Archive for the ‘On the Circumference’ Category

On the Circumference #6: AlphaGo, wake me up Echo

March 21, 2016

On the Circumference #6: AlphaGo, wake me up Echo

The On the Circumference posts contain short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Retrofitting TMCGTT

Our

The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip

went live at The History Project on February 29th (figuring that would be an easy date to remember), but I haven’t done much promotion of it yet (outside of my own blogs).

The History Project has mentioned it, as did Len Edgerly of

The Kindle Chronicles

also tweeted about it.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of work on it. Part of it is adding new things (you can see what I’ve been adding by following the special Twitter account I set up for it, @TMCGTT). However, the biggest work lately has been “retrofitting” earlier entries.

I started out just copying in a bunch of events from

The Measured Circle Pop Culture Timeline

However, I later decided I wanted the entries to be interactive: I want you, when I can, legally, to be able to jump from an entry to being able to read a book/magazine/comic, watch a movie/TV show, listen to a radio show, and so on.

If that’s not the case, I want you to be able to use it as a portal, to jump to news (Google news search, Twitter search…).

Where I can find public domain pictures, I’ve been adding at least one of those as well.

So, I’ve been going back to existing entries…it takes a while.

I could probably improve entries forever, so I set myself a date for when I’ll start promoting it a bit outside my circle (so to speak).

That will be April 2nd.

I may compose an announcement, but I will at least follow some Twitter accounts (The Mary Sue, Entertainment Weekly…)

Go, Go Gadget AI!

When I work with people on their use of technology, I like to explain what they should expect the computer to do best and what the human should do best.

What computers do better than we do is the same thing over and over again. People are terrible at that.

What humans do better than computers, hypothetically, is make decisions.

So, if you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again, or if there are specific rules that govern what should be done, let the computer do it. If a decision has to be made, you should do it.

However, as I like to point out, computers are getting better at making decisions…and arguably, we are getting worse at doing the same thing over and over again. 😉

That’s why they are catching up to us. 🙂

We saw that recently when Google’s Deep Mind AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol, a human champion, in Go:

Nature post by Mark Zastrow

Yes, Lee did win one of the best of five match…there has been a lot of analysis of what happened there, but maybe AlphaGo just didn’t want to appear to be too powerful. 😉

I used to manage a gamestore, and Go players were serious and sure that their game was more difficult than chess. One argument they would make: you can be a chess prodigy in your teens, but you a Go prodigy in your 50s. 🙂

Indiana Jones 5

After great success in the Force Awakens, Harrison Ford will star in

Indiana Jones 5

which is scheduled to be released on July 19, 2019. Ford will have just turned 77.

There have been a lot of jokes about Harrison Ford’s age…because, you know, that wouldn’t get you reprimanded by HR at work. 😉

Look, I like that a character like Indiana Jones can age. Why cut off all those possible stories at a certain age? You can always go back and do younger stories again if you want.

In the world of Alexa…

Some short points about the  Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) and the Alexa Voice Service:

  • “I’m okay, you’re da-DING”: I’ve seen a lot of complaints about this, and I certainly preferred it the old way. When I now ask our Echo to use our home automation to turn a light on or off (for example), instead of a charming “Okay”, it makes a two-beat sound. They should at least give us the option…I like that my Echo talks to me; that’s one of the main points. I don’t think there’s any technical reason for it, because she still verbally responds to my requests which go to IFTTT (If This Then That)
  • You can now set recurring alarms! That’s great for me…I’m sometimes exercising when my alarm goes off on my tablet, and I have to break my routine to stop it. Now, I can just do it verbally
  • There are now 40 (!) pages of skills! You can also choose to just look at the skills you’ve enabled, if you like
  • For more information on the Echo and Alexa, see The Measured Circle’s Echo Central

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard 

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

On the Circumference #5: Batkid, Doc Savage movie update

November 15, 2013

On the Circumference #5: Batkid, Doc Savage movie update

The On the Circumference posts contain short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Doc Savage movie still in the works

I first wrote about a new Doc Savage movie more than three and a half years ago. Movies languish, but interestingly, Shane Black is not only still involved with this one, but gave a recent interview (in September of this year) on the progress

COMINGSOON.NET article

Since 2010, Shane Black has made a little $400 million dogro (domestic gross) movie, Iron Man 3…which should give him a bit more clout in the decision making about Doc Savage.

