Who Needs People?

If you think this looks like a movie or a video game you’re only quarter right. Everything you see in this video is calculated in real time by a computer. The tanks. The bricks tumbling. The little soldiers moving through the debris. As the video states, nothing here is pre-calculated, it’s all based on Artificial Intelligence. Each soldier “thinks” about the best way to get through the rubble.

Some questions: If you switch the semiotics and understand the collapsing buildings as, let’s say, a news event that has exploded onto the mediascape, what would that make the soldiers and the tanks?

As we consider the fact that the newest forms of media camouflage themselves in the trappings of the previous generation, simulated war becomes the camouflage for exactly WHAT?

Humans can only introduce the new in the context of the old. Computers are allowing us to find the very edge of this capacity – that is, they allow us to put things into motion that easily surpass the initial conditions that we set up.

What are the ramifications of humans setting up situations that they don’t control? No apocalypses please, as the end-of-the-world judgement is nothing more than a romantic fantasy.

This just in! (Worth the read)

Oh, and check the machine-generated spam blog. Truly weird. We are but a step away from having software agents at our disposal who will peruse sites like this on our behalf looking for “bargains” and maybe even buying stuff for us if we give them permission. This is the beginning of what the human-free society will look like.

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5 Responses to “Who Needs People?”

  1. starrycloud9 Says:

    That’s a really cool video. I like how the lowfi bricks contrast the hifi character movements. As for the the proposition. If the buildings represented breaking news events, the soldiers running around the events could be perhaps interpreted as conscientious watcher who avoid and traverse the media landscape toward some kind of truth? And as for ‘What are the ramifications of humans setting up situations that they don’t control?’ I think humans have probably been doing that for a while now. But I have to think more about that.

  2. I like this video as well, it really makes you think about what is becoming possible in terms of technology and computers. I agree that computers allow us to surpass the initial conditions that were set up and things like artificial intelligence allow us to push this further and further into a new direction. It is undiscovered territory and we can only imagine what will come out of it. Personally, I feel that this cannot turn out well. Coincidentally, I was watching I, Robot today and I feel this is where we are headed in technology. Not in terms of the end of the world scenario, that was just for the dramatic effect of the movie, but we are headed in that direction of machines controlling humans. In the movie, after the humans set up the robots and ideally made them perfectly suited to serve humans, the robots took the laws to an extreme and eventually went overboard. For the movies sake, it ended with Will Smith destroying the main machine and savin the human race. In reality, I feel that when dealing with these kinds of technology and AI, no matter how many precautions we take and rules we set up, the more we deal with creating situations and machines that we don’t control, the more likely we will be the ones under control. Whether it is being controlled by robots who are trying to fight us, or if its robots controlling us because of their realization that we can’t control ourselves, it doesn’t look good.

  3. camouflageculture Says:

    We know that Smith was in “I, Robot” because he’s a bankable star. Bankable stars guarantee a certain number of asses (duracell batteries) in seats. Asses are attracted by a combination of star and narrative. The narrative of one man, an anachronistic one at that, fighting off the future is purebred American.

    How does Mr. Smith add complexity to this formula? He is obviously *black* in the “stereotypical” sense being considered elsewhere on this blog. As an *actor* he is really no more or less “faking blackness” than RDJr. Grandma’s pie. Vintage Air Jordans. Stevie Wonder. A distrust of robots.

    Robots == Slaves.

    Slaves (in America) == Black people.

    Smith occupies the role traditionally reserved for the White Man when it comes to detective and sci-fi action movies. Smith also occupies a role traditionally reserved for the mythic figure of the Antebellum Confederate. He doesn’t trust the “newfangled,” he believes that robots are nothing more than fancy tools, and he doesn’t believe in Artificial Intelligence. A robot, like a Black *man* before the 15th constitutional amendment, is but 4/5 of a white one, with no voting rights and debatable status as a human being.

    Note the purse-snatching incident in the beginning of the film and the portly asthmatic mammy who embarrasses the Fresh Prince.

    Does The Prince’s skin color as an actor matter when reading this film? Does the fact that he is part robot — he can SPRAY HIS BLACKNESS BACK ON — matter?

    He’s the human playing the half-bot playing the dude who knows he used to be a slave.

    Fighting *white*, blue-eyed devil robots with the assistance of a *frigid* white woman.

    QUESTION: Will we actually notice when “control” slips from our grasp? Has it already happened? What would happen if tomorrow we turned off all our machines?

  4. herewithnoone Says:

    In a way, I believe that we have already lost control of the technology that we’ve created. Not in the way of the Terminator, where the robots gained a mind of their own, but in a way kind of like Wall-E. In Wall-E, we rely on technology so much that without it, we wouldn’t be able to function at all. The machine antagonists in this movie didn’t revolt or anything; they were just acting out on the orders that were given to them. We haven’t reached that point yet in the real world, but we have passed the point where we need technology to survive. Our technology isn’t forcibly trying to control us, its just that we are letting it control us. If we turned off all our machines tomorrow, countries that rely heavily on machines like the US will pretty much fall apart. Some people can’t stand being off the internet (myspace/facebook) for more than a couple hours, imagine if we no longer had things like vehicles, refrigerators, hospital equipment, cell phones, etc…I think we would be in a lot of trouble.

  5. this video is cool as it shows the possiblities of technology… however i see it different or interrupt it different. the video comes off to me as, the soliders, are everyday people who are just trying to get by, and in just trying to get by they face obstacles. these obstacles need to be broken down, it is only as a team that anyone of the soliders advance and move on with what they need to.

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