Bright Green Dystopias – they’re Elemental

Posted by on December 1st, 2013

Banlieue 13 plot device

At Sea in the Future [WATER]

10pts if you noticed who the author of the SoftwareThink is Saving da World yo WIRED propagandaopinion piece was in the first Bright Green Dystopia post.

This guy:

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…calling for Exit, with a 10yr plan to get ahead of a backlash against teh_jobless_recovery and other dystopic variables. SilVal needs to secede to succeed.

David Brin does a decent job picking it apart, nailing it with:

All of his examples boil down to no more than exercises in the kind of freedom that Srinivasan and his peers already have, sheltered and nurtured and encouraged by the legacy nation that he — like an ungrateful, neotenous teenager — openly reviles.  A freedom to experiment that MADE Silicon Valley in the first place…

Brin can pick it apart, because has some practice dissecting these libertarian utopias, like Seasteading. And he has some suggestions:

Clearly there is a shortcut through all the red tape and other dangers. I portray it in EXISTENCE. That trick is to forge alliances with already-existing small, island states. Places like Tonga, Vanuatu, etc are currently terrified of being literally wiped off the map by rising seas. What I show in the novel is an alliance with rich seasteaders that allows them to build their initial pillared paradises on land that is currently relatively dry and already sovereign.

What do the islanders get, in return? Why, the promise of participation – indeed, continued “existence” – as their reefs and beaches gradually drown! Buy the novel (coming in June) to see it illustrated.

Those Ghost States sure do show some real potential for disruption. Take Kiribati:

The people of Kiribati, he said, understand what is coming; already, one family has sought asylum in New Zealand as climate change refugees. “We are working on many different plans. There’s a Japanese company that makes floating islands. We’re looking into that. But people understand they may have to leave forever, and this is hard. We have the wish to survive as a people. I lived in New Zealand once. I thought I was in paradise. I had all of this access to all the different ice creams. But our people like it here. We will lose our homeland unless the ocean stops rising. It’s very simple. We want to stay home. This is where the spirits live. This is where we’re from.”

So there we have it. Prime opportunity for a kindly plutocrat to sweep in and save a dying people from extinction. They can get jobs doing the work that can’t quite be automated yet. Preserve their culture and sing some joyous songs while they toil. Worked out pretty well for these guys:

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(But do not get any sinister thoughts about the Google Barges. They are not Evil. Google loves you so much it wants to keep your data for ever and ever and ever and make happy information babies with it. Just because they no longer have any clue what’s going on in their servers. Which are totally theirs, and not some posthuman AI God that they are now dutiful servants of. Shhhhhh.)

not home to your AI Overlords. Who totally love you

The Wall in the Sky [AIR]

check it out brah
Google are totally not also building flying cars so they can duck over to Whole Foods to get moar kale and quinoa. That would be their neighbour:

There have been stabs at a Jetson-mobile before, but two designs in the Zee.Aero patent put this one on the outer cutting edge: It would be battery powered. But in addition, it is designed to lift straight up like a helicopter — so no need for a runway. Then, as the patent notes, the collection of rotors on top work with two facing backward to allow it to hover for a bit before cruising off to that grocery store.

Fair odds it would at least be licensing some of the tech built next door at GoogleX. Taking the LIDAR system developed for their self-driving cars to the next level. Up!

Where you’re totally welcome. It’s just $99,999 for the beta. Here’s the link to subscribe, click through to confirm and join us at the nearest Google Barge for the launch…

get ready for the launch

Up, up and away. Exit…

But… what is more Brighter and Greener than terrforming a whole planet?

So I started with a crazy idea to spur the national will. I called it the Mars Oasis missions. The idea was to send a small greenhouse to the surface of Mars, packed with dehydrated nutrient gel that could be hydrated on landing. You’d wind up with this great photograph of green plants and red background—the first life on Mars, as far as we know, and the farthest that life’s ever traveled. It would be a great money shot, plus you’d get a lot of engineering data about what it takes to maintain a little greenhouse and keep plants alive on Mars. If I could afford it, I figured it would be a worthy expenditure of money, with no expectation of financial return.

You’re so cray Elon! But how much would we expect to pay? Half a million? Sure… let me just grab a few paintings off the wall (seriously, that was a line I saw in a business piece on philanthropic arts funding).

Now, don’t get the idea that the State is being hollowed out by the allies of the corporate elite, who are increasingly indistinguishable from each other. That what infrastructure hasn’t already been sold off, barely maintained, and is increasingly dangerous to use (was that another train crash today? surely not)… won’t be replaced. That the private space program, and whatever we come to call a stratosphere full of auto-piloted craft containing the remnants of the middle class on their way to and fro their private spaceports and %1er take on Burning Manto “net-positive” corporate arcologies that look like they’re about to lift off

…that this is some epic program to steal the wealth of the Earth and its population to form a Breakaway Republic for the elite, who no longer need a slaveclassworkforce. A republic that isn’t a country, but a network of banking districts, research and development complexes, private islands and corporate retreats and fortified residences. Where they’ve carving the sky into zones of privilege and building outposts in space.

Because you can still go shopping, they’ve just made that way easier too (’cause the sky’s NOT the limit for funding an Exit)

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And don’t worry, you can probably soon earn GoogleWallet currency as a human drone repairman and maybe Tom Cruise was depicting the future. Really, the future is bright and green and everything’s going to be ok… everybody’s happy, underground.

The Earth as a Barrier [EARTH]

– Trailer montage of great just us.

The world of (still) tomorrow, as seen twenty years ago, in Demolition Man: the overly sanitized and heavily policed, corporate future is just too bright for some, who have to retreat underground for true freedom. The man who might save both worlds is back from the past, but what if the wild taken out of him in cryo is just what they need to defeat Simon Phoenix?

