Class Notes – 3/12/2015
To Begin With:
- Our class, Science Fiction, has been featured overall on OpenLab in the Spotlight. Yay to us.
- If you need help on how to use OpenLab, to give feedback, or attend workshops, follow The Open Road (OpenLab Profile) on OpenLab. Here’s a link you lazy bums: https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/groups/the-open-road/
- Watching The Road is optional. If you would like a copy of The Road in a file format, see Chris or bring a Flash Drive and copy the movie from the class’s computer station onto it. Consider allocating at least 1 GB of space.
- If you want additional optional resources added to the class, talk to Professor Belli during any class, during her office hours, or simply email her.
Our Agenda Today:
- Discussion: Blade Runner/”Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”
- Discussion: MoMA
- Discussion: Upcoming project
- Discussion: “There Will Come Soft Rains”
“There Will Come Soft Rains” – Brainstorming Session
- Shows the value of nature; a competition between nature and technology.
- House = the remains of human civilization; religious figure.
- Short poem; it foreshadows the ending and is connected to the title.
- The author gives the technology in the story some ‘emotion’ (sentience).
- Technology evolving to becoming self-aware; awareness to a certain degree.
- Machines can live on without humanity being present.
- The machines are not in control of themselves; they are programmed and are not able to go beyond it.
- The events taking place in the story may symbolize what is happening now in our society.
- Self-demise; post-apocalyptic; the aftermath of war (post-World War II; the Cold War).
- Animals; dog, bird.
- The idea or importance of perfection.
- Technology versus Nature.
- There is always something that technology is limited to; nothing is perfect.
- Rational versus Irrational decisions.
“There Will Come Soft Rains” – The Specifics
Now, think about this: Are we as humans significant as we think we are?
Title: August 2057 – “There Will Come Soft Rains,” what do we learn?
- The story is placed into the future and the main title is taken from the short poem later in the story.
The first paragraph, what do we learn?
- Personification: the opening sentence, “tick-tock, seven o’clock…:” a feeling of happiness?
- Personification: technology is given human emotions; fear, “as if it were afraid that nobody would.”
- “Emptiness:” loneliness, death, darkness.
- “Repeating and repeating:” the technology goes along with its daily functions regardless of anyone present.
The second paragraph, what do we learn?
- There are, or rather, were four people.
- Personification: the stove ‘sighs’, and this is written in the story multiple times.
The third paragraph, what do we learn?
- The daily agenda of the day is given.
- We’re given more of the setting: “Allendale, California.”
- Personification: The machine is given vision (eye sight), memory.
Film adaptation – The ‘machine’
- More sentient and controlling.
- Creepy, scary, menacing.
- Less caring than the description of the machine in the story.
- Mindlessly following his programming/orders.
Final Thoughts –
- PERSONIFICATION IS EVERYWHERE
- Robot mice, their role? They are programmed to clean (somebody actually said this and that was end of that discussion).
- We’re given an absence of people in the first quarter of the story, but throughout the next sections, we’re described of the people who resided in the house in a cryptic way.
- “Until this day… which bordered on a mechanical paranoia.”— The machine preserves itself by activating a security system.
- “The house was an altar… the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.”—Religion becomes prominent in the story; the loss of religion, society. If we try to play god, we get shut down. Everything from the beginning symbolizes the ‘ritual’; there is no point in what is happening.
- The dog – It’s alive. Yup… That’s all we said about that.
- The short poem in the short story: nature will continue regardless of humanity being present. It foreshadows the ending. It tells the prequel of the story, during the ‘war’.
- “Spring”: rebirth, reborn.
- Post-Apocalypse: an opportunity to clear the slate; to start anew.
- If something dies, it would be suggested that it was alive.
- “The house shuddered…” it gives you the sense that the house is a being (yeah, even more personification).
Now, think about this: We usually seek out the differences between the movie and the story, but what is the real idea behind each separately?
Back to Metropolis – The Work Scene
- The workers are enslaved because of technology, while the creators of it benefit.
- ‘Human sacrifices’ (the workers) to the machine. The machine signifying a God.
- The workers serve the machine and in turn, the machine serves the upper hierarchy.
Words Learned –
- Anthropomorphic: given human characteristics; personification
- Sentience: self-aware
- Agency: having a say in a situation
- AI, Artificial Intelligence: Man-made intelligence.
Eugene’s (very short) Presentation –
- There is a graphic novel of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”
- All the words are copied from the text onto the comic.
- For more information, you can see his post on OpenLab here: https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/belli-sp2015-eng2420/2015/03/05/683/
- Professor Belli will not be here next week (there will be class regardless, so don’t even think about it).
- You can see, specifically, what you have to do for Project 1, among others, in the Assignments drop-down on OpenLab.
- No blogging or online discussion due the coming week; focus your attention on the First Draft of Project 1.
Project 1 –
- Use your blogs as a resource, but do not copy and paste, especially if you have spelling errors or grammar issues.
- To put briefly, this is an analytical paper of the assigned text(s).
- Your First Draft is due on Thursday, March 19th. This will not be graded, however, if it isn’t done, points will be shaved off your grade.
- The Final Draft is due Thursday, March 26th. This will be graded.
- There will be no written comments on individual essays. See Professor Belli to hear her feedback.
(kind of) Off-Topic –
- Finding the line between man and machine is crucial [teurig test] [VK Test].
- We saw President Johnson’s Ad, “Daisy.” That was some crazy shi…
- Disney’s Smart House.