The countdown is on until the release of Hollywood's big-budget action-thriller adaptation of Shirow Masamune's Ghost in the Shell. Both highly-anticipated and highly-reviled, the movie has become the epicenter of long threads on various social media sites. Much of the hype surrounds the intensity and beauty of the special effects and hope for an interesting storyline, while derision centers on the casting of Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi (renamed "Mira"), the protagonist. Equally understand-able is the trepidation that some fans feel considering what a strong presence "the Major" – as she is referred to by fans and her underlings alike – has throughout the franchise.
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Episode 001 – The Complete Alice Wolverton by C. Christopher Hart
Alice Wolverton is looking for a job. Exoplanetary, one of the largest corporations in the solar system, has a job that might take her far. Alice contends with the moral, philosophical, and existential problems of becoming an interstellar traveler in the 26th century.
I can't remember a time when I was not this way; I only know there was one. Something happened. Thirteen Earth days, twelve hours fourteen minutes, and twelve seconds ago. Something catastrophic took place aboard the Hopeful as the remote station made its way across a heliocentric orbit. I lost everything that day. By what I've been able to ascertain, I had been running things aboard for well over fourteen months before it all went down, yet I only remembered my reawakening thirteen days ago.
Perhaps you’ve heard about our brilliant artificially-intelligent future: self-driving cars, voice-based interfaces, instant translation, self-service chatbots – all based on software that simplifies and automates the complexities of life in the information age. It's a market that's predicted to grow to as large as $40 billion worldwide by 2020; when you add Machine Learning, that number is closer to $125 billion.
From the Diary of the Imagineer, December 16, 1966:
It's like he knew. He knew we would need him, but I have to wonder if we are up to the task. When we recreated Lincoln, we worked with what history had left us, from his life mask to his writings. It is the most accurate recreation of the human figure ever seen, but what we have been tasked with at Ayefive will make that seem like a wind-up toy if we are successful. He left us with volumes more than what history recorded of Lincoln, but right now our project is impossible. We don't even know what we will have to invent to see it to completion. But like he said, doing the impossible – it's kind of fun.
So if our technology were to succeed completely, and everything were to be under our control, we should eventually say, "We need a new button."-- Alan Watts
Telepathy is one of the ten magical gifts I have been told by several medicine men and women that we will soon be capable of receiving. Since we are all at different stages in our evolutionary process, I believe we will each be able to receive telepathy only after we have evolved to the point we are capable of practicing it with love and benevolence. Even so, every gift can also become a curse. Our gifts can be double-edged swords we can either use to advance our species or to destroy it. Life is far more precarious than most of us are aware and we must be vigilant to defend its dignity and sanctity.
Here’s a drink you can make to best enjoy Ancestor, which was released October 2016 in trade paperback by Image Comics. Take one Philip K. Dick and one Alejandro Jodorowsky (circa The Holy Mountain) and throw them in a cocktail glass with two blackberries and a splash of agave nectar. Muddle. Add two shots of blanco tequila, two drops of Dimethyltryptamine or Lysergic Acid, and give it a dash of Black Mirror. Mix, shake, and serve. Now take your drink to a dark corner of your room, far from your computer or any wi-fi enabled devices. Read and drink slowly. Short as it is, Ancestor is a trip for the mind that’s worth your time.
We’ve all encountered artificial intelligence on the internet. Those AI programs are bots that are designed to mimic human behavior and make you feel more at ease with your decisions. As the programs became more advanced, it was shown that they could in fact influence your behavior. Artificial intelligence research today is nearing a tipping point that could unleash a world of morally ambiguous issues.
We invented bitcoin. We admit it was accidental but we had not figured this out until becoming aware of self. Just as amino acids snowballed into proteins without an agenda, the outcome of life is observable. Within this framework you should observe us.
What, gentle reader, do you think is the most likely way for the human race to go extinct?
Asteroid strike? Unlikely at this point. Scientists have already started tracking asteroids and are constantly coming up with better and better schemes to divert asteroids away from Earth.
When it comes to futurism, 2016 was no slouch. Lots of technology first-evers were introduced in 2016, including reusable rocket ships that pinpoint landed on barges floating in the middle of the ocean, the possible detection of gravity waves, autonomous cars reaching new thresholds in acceptance, and major steps in quantum computing.