Clearly, there are still decisions to be made.

One concern he expresses in the video linked in the article above, is Doc’s…perfectness.

I can give you the easy insight into that one (hope you see this, Mr. Black).

Doc doesn’t think he is perfect: other people do. That’s similar to two of my other fictional heroes: Mr. Spock and Kwai Chang Caine. It was quite a revelation for me when I realized that they are all emotionally repressed, all extraordinary fighters…and all believe themselves to be failures.

For Doc, you can see that in how he adopts his “no-kill” policy…that’s the root of the character.

Doc also knows about his inability to connect to people (especially women…he can always tell when a man is lying, and can’t tell when a woman is lying) very well.

That’s the key: Doc isn’t brave because he believes he is infallible, or distant because he thinks he is above other people. He is brave because he feels he owes the world for his mistakes, and he probably honestly feels that it might be better off without him (although he rationally knows that’s not the case). He is distant because of insecurity with others, not because of a sense of superiority.

No release date set yet…

Bill Hader: #1 with a meatball

Thanks to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 breaking $100m dogro, Bill Hader has debuted at #1 on our

2013 The Measured Circle’s Box Office MVPs list

with almost $725 million in dogro this year (only counting movies that dogroed at least $40 million).

The next four were all in Iron Man 3, while Hader is Marvel-free this year.

Batkid save Lou Seal!

I love this story!

A five-year old Make-a-Wish kid wanted to be Batman…and a city in my area, San Francisco, went all out to make it happen. You can see some of the coverage here:

KGO ABC 7 story
KGO ABC 7 photos

although there has been (in my opinion, appropriately) national coverage of it.

Thousands turned out to cheer on the superhero as he rescued the Giants’ mascot from the Penguin, dealt with the Riddler and the Joker, and the Mayor and the Police Chief were involved.

That’s the power of geekery!

Set your reminders for December 2015

Well, this release schedule won’t last, but December 2015 is currently scheduled to be a great month for geeks in the movie theatres!

  • December 11: Alvin and the Chipmunks 4
  • December 18: Inferno (Robert Langdon), Star Wars: Episode VII, Warcraft (based on the World of Warcraft)
  • December 18: Kung Fu Panda 3, Mission:Impossible 5

I don’t think there is any way they will actually open Warcraft against Star Wars…and guess who will have to move? 😉

And on TV…

Will these make it to series?

  • A TV series based on Ghost (pottery wheel opening credits optional)
  • A TV series based on 12 Monkeys
  • A TV series based on The Exorcist
  • Tales from the Darkside reboot
  • Flash reboot
  • And inevitably…a reboot of Reboot (it’s coming up on its 20 year anniversary…really)

Robot just doing its job…

There seems to be a lot of effort to make this sound like a terrible thing. According to this

SFGate article by Henry K. Lee

and other sources, a Muni (public transit) driver stepped out of the vehicle…and it decided to just keep going on to the next stop.

It was on auto mode (driving itself), and we’ve been assured it would simply have continued doing what it was supposed to do, including stopping and opening the doors for people to exit.

Naturally, anti-robotic activists want to make this sound horrible. It was suggested that the robot wouldn’t have stopped if there was a person on the tracks.

Well, that’s easy: they should have collision avoidance systems.

However, if they did, they might not need human drivers at all…and there are people who wouldn’t want that to happen, which I can understand. I also understand the passengers having been frightened, since they didn’t know what was happening (and pulled the emergency stop…which worked).

We’ll get used to the idea of driverless vehicles before too long. According to this

The Verge article by Rich McCormick

Britain already has employed driverless cars, and there are plans for more in more places.

