Machine Minds & Digital Neurons — February 2018 Issue
Automation, Moore’s Law, the rhetoric of the Singularity, and decades of anticipatory science fiction have prepared us for this technological present. Now, artificial intelligence permeates our lives: ever-present, always listening, evolving and developing day by day. Consumer robotics multiply, drones proliferate, self-driving cars become increasingly plausible, machine learning and neural networks move rapidly from theory to practice. The internet irrevocably changed entertainment, communication, and work, but we may soon be forced to rethink what it means to be human. And so on the brink of massive socio-technological shifts, the films in this issue survey the field: what is happening and how we think about what is happening, real and unreal, desperate and hopeful.
The 21 Films of “Machine Minds & Digital Neurons”
A robotics startup in Pittsburgh prepares for a historic moon mission.
If robots can build cars and bomb people in foreign countries, why wouldn’t they be able to make documentary films one day?
The fall of a device named A.D.A.M. (Autonomous Drone for Asteroid Mining) causes the strengthening of its cognitive processes and activation of the autonomous mode. This leads to its refusal of communication with the satellite company operators. An atlas of intensive empty landscapes, urban megastructures and lost horizons immersed in a cacophony of languages, codes and communication networks forms the basis of this metafiction about the relationship between man and machine.
BioFlaneur takes on board the important and emerging topic of personal bio-privacy in the era of big data, social networking and hackers.
Allison Okamura and the CHARM lab at Stanford University focus on what the sense of touch can bring to robot-human interactions.
With YouTube videos of dogs, chatbot dialogue windows and iTunes visualizers, See a Dog, Hear a Dog considers the defects and value produced by attempts at communication among humans, animals and machines, both directly and as mediated by one another. Through this, the film becomes an analytical tragicomedy as an approach to technology.
How might we power a colony deep in a lunar crater? A short animation demonstrates the first phase concept of NASA JPL’s “Transformers For Extreme Environments” project.
In the near future, nano tech driven drones are used for reconnaissance missions and social surveillance. These drones are run by IRIS, an advanced A.I system, which soon begins to unleash an attack upon mankind the likes of which we have never seen.
Against all odds, Sophia Baker just scored her dream interview at the world-famous Semaphore Animation Studios — who’d have thought a fan edit of one of their hit films could land her a shot at a job? But when she meets arch, mysterious executive Anne Palladon, she soon learns all is not as she expects behind the curtain. Every instinct Sophia has ever had about art in filmmaking is about to be challenged.
DUDE DOWN is an artist’s film that brings a new perspective to Improvised Explosive Devices or IEDs. The action is seen from an IED’s point of view. The IED, buried in a slightly out of the way place, develops a conscience about what he is and what he is for as he waits to go off. Ultimately, he concludes he doesn’t want to go off — much to the annoyance of his maker who occasionally rings him up to ask how it’s all going. To his maker, the IED is a big disappointment.
The blockbuster Terminator 2: Judgment Day raises big conceptual questions, and remains decades after its release the most iconic image of AI gone wrong. This documentary short features scientists, film critics, activists and crew from the film discussing the ethics, fears and possibilities of artificial intelligence, and the impact of mass media (mis)representations on politics and research.
In 2052, a man wanders through a semi-constructed high rise in pursuit of hidden targets, in a minimalist rethinking of Blade Runner.
In a near future, the SEED company launches with great fanfare, JULIET1, the first generation of synthetic pleasure beings. But as technology evolves and new styles come and go, it becomes more and more difficult for mankind to find their own place…
oo-nye-doo? follows several threads which are linked in varying ways: Why I didn’t get a Furby and what the NSA’s got to do with it, how fears and fetishes overlap and how the hole in us is always exactly the same size as the product we desire.
Angelica Lim is a roboticist and is about to live an unprecedented experience: living with a humanoid robot for 6 months. What used to be science fiction already exists: people buy robots to clean their houses, to play with them or to be educated by them. It’s time to discover how they can change our daily life, in our work and in our family units.
During his last morning in Belgrade, a military drone reflects on his wasted life, while flying on autopilot to a couple having sex, a route his previous operator would take to spy on them.
Sara is a Google Street View Camera and photographs the streets from the top of a Car. But when she listens to the music of driver Larry for the first time, something starts to shake in her. Deeply unsettled by this behavior, she searches for help at the common Google Search. Google instead, just wants the best for their users and strengthens her desire. Quickly, this leads to an existential conflict with her actual camera use.
The iMom will change your life! Well, at least that’s what the ads claim. But when a mother leaves her kids under the supervision of the family’s iMom, an unexpected connection is formed.
“Somewhere nearby is Colossal Cave. Magic is said to work in the cave. I will be your eyes and hands.” Excavated from the world’s largest cave system “Colossal Cave” is a love letter from the prehistory of the Internet. Retracing the production of a pioneering video game the film finds in its debris the blueprints of our contemporary digital network and the emotional remapping of the world. Compiled from amateur caving videos found online, these sources are relocated inside a history of geological representation, adaptation and redistribution.
In order to meet future care demands for elderly who are lonely and suffering from dementia, carebot Alice has been developed. Can a robot build a human relationship with someone and thus replace a person of flesh and blood? The three women, all getting on in years, who are visited by her in ALICE CARES actually become pretty fond of the robot girl.
A deeply unsettling portrait of a dystopian world where these small weaponised drones use their onboard technologies — “cameras like you use for your social media apps, facial recognition like you have on your phones!” — to make autonomous decisions about who lives and who dies.
Michael is a broken man with a gun. He is surrounded by armed police. A robot with medical training is dispatched to negotiate — but can it save him? ‘Dr. Easy’ is a prologue for a planned feature adaptation of ‘The Red Men’.
Labocine is a new platform for extraordinary films from the science new wave. From lab footage to documentary to fiction, Labocine aspires to become one of the largest and most diverse platforms for science cinema worldwide.
On the first Tuesday of each month, Labocine releases a surgically curated issue of films connected by a theme. Issues are organized in an interactive network-viewing experience, branching out as interconnected nodes from the central theme — a phylogenetic tree of movies and ideas.
Part archive, part curated program, part experiment, Labocine challenges the way you understand, interpret, and appreciate scientific ideas.