The One About The Notes (3/12/2015)

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:
  • 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 –

  • 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 –


Notices –

  • 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.

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