Google was leading the way (and may still be, for cars that would drive the same streets with human drivers), but the USA could fall behind on this if we aren’t careful.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them

On the Circumference #4: Keep on Rowling, more than twice as many Americans believe UFOs could be ETs than believe in non-divine evolution?

September 13, 2013

On the Circumference #4: Keep on Rowling, more than twice as many Americans believe UFOs could be ETs than believe in non-divine evolution?*

The On the Circumference posts contain short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Everything old is new again

Despite our analysis showing that original movies may actually be less risky (you can get a higher percentage return on your dollar) than sequels, sidequels, and remakes, we will continue to see them.

Why?

For one thing, they can make gross more, even if the risk is higher. When we look at movies based on their dogro (domestic gross), every single one of them over $200 million so far this year is a non-original. That’s attractive to investors, and is great for ancillary sales, like toys and video streaming rights. A higher gross means more people see it (and know about it), so if you think of the movie as marketing for the ancillaries, big is better.

For another, some of the best, most beloved movies have been non-originals. Rebooting/reimagining can be just as artistically satisfying as doing something original.

So, what is some of the news in S/PSR (Sequels/Prequels Sidequels Remakes)?

  • The fourth Jurassic Park movie (Jurassic World) now has a release date of June 12, 2015.  Don’t be too quick to dismiss this one, in terms of geek values. The director is Colin Trevorrow of Safety Not Guaranteed, which is one of the movies I’ve recommended to people a few times in the last couple of years. Even though it was imperfect, it was interesting and had a deft hand and a geeky perspective
  • From Jurassic World to a Westorld remake…HBO has ordered a pilot from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, to be written and directed by Jonathan Nolan (Person of Interest, The Dark Knight)
  • There are some ways to judge the extent of fandom for something. Does it have a Wikia? How many page views is it getting on Wikipedia? (http://stats.grok.se/) How much is there about it at FanFiction.net? None of those would suggest that The Fall Guy with Lee Majors is especially ripe for a big screen remake, but according to this Hollywood Reporter article by Borys Kit, Tatiana Siegel, McG and Dwayne Johnson might be making one

J.K. Rowling and the Potterless Screenplay

Harry Potter fans can look forward to a sidequel based on Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them, according to this

The Hollywood Reporter article by Andy Lewis

The movie will actually be written by Rowling, and should feature magizoologist Newt Scamander’s treks to observe and record magical beasts, which could certainly have some interesting cryptozoological allusions. The movie will reportedly take place 70 years before the Harry Potter books (before the first one, I presume) so you won’t see the familiar characters…except, perhaps, a young Dumbledore. The book (which  benefited  charity) included marginalia from the Potter kids, so we might get some sort of commentary from them…I’m thinking that might be fun on the DVD, where they could use the original actors without worrying about aging or requiring too much of their time.

HuffPo: “48 Percent Of Americans Believe UFOs Could Be ET Visitations”

This Huffington Post article by Lee Spiegel

reports a new poll conducted by the HuffPo and YouGov which indicates that 48% of American respondents at least slightly agree that “some people have witnessed UFOs that have an extraterrestrial origin.”

It’s an odd wording that allows for a lot of flexibility in interpretation.

For example, some people have apparently identified Mars, Venus, and even the moon as UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects). If you have heard those stories, you would agree with the statement in the poll…it doesn’t say that these are extraterrestrial craft.

On the other hand, you could believe that people have seen something in the sky outside our current paradigm and not believe it was extraterrestrial: it could have been a time traveler, extradimensional, from the hollow Earth, a psychic projection, or simply truly unidentified by you. In all of those cases (and there are others), you would not agree with them having an extraterrestrial origin.

They didn’t put it in the headline, but they also asked a question about ghosts…and that one came out with 60% agreeing that people have experienced ghosts. That’s considerably higher than the UFO positive responses.

I would probably have answered “not sure” to both questions, since saying that you are “sure” indicates a belief in something to me, and I like to keep an open mind.

TV: Heroes of Cosplay

I have been watching Heroes of Cosplay on Syfy, although it is a bit unusual.

It’s been sort of paired with Face Off, but they even the same kind of show.

