Monthly Archives: October 2014

Internet Self Awareness

Internet Self Awareness

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When the Internet Finally Becomes Aware of Itself

 

Science Fiction has been contemplating this now to the point of cliché. A super-computer, now the Internet, becomes aware of its own existence and decides to wipe out humanity. From the sublime to kitsch, really peeved digital consciousness is out to get us. Some are even now seriously talking about the coming “singularity,” when a person can upload into a machine. Of course, many of these people think The Matrix is a documentary. Now why would a self-aware machine give itself away like that?

The similarity of this belief to a belief that these are the “end times” is shown in its hubris. We are it! There is no more evolution, society has reached its maximum potential, and all the signs in the stars are there, astronomical or astrological. The universe is done, time is done, God is done, life is done, right here at the corner of Wilshire and Beverly Glen. Yep, this is what all of history has been leading to, from Planck time to the building of Stonehenge: the collective self-awareness of E-Bay, Nerdist.com, and YouTube.

Honestly, should the Internet become aware of itself, there is something to be said for the interconnection of servers like synapses in brain cells, or the tails of the blue people connecting to the trees in Avatar, I’m not worried about it. Think about what fills the Internet, okay, there’s that and the PayPal account you don’t want your significant other to know about, but that other ubiquitous thing that dominates the digital domain:

 

Cat videos

 

Should the Internet become aware of its own existence, or simply become alive and act proactively, I truly don’t believe it will be seeking to set off nuclear missiles – have you seen what the government relies on to run nuclear missiles: Floppy Discs! Freakin’ floppy discs that actually are floppy. But perhaps there is a point; everyone who could hack them is in a retirement home in Florida – with their cats. Their cats playing piano, their cats lulling, their cats jumping off of roofs, their cats dressed as The Justice League, their cats snuggling, dreaming, acting like people, outsmarting the dog, and anything else a cat shouldn’t be able to do. There are even cats ordering things on the Internet, smoking, and fighting over the remote.

When the Internet becomes aware of itself, it will be a giant, world-sized feline. And why worry about that? What is a cat’s favorite thing to do: Ignore people. We may have to live with building sized balls of yarn and forgo any dairy as an offertory saucer to the great consciousness, but we’ll be fine. Long as there’s Meow Mix, everything will be okay. The man made consciousness will be shut down and sleeping twenty hours a day anyway.

Now for mice, the same may not hold true, computer and otherwise. The Walt Disney Company may want to rethink its classic characters. But who cares, didn’t those rodents bring about the Black Plague? The giant feline self-aware consciousness may very well save of us from the obvious coming Zombie Apocalypse. Now that’s real.

 

 

Cats are slowly taking over the world and we aren't noticing.

Cats are slowly taking over the world and we aren’t noticing.

 

 

 

Spoilers

Spoilers

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Spoiler

“It is a far, far better thing I do, a far better thing than I have done before…”

-Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

The guy dies at the end.  Sorry.

 

Okay, I’m disturbed by out of it I must be. I didn’t hear the new Star Wars VII latest spoiler for like, you know, a week. I have to check if there’s something wrong with my Twitter account. I am a Star Wars fan, but have lacked a certain amplitude of energy since the first films came out. I had to have every action figure, trading card, and still have my Princess Leia Barbie doll with hair I can style. (She has little white curly ribbons I felt she was lacking.) Of course, a whole freaking week is a change from when Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back first came out and we could really be blown out of our seats by Darth Vader’s big reveal. Don’t keep reading if you have lived on another planet for the past forty years: Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father! Damn!!!!!! It had been reported in Star Log two years prior, seems David Prowse, the guy in the Darth Vader suit, leaked that tiny bit of information. The disappearance of David Prowse from subsequent films and promotional material suggests his slip wasn’t appreciated. His was the only Darth Vader credit on the film in 1977. James Earl Jones got none. How things change and yet stay the same…

I was glad I read that Return of the Jedi had Luke and Leia as brother and sister before seeing the film. Didn’t like the twist, still don’t, and could harden my disappointment for it as the reveal came slowly, ploddingly. For all the criticism Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher have taken over the years about their performances in the films, I think they were freaking brilliant to pull that off. Still wasn’t ready for the Ewoks though. I love the Muppets, just didn’t expect them quite like that. Yoda worked but where was Miss Piggy and the Muppaphones for the Ewoks victory song?

