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Sunday, January 2, 2011

DIY Transhumanism

Just came across an article in Wired about a young do-it-yourselfer, named Lepht Anonym (pictured above), who has been implanting "tiny magnets and other electronic devices under her own skin, allowing her to feel electromagnetic fields, or — if her latest project works — even magnetic north."

Wired has dubbed her breed "DIY Transhumanists", and states "they are on the fringe of a movement that itself lies well outside the mainstream of philosophy, ethics, technology and science."  Others call them body hackers. 

I found this great video of a lecture where journalist Quinn Larson talks in detail about body hacking, what she's done to enhance her own body and how it's affected her life.  This being a public blog, please read her warnings carefully before viewing.

Can these dangerously curious people be called Transhumanists?  Wired says they can because they are doing more than theorizing; they are actually experimenting.  But there are scientists who have indeed experimented by implanting themselves with much more advanced technology.  Kevin Warwick is the first example I can think of, and it's a doozy at the least.

I'm going to guess that a big part of the lure of this DIY Transhumanist behavior is more than just hacking the body.  I think a big part of the lure is the pain involved fueled first by curiosity.  Perhaps that lure will save us from completely losing our humanity as biotechnology progresses over the next century.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The original sci-fi robot masterpiece. Metropolis.

I can still remember the first time I saw Metropolis.  Somehow Lang figured out how to design a robot of extraordinary style and power (a similar design concept would be applied to Bottin's Robocop later)... made so many years before robots were real things.  But this is no Robbie... it is a machine which somehow embodies so much "life" it disturbs us, yet it is the beauty of the design which entices me most... what a strange combination he has married together in his messianic Maria.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I admit is is not the most original source of inspiration... but I remain fascinated every time I put this DVD in my player.  I am especially impressed with how Kubrick at a tender young age of 35 managed to make such a defining movie.  The movie was premiered in 1968.  The first manned moon landing was in 1969.

This image, a frame grab from the recent blu-ray release, shows off the incredible design sensibility from the film.  For a director whose career descriptions are constantly prefaced with his still photography background for Look Magazine... he was clearly also one hell of a production designer!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Soon we'll all be living in malls...

Much of the history of sci-fi movies has been an easy target of ridicule once their predictions of fashion and lifestyle fail to materialize.  Many have poked fun at the 1976 film Logan's Run because the filmmaker's decided, immediately following the rise of malls in America, to set their story in one.  Now, in 2010, we are not yet living in malls... although some people undoubtedly do spend far too much time in these cathedrals of consumerism!

But as the poor remain poor and the tiny population of the wealthy dominate the geography of the planet relaxing in leisure landscapes of tennis courts, golf courses and corporate parks, human living space will continue to be a hugely controlled commodity.  And as the population continues to grow at alarming rates... What keeps us from living underground?

Besides the obvious issues of practical functionality, it seems likely to me that this vast reservoir of real estate will become commodified and the poor will eventually be forced out of the ballooning "developed regions" of the rich and into apartments underground.

Gradually even the wealthy will inhabit this as yet untapped playground, for it will certainly become one as they explore it.  The wealthy won't arrive however until screen technology is cheap enough to give them fabulous recorded views of natural landscapes out their "windows"... it'll be screen savers on a whole other level.

Don't believe me?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ghost In The Shell: Innocence

One of my favorite movies, and a huge inspiration for Dreams From A Petrified Head is Mamoru Oshii's fantastic Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence.  Anyone interested in sci-fi should know this movie backwards and forwards.

Here is the listing from wikipedia:
"The special officers of Public Security Section 9 are investigating a cyborg corporation called LOCUS SOLUS (from the novel of the same name by French author Raymond Roussel) and its gynoids—androids made in the form of young women and used as sex dolls—that have killed eight people, having deliberately been tampered with in order to trigger a police investigation. The dolls possessed a "ghost" (which made them so desirable) that was created by using a "ghost-dubbing" machine, an illegal procedure which produces "information-degraded, high-volume copies", but results in the death of the originals. Young girls were kidnapped by the Yakuza and sold to LOCUS SOLUS for this process. Two of the girls conspire with a LOCUS SOLUS shipping inspector named Volkerson to cause the malfunctions and thus draw official attention to their plight."

This movie is truly the top of the heap in terms of sci-fi.  

Just watch this scene.
~ Dan Ouellette

Recently sighted online...

Apparently I need to go (finally) visit this museum.

The sex life of robots.

~ Dan Ouellette

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A More Human Point of View

Here's something interesting that Petrified Head's Amanda Sage would have taken interest in.  Mona Lisa's smile has been a human obsession for ages.  Will her enigma be lost once we are all android?

Read this Telegraph UK article I just found via Reddit.  The line that stuck out most for me:
So did Leonardo intend to sow so much confusion in the brains of viewers, not to mention scientists? Absolutely, Martinez Otero contends. "He wrote in one of his notebooks that he was trying to paint dynamic expressions because that's what he saw in the street."