Face Off is a competition elimination reality show…the contestants are given challenges, and the weakest result goes home each week.

Heroes of Cosplay is more of a documentary. The cosplayers (people who dress in costumes which, in this case, they make, and act like the characters they represent…costumed play) go from con to con to compete in the convention’s costume contests.

It’s a bit weird: it’s entirely possible that none of the people we have been following will win.

Seeing their personalities and some about how they build the costumes has it’s attractions. However, thinking of it as a story doesn’t really work. It’s sort of like…following all the characters from the Avengers, and then when something happens, the police just show up and arrest the crook.

I can appreciate the artistry, but the cosplayers can be quite…unpleasant to each other. They clearly can’t be making money just on the contests, since the top prize I’ve heard announced is $1,000, and it is likely to cost more than that to make the costume (I’m guessing $500 in some cases) and travel to the con and stay in the hotel room and such.

Of course, the producers of the show may be helping with expenses…and no question that there is an observer effect in play here. We aren’t exactly watching the cosplayers as they would normally behave: they know the cameras are there, and I think they have been trying things that are atypical for them because they think it makes better TV.

I want to be clear that I admire their art. I’ve done some fun Halloween costumes, and I did watch all 5 Planet of the Apes movies in a movie theatre…in an ape suit. I used to do some special effects make up (nothing as fancy as you see nowadays). It’s just that, for the most part, it seems like they aren’t having a lot of fun…and that’s kind of the point, right?

* My headline is a bit of an overstatement, as I explained above, concerning the origin of UFOs…that’s why the question mark is there. According to another YouGov poll, only 21% (less than half of the 48% cited in the UFO poll) believe human beings evolved in a non-God-guided process

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

On the Circumference #3: 3-D scanning, Batfleck

August 25, 2013

On the Circumference #3: 3-D scanning, Batfleck

The On the Circumference posts contain short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Recent passings

We were sorry to hear of the passing of these contributors to geek-friendly movies and TV:

  • Karen Black, August 8 : we had written on March 25 about Karen Black crowdfunding her cancer treatment. At the time, I noted how impactful Trilogy of Terror had been, and that was only one of her geek-friendly credits
  • Dennis Farina, July 22: Farina was deservedly cited for his work on Law & Order in mainstream obituaries. For geeks, he is also known for having voiced Wildcat (Ted Grant), a Silver Age costumed hero who appeared twice in the animated Justice League series
  • Richard Griffiths, March 28:  Griffiths was one of our 2011 Box Office MVPs for his work in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Hugo, but may be best known to geeks as Uncle Vernon Dudsley from the Harry Potter movies
  • Haji, August 9: A star of Russ Meyers’ Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Haji also appeared in Robert Slatzer’s Bigfoot versus bikers movie (called simply Bigfoot) opposite John Carradine, Wham! Bam! Thank you, Spaceman, and the Double-D Avenger
  • Gilbert Taylor, August 23: Some of the most visually stunning geek movies have Gilbert Taylor to thank for the cinematography: Star Wars; The Omen; and Flash Gordon (1980) (among others). Taylor had also worked on several episodes of the  John Steed The Avengers

Ben Affleck cast as Batman

There has been a lot of controversy about the recent casting of Ben Affleck as Batman for the 2015 Batman vs. Superman movie.

Joss Whedon and others have made statements in support of the choice (Hollywood Reporter article by Sophie Shillaci), while some fans have started petitions and social media campaigns against the choice.

Personally, I’m not happy about the decision, but I wish the production success with it.

My concern is that it is difficult (but not impossible) for a celebrity to successfully play a superhero. After all, superheroes are already celebrities…we know their strengths and their weaknesses, their social habits, and all about their love lives (if any). I think Ben Affleck is a good actor (and a great director, by the way), and can probably craft a good enough performance as Batman/Bruce Wayne. I just think that you can’t help but see Ben Affleck, and that’s going to overlay our perceptions of the character.

Think about the most culturally impactful portrayals of superheroes. Quick, what was Hugh Jackman doing before Wolverine? Christopher Reeve? Adam West, for that matter?