And as I have been slowly lured into the excitement for Star Wars VII, I find myself taking a step back. Return of the Jedi disappointed me, but not enough to hurt my love wholly. It’s like realizing mom and dad are real people or your one true love actually does gastrointestinal problems at times. Still, I waited for a cheap matinee of Attack of the Clones and found myself looking around for the exit as the romantic dialogue ensued. (I don’t blame Christian Hayden and certainly not the awesome Natalie Portman. If they could have pulled off that dialogue, I would have to question them as actors.) Never did look around a theater before for a way to escape, even when there was a minor fire, just wondered if I would get my money back. I did end up liking Revenge of the Sith. Still, if the prequels didn’t have the words Star Wars in the titles, they would just be other films from the era. James Cameron really owned that particular time in pop culture. There is the Star Wars core audience, but it is the ubiquitous quality of the first films, The Wizard of Oz cultural saturation, that makes them unique and the stuff of academic analysis along with the subject of copious fan fiction. I was afraid to be happy about the possibility again, of a Star Wars sans George Lucas and his seeming lack of connection to his material and audience, but with J.J. Abrahams aAnd as I have been slowly lured into the excitement for Star Wars VII, I find myself taking a step back. Return of the Jedi disappointed me, but not enough to hurt my love wholly. It’s like realizing mom and dad are real people or your one true love actually does gastrointestinal problems at times. Still, I waited for a cheap matinee of Attack of the Clones and found myself looking around for the exit as the romantic dialogue ensued. (I don’t blame Christian Hayden and certainly not the awesome Natalie Portman. If they could have pulled off that dialogue, I would have to question them as actors.) Never did look around a theater before for a way to escape, even when there was a minor fire, just wondered if I would get my money back. I did end up liking Revenge of the Sith. Still, ifok around a theater before for a way to escape, even when there was a minor fire, just the prequels didn’t have the words Star Wars in the titles, they would just be other films from the era. James Cameron really owned that particular time in pop culture. There is the Star Wars core audience, but it is the ubiquitous quality of the first films, The Wizard of Oz cultural saturation, that makes them unique and the stuff of academic analysis along with nd Kathleen Kennedy and the Disney machine behind it. Anticipation still built, Luke, Leia, and Han were coming back! I was seduced again, to the dark or light side, I can’t quite recognize.

The supposed leaked image of Luke’s bionic hand falling to the surface of Tatooine from the initial word roll in the new film made my eyes a little moist when. That Kevin Smith was teary-eyed leaving the set in England made a kind of sense to me with that evocative idea running through my head. I am of the first Star Wars generation. I saw it at the movies as a kid and had my world rocked. For everyone who comes after, we want you to love it too, The Wizard of Oz wasn’t beloved until it was on television, but that wasn’t Star Wars fate. Sorry kids, but we old folks in our forties are the ones who were effected by and in return, infused all that energy into Star Wars. I wasn’t there for Gone with the Wind, but I was there for Star Wars. I feel some generational ownership of the mythos. I may appreciate the music from Woodstock, but I wasn’t there. I was at the Loews in Pittsford, New York in 1977.

So now for the real spoiler that has been suggested: Luke is the villain in the new film. It’s from the extended universe of Star Wars material that I always felt, no pun intended, Luke warm about. And if you’re like most Internet readers, you haven’t gotten this far so I’m not doing too much to disseminate the rumor. I’m kind of hoping that J.J. Abrahams is teasing us, and he has some sensibilities about such build-ups, but I also suspect with the time pressures of making Star Wars VII he doesn’t have a whole lot of energy to carefully craft on-line leaks to go viral a year out from a release date. I had seen pictures and production leaks that Luke had isolated himself as a monk in an “other galaxy Ireland.” A lot of attention has been paid to Mark Hamill’s beard. – It should have its own contract. Personally, I kind of like it. But I always was in love with him so I don’t have a whole lotta credibility on that subject – never did move on to Han Solo.

Is Luke tempted by the dark side? Of course. One of the ringing problems with the first three films is Luke’s real lack of temptation, of slipping. He gets pissed when Leia is threatened. That does not make for a bad man. In fact, another reaction might be slightly disturbing. The rebellion is blowing up things with lots of, I don’t know, clones on it, and Obi-Wan and Yoda want Luke to kill his own father. Luke is the only truly good Jedi in the lot. He lacks personal agenda. He gets a bigger picture than that the Jedi Order failed to perceive. Compassion is more important than the church, uh, Jedi Temple. But Luke isn’t martyred nor off on a normal life after saving the galazy: huge, wonking problem with Return of the Jedi. Luke’s story is truncated to the point of not being resolved. Part of why we want another Star Wars film thirty some odd years later and it’s not a television movie on Friday night.

But is beloved Luke Skywalker the next Darth Vader?

Way back when, when we actually had a dial phone, touch tone was available but we were cheap, went to the library to look up things in encyclopedias, music was played on vinyl, and a happy home had a Hammond organ in the living room, a friend of mine, Sherry, did say she always thought Darth Vader was Luke’s father. She said: it kind of had to be. I believe her. A little kid might have an insight like that. I never saw it.

What I always thought was that it was a King Arthur redux. Obi-Wan and Anakin were in love with the same woman, she was married to Anakin but something happened with Obi-Wan, and Anakin turned to the dark side after the betrayal. Honestly, I still think that would have propelled the sequels a little more strongly than the sudden desire for power Anakin Skywalker exhibits. The whole thing would play out again with Luke, Leia, and Han. The brother sister thing wouldn’t exist, and Luke would be tempted to turn to the dark side to get rid of his rival – and best friend. But he would make a different choice than his father. Being a fantasy film from Hollywood, Luke could go on to save the galaxy, find a nice wife, and make little Jedis for the future. That’s close-ended. We didn’t get that. George Lucas did have personal issues around the time of the making of Return of the Jedi and I suspect it informed the course of the movie and franchise quite a bit. Romantic rivalry wasn’t something he wanted to explore.

So we have what we have. Still, Luke is unresolved: I have written about this before. Whether we take a Biblical or Arthurian approach, Luke hasn’t finished an arc.

But Luke as the villain? Too cute by half. Tempted yes. But do I suspect a sad but noble ending for the White Night. Yes. But let’s stop spoiling for a while. Take a lesson from David Prowse.

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