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The world of today seen from nine years ago, in Banlieue (District) 13. A wall protects bourgeois Paris from the residents of its feral suburbs. A “clean bomb” (shown above) might cleanse this urban jungle. Can this odd couple of cop and benevolent gang lord team up successfully?

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Æon Flux, the movie. The internal conflicts of the last city on Earth… dare they tear down the wall, end their nightmare stasis, and embrace… teh wild. (Whatever could that be code for?!)

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* But no, we won’t get to Elysium just yet… we’ve a ways to go first.

But there is an FPS of this conflicted vision:

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“it’s a Sleepless world, they’re just awaking to it”

Posted by on June 9th, 2013

Warning [SPOILERS]: if you care about the plots of Nikita, Iron Man 3, The Bourne Legacy… stop now, go watch ‘em all then come back. Hi!

Philosophy so physical makes for a very handsome tribe.

http://www.vimeo.com/67976111

This scene from Canadian science-fiction drama show Orphan Black is the best rendering of a Grinder Bar yet seen on screens small or large. In fact, I’m not even sure what the others are.

And it’s a good reason to take a whip-around look at the world of pop culture as serious business, and re-examine the state of the #transhumanfuturepresent.

First we have the latest season of the spy soap, Nikita. Referring in-show to its “spy fi” plot elements, the absolute transhuman drama of cyborg hand upgrades and cutting edge transplant dramatic problems. Don’t bring a possibly evil hand to a knife fight or something.

The settings of Iron Man 3 and The Bourne Legacy are both unquestionably transhuman. Neither film is a journey of a character to science-fictional state (see recent highlights: Limitless, Chronicle), but rather their starting condition.

(We can wedge Hanna in here too, though it’s more properly a genetically engineered super-solider girl coming of age fairy tale, innit).

In Iron Man 3, Tony Stark (1.0) not only has upgraded-girlfriend-dramas (well, Red She-Hulk solutions) but the plot driver is a conflict between two competing paths of self-directed human evolution: man/machine co-evolution and direct genetic hacking (hopefully not precluding the eventual arrival of Zeke Stane (Tony Stark 2.0) onto the big screen, that plot having been mined from The Five Nightmares arc of The Invincible Iron Man).

Speaking about playing Aldritch Killan, Guy Pearce mentions that Extremis also upgrades the subject to become one of the beautiful people:

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In The Bourne Legacy, our hero, who totally isn’t being chased by the mutant wolves of The Grey as it opens, is the latest iteration of the super-soldierspy program. His motivation is to hold onto his upgraded self, lest he reverts back to being the guy from The Lawnmower Man, or something.

Once you’ve gone transhuman…

Back in Canada, and actually set-in-Canada Canadian drama Continuum, which apart from featuring an absolutely bad-ass tech suit rather a lot like Deus Ex: Human Revolution‘s (itself a bridge between its low-grade #peakcyberpunkfuture and today, a cyborg hand reaching back to the present), combines transhuman future cop trapped in the present drama, with standard procedural drama, and excellent sociopolitical critique. Honestly, the first show on TV that I wish I was writing for ([blink]%HIRE ME%[/blink]).

Plus in the actual RL, we have Google Glass, already getting surpassed by the Meta. Pioneers like Steve Mann and Neil HarbigesenSports stories speculating on specific upgrades already being outdated… and other things I’m sure I’ve missed. So tell me!

and while we’re talking, let’s discuss the anti-posthuman agenda of Star Trek, most recently seen in Into the Darkness:

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Litmus test: who is the real villain in X-Men: First Class?

And we leave you with the trailer for Elysium, grinder revenge pr0n if ever there was one:

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PLURALITY [short film]

Posted by on October 6th, 2012
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via @leashless | falkvinge


Transcendent Man

Posted by on March 4th, 2011

Your Friday Afternoon Movie for this week…

…yes, I AM stealing the “Friday Afternoon Movie” from COILHOUSE - we’ll keep it between us, right?

Your Friday Afternoon Movie for today is: Transcendent Man: the Life and Ideas of Ray Kurzweil.  Long time readers will know that I’m not the world’s biggest cheerleader for Kurzweil, but this documentary is still very much worth a look, even if you’re a grumpy old creature like myself.  The film is 9 parts on youtube.


Movie screens will collect your facial expressions for ‘research’

Posted by on November 4th, 2010

What if I told you that movie theaters may become a little bit similar to Big Brother? A U.K. security firm just earned a grant to use special cameras embedded into movie theater screens to capture your facial expressions — to serve you more relevant ads. Just when I thought privacy couldn’t get any worse, this is sure to shake up movie goers.

The security firm, Arlia Sytems is planning to use infrared to detect the facial expressions of an individual’s face. It will use 3D facial recognition technology to determine things like whether the audience is looking at a certain ad, where on the screen their eyeballs are tracking and how targeted ads are being received.

Via dvice.com.


Vincenzo Natali’s “Splice”

Posted by on January 31st, 2010

Criminally under-appreciated Canadian director Vincenzo Natali (Cube) is making a welcome return to the big screen, with Splice.

This clip seems to be the online footage at the moment. 

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In fact, the film’s yet to be picked up for distribution – so keep an eye out at your local film festival, it might be your only chance to see it.

You can, however, watch this interview with Natali, where he talks not only Splice, but also his plans to adapt JG Ballard’s High Rise:

 


Exit Through The Gift Shop – A Banksy Film

Posted by on January 21st, 2010

That’s right.. seems street art legend Banksy done made himself a movie.

This here’s the trailer:

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Am I wrong in assuming he’ll just throw up a bittorrent server and we’ll all have our own guerrilla screenings?


Advertising At Its Best

Posted by on June 5th, 2009

From the movie ‘They Live’