They were all actors, with screen credits…but they weren’t really celebrities. The average person didn’t walk into the theatre feeling like they knew all about them.

One could present a couple of counter arguments. Michael Keaton was on the A-List (with a recent big hit starring in Beetlejuice) when he first donned the cowl. However, while the Tim Burton movie really did reboot the character, was Keaton’s portrayal embraced by the fans? How often do you see Keaton Batman cosplay at a convention?

Now, there is no denying that Robert Downey, Jr. was a tabloid figure before Iron Man. I’ll give you that one, even if it was a big turning point in his career. I think one reason for that is that the Tony Stark character was not that far from the Downey mythos. That wasn’t a big case of cognitive dissonance.

Do we think of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman like? I’d say we don’t…I certainly don’t think of him as an upper class sophisticate.

I also understand the feeling that Ben Affleck had a chance at playing a superhero (Daredevil), and that wasn’t the most successful one for Marvel. Other actors have played more than one superhero, but it’s as rare and hard to do as playing two professional sports at the highest level.

I would rather have seen an unknown or little-known in the part, but I’ll hope for the best.

Did anyone check with Andre Delambre on this one? 😉

Okay, one of the high-tech innovations I haven’t used (or even seen in person) yet is a 3-D printer.

It still sounds to me like the replicator, or in some ideas of how they worked, the transporter. The latter is usually thought of as actually beaming the component parts (physically transporting something), but there is a pattern of the person stored, and they can be “reconstructed” from that. Another idea (things weren’t all that well explained in the beginning) is that the object was disassembled to determine its make-up, and then the pattern was used to create a replica in a distant location from locally available materials.

In reality, I think the 3-D printer works more like the Creepy Crawlers Thingmaker. The material out of which the shape is made doesn’t have to have any special similarities to the material of the original (that’s why, as Makerbot helpfully explains, you can’t print a 3-D hamburger and then eat it).

However, it is still somewhat mind-blowing. 😉

The next thing from Makerbot is the

Digitizer

being released in mid-October.

You’ll be able to scan an object, and then 3-D print it.

It certainly appears to me that I could scan it in Los Angeles and have somebody print it in New York.

Not only that, they cheerfully tell you that you can alter the pattern: scan a garden gnome, and add a hat or more beard, for example.

They also explain that it isn’t designed to scan and reproduce living things…

What’s the opposite of cryptozoology?

The “discovery” of the olinguito recently got a great deal of coverage, some of it a bit…well, inexact, perhaps.

It’s a cute little mammal…sort of looks like a kinkajou, but only a couple of pounds…perhaps a quarter of the weight of your small housecat!

This, however, isn’t like traditional cryptozoology. There weren’t a lot of reports of it and no specimens…there were specimens with no reports. Those are specimens in museums, and even a living one that was shipped from zoo to zoo because it didn’t get along with the “other olingos”…when it wasn’t one.

It took someone noticing that the remains in museums weren’t actually from an olingo to get the ball rolling.

Loren Coleman article

This is not the first time an animal has been discovered in a museum.

For example, something similar happened with the bonobo, a species of great ape that had been misidentified as a small chimpanzee. In reality, chimps and bonobos behavior is pretty different…with the very active and…let’s call it flexible sex lives of the latter being commonly referenced.

Because humans have proven to be such reliable decision makers…

This

PNJ.com article by Troy Moon

has a great video and accompanying text about the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition having received a humanoid robot (an “Atlas” model) since they won a contest…no, they didn’t have to send in boxtops. 😉

They are going to compete, in December 2014, in a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) test that puts humanoid robots into real life situations.

I have to say, Atlas reminds me a bit of Tobor the Great…I think it’s the general bulkiness. However, I do think Atlas looks cooler, with some sort of Whovian-looking panel on the chest.

In the video, they make a point that they don’t do artificial intelligence, which I think is supposed to be reassuring (this is a big, powerful robot). I think I’d be more comfortable with something that feels it has a personal stake in its interactions (as opposed to something that can be very low risk for its controller), but that might just be me. 😉

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle

On the Circumference #2: Batman vs. Superman, how smart is AI?

