replacements.”  At Disney World, Florida, long-time hi-tech U.S. employees have been replaced by lower cost temporary immigrants, coming in on “H1-B” visas.  The latter were originally intended to be used to bring in foreign workers to fill jobs that cannot otherwise be filled in the U.S.  But of course, these particular jobs were already being held by U.S. workers.  Right here in the Magic Kingdom we can see the true “Tomorrowland” at work: capitalism — and profits — over all.


Senior Editor, Politics, Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books. In addition to his role with The Greanville Post, he is a Contributor for American Politics to The Planetary Movement, a columnist for BuzzFlash@Truthout, a “Trusted Author” for OpEdNews, and the Editorial Director of and a Contributing Author to The Political Junkies for Progressive Democracy.  Dr. Jonas’ latest book is The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022: A futuristic Novel, Brewster, NY, Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, http://www.puntopress.com/jonas-the-15-solution-hits-main-distribution/, and available on Amazon.

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6 Ways Virtual Reality Will Change Filmmaking

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How to power California with wind, water and sun

New research outlines the path to a possible future for California in which renewable energy creates a healthier environment, generates jobs and stabilizes energy prices.

 

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Jacque Fresco continues challenging humanity to advance and to evolve.  Kickstarter.

Paradise or Oblivion?

 

 

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Welcome to the Future

Posted: September 2, 2013 in -
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First Zero Theroem clip:

river-serenity-needle-foreheadSerenity (2005)

Yesterday we showed car hacking.  Today it’s brain hacking:

Science Daily:

Neuroscientists Plant False Memories in Mice: Location Where Brain Stores Memory Traces, Both False and Authentic, Pinpointed

Back in the 1950s US intelligence was obsessed with mind control.  The MKULTRA experiments were quite real, and the US believed that Communist bloc countries were ahead of them in the brainwashing department.  There is no reason whatsoever to believe that these desires by government have changed.  What’s more, with the rise of private mercenary entities funded by government tax money accountability is eliminated, oversight non-existent, and the potential for widespread abuse and catastrophe glaringly obvious.

BUT IT’S SO MUCH WORSE!

The war on truth and truth-tellers is equally as troubling, as the government now equates telling the public what actually goes on with “treason” or “terrorism” or probably baby cannibalism if they can float that one on corporate media.  The so-called “news” in this nation is so bogus, so controlled, manipulated and censored that it is a clear tool for social manipulation.  When issues of power and policy appear on the “news,” these are approved, Pravda-level propaganda displays.  Real issues can only be discussed in government/corporate approved presentations, with demonization of designated enemies and praise for officially-sanctioned activities, even if those activities are clear Crimes Against Humanity, as with the selling of the aggressive war against Iraq.

Such a society cannot last.  Something has got to give.  Pillage by elite predators, those parasitic 1% ghouls, has reached critical mass.  The manufactured debt is now able to sink the entire economy and the livelihoods of most people along with it.  War, chaos and destruction would inevitably follow.

Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) bei seiner Arbeit.The Lives of Others (2006)

Most of our data is stored on computers now, which are also easily hacked, and gleefully so by government.  Your PC is pretty much a sitting duck for intelligence and military and corporate or other  criminals.  NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed:

“We’ve got PRISM, which is a demonstration of how the US government co-opts US corporate power to its own ends.  Companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, they all get together with the NSA and provide the NSA direct access to the back ends of all of the systems you use to communicate, to store data, to put things in the cloud, and even just to send birthday wishes and keep the record of your life.  And they give NSA direct access that they don’t need to oversee so they can’t be held liable for it.”

That means things can go out, and things can similarly go in.  So what’s real?  What’s put there by us, and what’s put there without our knowledge or consent?

When everything is malleable, including brains, the news of the world, and all data storage — it is quite simply the end of reality.

Speaking of car hacking and the war on truth tellers, the preponderance of evidence suggests that journalist Michael Hastings was killed deliberately because of what he was investigating.  He had contacted Wikileaks early in the day, and he sent out very nervous alerts to his circles that he was being tailed by federal agents.  Hastings was investigating sensitive government programs, and he already made enemies inside the Pentagon with his exposure of Stanley McChrystal.

The manner of Hastings’ death is suspicious beyond belief, with the engine from a Mercedes mysteriously flying more than 100ft. from the vehicle.  His body was then cremated without permission of his family, and therefore his tissue samples cannot be tested to refute innuendo that he may have drunk alcohol that day and decided to speed recklessly for no reason whatsoever.  This is the final blow against reality, as we cannot prove conclusively that Michael Hastings was murdered by covert operatives, and of course we cannot prove that he wasn’t, either.

That is how reality is murdered, forever.

michael-hastings-takedown-of-stanley-mcchrystal-is-filled-with-insights-that-will-be-relevant-for-yearsMichael Hastings

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”
-George Orwell
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Josh Fox’s Gasland II to expose power politics of fracking

“Sequel of Oscar-nominated film on natural gas boom puts focus on climate change, oil lobby and the US government”

 

Josh Fox goes after the corruption that is the US system.

 

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Okay, turn off your brain and fire up the kettle corn.  I had, of course, avoided this big garish video game of a movie whose trailer inspires sea sickness and epileptic shock.  Then, my wife who is even a bigger sci-fi geek than me forced me to watch it.

And you know, it’s not that bad.  I wouldn’t say great, but definitely a solid future film with tons of action and mindbending.  Essentially, a new nanotech interface melds brain cells with communication.  Having these cells inside your mind makes you part of “Society,” a way to make money by being controlled by gamers, or to spend money by controlling other people’s actions.

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With freaks paying to control others like live puppets, the company and its megalomaniacal CEO become the richest, most powerful entities on earth.  Played by Dexter, the CEO is a bigger than life outrageous Bill Gates cowboy.

The main guy however is the muscle bound Scotsman Gerard Butler, who’s in prison.  This prison allows the inmates to fight real combat game scenarios against each other, for the benefit of the real big spenders.

And so you’ve got your sex, violence, mind control, class, power, plutocracy and revolution.  Add action and visual effects.  Performances are pretty good actually, and the guys behind Crank pump up the scenarios to 11 whenever possible.

Like I said, it’s not a great film, and it won’t be heading over to my Best Sci-Fi list.  A couple of scenes are so dumb you’ll just yell out loud.  But still.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvqjwTQ1Kqk&feature=player_detailpage

 

Elysium is coming, August they say. This time it’s class war and they’re going big. Take the District 9 budget and add $90 mil. Let’s hope it really delivers.

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What we had to say about District 9: