ENG 2420: Science Fiction

City Tech, Fall 2016

Notes 12/6/16

Note:

These presentations are made to be followed up with the written report

Be critical! This is for improvement upon the presenters’ work.

 

Daniel Mai’s Presentation

-Title: People Choose Artificial Intelligence over other people

Research into why humans would choose and AI over a real person

Example: The film ‘Her’

Xiaoice: AI built by Microsoft

-Deep learning AI: Learns to reiterate human conversation

  1. Human Beings are lonely creatures

– AI’s are points of comfort; always available to listen

  1. People do not realize that AI’s are not human.

-Alan Turing: created the Turing test in the 50’s. Identifies a computer through a series of questions.

  1. AI’s are easier to deal with than humans.

Final Thoughts: Human relationships to AI’s can be bad and beneficial.

-Human mind is fragile.

Q&A

-What are the benefits of human/AI relationships?

-What questions were asked in the Turing Test?

-Is the focus mainly on the relationships between humans and machines?

-Problem of increased intimacy b/w both.

-What other research amongst the Turing test can you use?

 

Cody’s Presentation

Terraforming

Definition: The process whereby a hostile environment is altered to be fit for human life.

Example: NOMAD skyscraper vehicles to terraform Mars via greenhouse gases.

Humanity has done its own terraforming here on Earth.

-Why Terraforming?

– Survival and Resources

– Over population and sustainable life for humans

– Awakens the sense of progress for humanity

-Ethics

– We can wipe out lifeforms on other planets.

-Possible invasion scenario where humans are the invaders

– Humanity has an ugly history of doing both to species on Earth.

-Last thoughts

– We will be needing terraforming and it seems to be our answer for sustaining human life.

– Even with the question of wiping out the hosts of another planet, humans will still choose terraforming for their own survival.

Q&A

-What concepts are in place now for terraforming?

– Can we practice a sustainable life without the need for terraforming.

 

Daniel Mayorga.

Parrallels between science fiction and real-world military weapons.

Military Science fiction: A subgenre of Science Fiction that involves the military (US Military), battles (war) and usually revolves around futuristic scenery.

The US Military has the most advanced offensive and defensive weapon technology and development.

–  Influence is draws from film. The question is: Is it implementable?

– Design process determines the capabilities and limitations are applied as well.

Benefits to US military

  • Obedient super soldiers.
  • PTSD limits with short term memory loss.
  • Strength and healing beyond normal human capability.

 

Aircraft development

  • Design shows offensive and defensive prowess
  • Pilot-less aircraft
  • Concept designs are reminiscent of science fiction aircraft. (Lockheed SR-72 vs Republic Attack cruiser)

Are these parallels ethical?

  • Forced short term memory.
  • Breaking human limits can be questionable
  • Are the technological advancements doing more harm than help?

Conclusion: Weapons are produced through the inspiration of military science works. This allows the US military to grow in term of firepower.

Q&A

-Will ego play a role in the behavior of super soldiers? Will these futuristic weapons end up on the streets?

– Can these super soldiers transition to civilian life or are they stuck to a lifetime as a grunt?

 

Joselin

Gynoids: The impacts of female robots in real life.

  • Gynoid is a more modern term for robot/androids in human female form.
  • Robotess is the oldest gender-specific term (1921)

Can female robots be beneficial to society?

  • They can when it comes to caring and teaching; humans are more receptive to females (warm and inviting over a male robot)
  • Researchers suggest society needs strong female role models in the robotic variety.

Negative Aspects of Gynoids

  • Their design can be biased. From Bride of Frankenstein to Ex Machina, mankind has an unhealthy obsession with creating the ‘perfect woman’. It usually ends in bad results.
  • The stereotypes of how a woman ‘should look’ contributes to the objectification of woman.
    • ‘Sexy curves’ and features.
    • Scarlett Johansen robot is an example. (Reacts to compliments like: you’re very pretty, looking good today)
  • Does the opposite sex view them as romantic companions and objects rather than helpful companions?

Conclusion:

Gynoids can be both benficial and a burden on society.

  • Can provide comfort to human beings. (interactive, warm and inviting)
  • Can be used for the objectification of women.
  • There is a need for more females in robotics.

Q&A

Are gynoids rare because of the male-dominated field of science fiction?

Will this decrease our want to create more gynoids?

Rino

Commercialization of Science Fiction

Distinction of Commercialization: Franchises, brands and Intellectual Properties that were made primarily for entertainment of consumers or had the intention to try and make money. (Star Wars, Warcraft)

  • May have a deeper meaning or tries to convey an idea about our society, but are usually monetized or made to be marketed.

History of Science Fiction

  • Shift from ‘poetic’ to the ‘political’
  • Originates from the commercial success of films
  • Fandom is a big factor (from casual to extreme)
  • Text can be targeted for mainstream or cult followings (smaller, but hardcore fan base)

Research (Threefold)

  • Fandoms: range, effects on sci-fi culture and causes for creation.
  • Marketing: How markets try to appeal to consumers and what they view as the most profitable part of their campaign.
  • Focus of the texts: Seeing the intent of heavily Commercialized Science Fiction; consider the causes of success or failure.

Conclusion

  • There is a relation to the scope of the creator’s intended audience, success of the franchise, and the resulting content.
  • The scale of the company that makes the creative work is important to the content it makes.
    • Comparing Disney to something different like Warhammer 40k, which has a niche audience)
  • The more marketable = The more encompassing the content is to the larger audience.

Q&A

Does Commercialization put a damper on the creative work that the creator would want?

If it is mostly for the money, will fans notice a difference in or lack of complex storylines, themes and messages that the franchise would try to convey to them?

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Emmanuel for these thorough notes! Just wondering if you could add notes on the final presentation (Johnny’s on Religion & Science Fiction)? Thanks 🙂

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