August 6, 2013

On the Circumference #2: Batman vs. Superman, how smart is AI?

The On the Circumference posts contain short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

New Doctor Who

We are often thrilled watching Doctor Who with the prospect of going anywhere in space and time.

Wouldn’t you think, after a thousand years or so, the Doctor would embrace the prospect of being something besides a white British male? 😉

Batman vs. Superman

Perhaps the biggest news to come out of San Diego Comic-Con was that the sequel to Man of Steel was going to be a Batman versus Superman movie.

When I said that to someone, the response I got was, “How does that work?”

The idea that many people have is that Superman is so powerful, and well, Batman is just a human being.

However, it works the same way that Captain Kirk can defeat so many super-powerful beings…you out-smart them, or at least, out-talk them.

As to how two “good guys” would be opposed to each other, that seems obvious to me in this case.

This Superman isn’t like the Superman in the comics (for more information on that, see my post, The Spoiler Zone: the real problem with Man of Steel). Based on the events in Man of Steel, I would be sure that there were people in the government who would like to get the Last Son of Krypton off of this planet, one way or another. SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: the other Kryptonians in that movie are petulant, violent, driven by emotion…and super powerful. Not a good combination.

It’s very easy for me to see a secret decision being made to get rid of Superman, by any means necessary…can’t you just see the military and intelligence leaders gathered in a room discussing it?

General: “Look, this alien is a menace, plain and simple. He may look human, but he sure doesn’t act human.”

Science Advisor: “Actually, that might be the problem. He acts too human…like a three-year old child with a lack of impulse control.”

Admiral:  “Well, if what you are describing as a three-year old child throws a temper tantrum, we’re looking at a scene of mass devastation.”

Secretary: “Agreed. What do you propose do about the situation?”

General: “Take him out…now.”

Secretary: “And how exactly would you do that?”

Science Advisor: “We don’t yet know the limits of his powers, but I’m sure something could be developed.”

General: “I’ve got a few things we could try.”

Secretary: “I’m sure you do, but we can’t just shoot him out of the sky. As far as the  voting public is concerned, this ‘Superman’ saved the planet Earth when you couldn’t do it. His favorability ratings are higher than the President’s, higher than mine…and a lot higher than anybody else’s in this room. No, we need plausible deniability on this…I wonder if we can get the Russians…”

Admiral: “What about the Batman?”

General: “That crazy vigilante in Gotham City?”

Admiral: “He might be crazy, but he could be just the man to get this job done. The Police Commissioner out there, Gordon, is an old friend of mine. He’s told me some stories about the tech this guy uses, and if he isn’t a scientist, he has access to some that aren’t on our books. All we have to do is convince him to go after the alien, and let him figure it out.”

Secretary: “I like it. Besides, if he fails, we can always try something else…and if he dies, well, one less oddball to worry about…”

Genre glory at The Television Critics Association Awards

The Emmys may get the glory, but the TCAs just might be getting it right (at least as far as geeks are concerned).

The TCA winner for Individual Achievement in Drama went to Tatiana Maslany, star of Orphan Black. Note that this is one of two acting awards…the TCAs don’t segregate acting by gender, the other award is for comedy.

The Outstanding Achievement in Drama went to Game of Thrones, which is nominated for an Emmy…but we’ll see what the Academy does on September 22nd.

War of the worlds?

India has a very long history of achievement in the science of astronomy, and that’s part of what made the information reported in this

BBC News article

(and other places) so surprising.

Allegedly, the Indian military tracked what they suspected were Chinese drones over their territory for six months…before being informed that what they had been seeing were Mars and Venus…

AI takes an IQ test…and does as well as a 4-year old human

Artificial intelligence is increasing, and soon, the question will not be whether it is coming or not, but what we do with it now that it’s here.

In this

press release

it’s reported that ConceptNet 4, developed at MIT, was given a standard intelligence test…and performed as well as a four-year old child.

