RE: REQUEST: Singularity Glossary

Jason Plog (
Sat, 2 Aug 1997 03:59:43 -0700

> Ultimately, I'd like to provide a story that could be made into film
> that has the optimistic impact of "Contact" and not promote the scare
> tactics of oldies like "Colossus: The Forbin Project" or newer ones
> like "The Web" or (gag!) "Virtuosity" just because the
> artistically-deprived and generally bored people of our culture will
> lap up anything that has a few moments of dazzle, suspense or
> intrigue, even if the bulk of the offering is laden with predictable
> outcomes, black "plot" holes and generally require wild suspension of
> disbelief merely to enjoy the 1.5 to 2 hours.

I've been trying to do the exact same thing. The problems I find are: trying
to be optimistic and still hold the attention of todays audience (who have
been made to believe genetic engineering will create mosters and AI's will
eat their children) and trying to present highly complex, world changing
technologies in a way the audience would understand. For instance, how do
you show nano-technology or uploading in a movie (without resorting to "I can
feel something... something strange... entering... my... body... something
small... almost nanoscopical in size" or "as you can see, virtual reality
technology has progressed so far that everything in here looks _exactly_ like
it does in the real world!").


Two small steps

For uploading, visit your local Blockbuster Video and rent the beautifully made
"Ghost In The Shell". You'll find it in the Japanese animation section. It does a
better than average job of discussing problems involving synthetic intelligence
and mind alteration. Quite a bit more intelligent than most SF I have seen.
shows both positive and negative impacts of advanced technology. The film
Includes first person perspective scenes of something very close to an upload.
Does not directly paint a world suffused with nanotechnology - mostly advanced
robotics applied to body/mind augmentation and a willful AI, but this is fleshed
out well. Had to suspend far less to enjoy this film than most of the Hollywood's
dazzle fodder.

For a much more flawed film, take a look at "Deep Reds". This little B - film
takes a shot at showing the impact of a limited general cell-repair technology on
a group of people. Story is moved along by the machinations of the requisite
bad guy/mad scientist while the source of the technology is provided by an unseen
alien culture. Despite this, the film does not make the technology into the enemy.