Mitt Romney calls for World Peace. An Earth-sized planet discovered four light
years away, near Alpha Centauri A. The company Space-X launching low-orbit
supply ships. 3-D printers that fit in your den “replicating” whole objects.
It almost sounds like we’re nearing the age of… Star Trek.
It’s exciting to see the future coming at us faster than ever.
On the other hand, the whole can’t-we-all-everywhere-in-the-universe-just-get-along theme seems to be lagging a bit behind.
Which brings us to Captain Picard and his confrontation with Romulans in my (unofficial) “Inner Light” sequel, “THE OUTER LIGHT.” It reminds us that, however fast the future arrives and wherever in the galaxy we travel, human emotions will never be eradicated – and if they are, we will no longer be human.
It’s Picard’s emotional side I have tried to deal with in “THE OUTER LIGHT” with the help of co-writer Andre Duza and artist Don Aguillo. A friend told me just yesterday that he recently had his wife, a non-Trek fan, watch “Inner Light” for her first time. She cried at the end.
And yet, Picard continued on in his stoic way for several more seasons.
We’re at Episode 10 (below) with only one more to follow. I hope it brings Picard – and his fans – some closure. Finally.
Episode 6 of “THE OUTER LIGHT” is up – and speaking of sci-fi, I think POTUS needs a jolt of futuro fantasy in his campaign.
It was the show “THE NEWSROOM” on HBO that gave me the idea. Both “THE NEWSROOM” and CNN report to the same master, Time-Warner. I truly believe that Aaron Sorkin, all on his own, decided to take on the insipidity of the broadcast news business. But it is also not inconceivable that T-W said, “Hey, West Wing dude, how about juicing our ratings with a love letter to an old-style news operation like CNN?”
Which brings me to President Obama.
For his love letter, I picture a movie or miniseries in which a dude or dudette from the future drops in on 2012 Earth to tell us how poopy everything went after Romney won the election. Think of it like a “It’s a Really Not So Wonderful and Perhaps Even Sucky Life” – a look at the what-if scenarios associated with Obama’s defeat.
- The healthcare mandate will be repealed, photon-torpedoing Obamacare, and as a result the ballooning costs of healthcare tank the USA’s biggest corporations, forcing even more out-sourcing.
- India and China ride that wave and eventually join forces, forming Indochine, and when they run out of water they attack and colonize America. Our national dish became curried rice. (more…)
It’s a week since the excellent Phoenix Comicon and only a few days until the Creation Entertainment Star Trek con in Nashville and the release of Prometheus and my thoughts have turned to… robotics.
The trigger was the thought-provoking article in the new Economist magazine about robotic morality. That got me thinking about how differently robots are portrayed in pop culture.
At Phoenix – a general con with more TARDISES than Enterprises in sight – debates along the lines of Quien es mas macho, Star Trek o Star Wars (to borrow an old SNL routine) were frequent. It didn’t occur to me until reading the Economist article that the use of robots is one of the biggest differences. George Lucas peered into his crystal ball and correctly foresaw a future in which robots are utilitarian machines, each (more…)
Just a week ago we celebrated Martin Luther King Day and considered the fight of African-Americans for equality. Earlier in our history, woman went through a similar struggle.
Not too long from now it might be robotic entities fighting for equality – at least according to Hugo and Nebula Award-winning s.f. novelist Robert J. Sawyer. What makes Sawyer’s argument more cogent than most is that the artificial men and women whose lives he follows in his excellent 2005 novel Mindscan have very human minds. Three decades from now, he hypothesizes, the elderly or those with incurable diseases will be able to have their brains scanned and imbedded in humanoid robotic bodies.
It’s a blueprint for immortality – if you accept these new synthetic carriers of copied consciousness as full-fledged humans. (more…)
There’s a genre of science fiction novel about the appearance overnight of a new technology that radically changes mankind. Despite liking these stories – one of my favorites is James Halperin’s The Truth Machine – I was always of the mind that they bore no resemblance to reality. Advances in technology, I reasoned, creep up on us. They don’t pounce.
Hybrid cars are a good example. The first gasoline-electric car was developed in – can you guess? – 1901 by Ferdinand Porsche. It would be 94 more years before the Prius debuted as a concept car at the Tokyo Auto Show and another decade-and-a-half until today, when we can actually foresee a near future when all cars are either electric or hybrid. (I particularly like the idea of the Chevy Volt or the Prius Plug-in, which swing both ways.)
But I’m starting to think that reality could be catching up to fiction. Think about it: Minority Report, the movie, released in 2002 and set in 2054, has super-futuro, self-driving, wall-hugging cars that seem at least a century off… and motion control gloves that became outdated a year ago with the release of Xbox Kinect (which, not coincidentally, Minority Report director Steven Spielberg had a hand in developing). (more…)