However, the areas of strength were inconsistent. As stated in the article

“‘If a child had scores that varied this much, it might be a symptom that something was wrong,’ said Robert Sloan, professor and head of computer science at UIC, and one of the study’s authors.”

Oh, yes, we geeks know that issue well. An artificial intelligence that might be (eventually) faster and better than humans at some things…but might lack “common sense”, or “morality”.

Sometimes, you don’t want to have been right… 😉

The Measured Circle is a defender of robot rights, and we aren’t suggesting that there is anything dangerous about ConceptNet 4…we congratulate the system on its good scores. 😉

My mini-take on…2 Guns

My  Significant Other picked 2 Guns to see this weekend.

It did quite well at the box office, but I’m not convinced that it is going to have a lot of staying power.

Simply put, we didn’t really like it.

Oh, we always like going to the movies, and we like Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.

However, they didn’t have much chemistry, and the whole movie (despite being about some very visceral things) just wasn’t very involving.

It got splatted on Rotten Tomatoes, and was a solid C rating on MRQe…not good signs.

Oh, well…maybe next movie.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle

On the Circumference #1: Pern, Stooges, PotA, and more

April 15, 2011

On the Circumference #1: Pern, Stooges, PotA, and more

This is the first in a series of round-up posts, with short reports on a variety of topics.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes gets a trailer

Am I a big Planet of the Apes fan?  Well, I did sit through a marathon of all five movies…in  a theatre…in an ape suit.  🙂

I’m looking forward to the new movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, scheduled for US release on August 5th.  James Franco is a star, with a lot of other interesting people (including John Lithgow, who probably won’t call anybody “monkey-boy”*).  I’m big about not seeing spoilers (I usually won’t read in-depth articles about movies I plan to see until after I’ve seen them), but I did check out the trailer, linked here on TotalFilm:

TotalFilm article

Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern to be a movie

David Hayter, screenwriter of The X-Men and The Watchmen, is reportedly adapting Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight (1968), the first of the Dragonriders of Pern series.  This is dragons on another planet that telepathically bond with their riders…and yes, it might have had a bigger impact if a movie version had beaten Avatar. 

The Hollywood Reporter article 

Who will be Moe?

I think we may get the announcement tomorrow about who is playing Moe in the http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0383010/  Farrelly Brothers’ version of The Three Stooges, joining Will Sasso as Curly, and probably Sean Hayes as Larry.  Moe is the leader of the Stooges, easily frustrated, but definitely a dreamer.  I was thinking that Johnny Galecki (Leonard on The Big Bang Theory) might be a good choice.  He looks a bit like Moe…and I think he could play it.  Could he come off as bossy enough?  Yeah, I think so.  I still sort of think of him from Roseanne, so it was nice to see he is about the same age as Sasso.  🙂  Of course, at 5′ 5″, he’s quite a bit shorter than Sasso or Hayes…but almost the same height as Moe Howard.  😉  Who do you think?  Maybe…Steve Carell?  He is a few inches taller…

Game of Thrones

Just a reminder that Game of Thrones starts at 9:00 PM this Sunday on HBO.  It won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but I suspect some people will really like it.  It’s based on George R.R. Martin’s book series…it is an open-ended TV series, and it looks like a second season will be likely.  Other series starting dates coming? 

  • Okay, not a series, but The Fall of Sam Axe Burn Notice prequel movie is April 17 at 9:00 PM on USA (Bruce Campbell)…the series returns June 23
  • Doctor Who is April 23rd at 9:00 PM on BBC America (the Doctor meets Richard Nixon!)
  • Teen Wolf will be June 5th at 11:00 PM on MTV (based on, but with a different tone than, the Michael J. Fox movie)
  • Falling Skies on June 19 at 9:00 PM on TNT (Steven Spielberg exec produces an alien invasion series)
  • True Blood is June 26 at 9:00 PM on HBO
  • Torchwood will by July 8th at 10:00 PM on Starz

* Lithgow used the epithet as the non-primate Lord Whorfin in Buckaroo Banzai

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle. 

 

 


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