Watched: Blade Runner 2049

Thank Universe, this movie returned my faith to this art form, after the last hideous experience. I was exhilarated after seeing it as all of the senses were teased suitably. The plot mysterious, the music futuristic, the believable cast, unique plot, superb cinematography and the visuals compelling. Oh my!

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Watched: Rendel

Thank universe for eyelids. Well, this unique indie movie of its genre, was indeed quite much in the line as I was expecting. In the end, it was interesting experience to have at the movies.

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Kardashev scale

 

I am reading the “Three-body problem” and as it tends to facts in the midst of fiction, one of the interesting ones was the Kardashev scale, which attempts to categorize civilizations.

As Wikipedia sayeth

  • Type 0 civilization – which does not rank on Kardashev scale

  • Type I civilization—also called a planetary civilization—can use and store all of the energy which reaches its planet from its parent star.
  • Type II civilization—also called a stellar civilization—can harness the total energy of its planet’s parent star 
  • Type III civilization—also called a galactic civilization—can control energy on the scale of its entire host galaxy.[1]

Type IV civilization would then just go upwards: those can control or use the entire universe or Type V who control collections of universes. (wikipedia)

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As sad it is, the civilization type can be defined by the usage of the energy , and even if  the human race has excelled in its energy consumption, getting even to the level I will take 100-200 years (starting to count from the year 2015). I started to think that are then beings, which just are energy or live in other dimension part of these or would they be even beyond the scale. What if there would be some whole planet-wide organisms, which live happily in our environment, how those would fair on that scale? Somehow this leads thinking also to the “gross-planetary happiness” index. Bit like the as a gross national happiness is an experimental metric next to the GDP, but I somehow fear that GDP has so official status, that nations don’t dare to change it to something else, but let’s hope.

Currently listening:

 

All in all, if and when there is something out there, it is quite likely that They are higher up in the scale than the relatively young human race. So how could we be ready? Are the human values enough or should there be even higher ideals?

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Watched: GoT, Season 7

Paced myself so, that was able to see all seven episodes in a row, to get a full effect. Here are some notes. Hoping to avoid any major spoilers, but read with your own risk.

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Watched: Swiss Army Man

Just finishing off watching this movie, where the hardest step was to decide whether I would dare to watch it. Very peculiar setup for a movie, which caused actually some resistance to start. Luckily I remembered that I had seen its trailer way back when which seemed quirky but the vibe in general was some kind of joy. But I can imagine awkward moments in movie theatre when quite a many scenes cause amazement about what is actually done, if you start to think about it, so better not to do it.

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Desperate man (Hank), meets someone even in worse state, namely dead (Manny) who has special powers. With the power of imagination and these powers they start their trek towards love and happiness. And as a decent adventures go, the characters develop and learn something from each other.

“What else are you hiding”

Again something with many layers or just utilizing the movie setup freely – couldn’t really say. I must say that I’m happy of the ending, as otherwise it would have been too ‘real’ and “downing” qualities. Now there was an option for magic and wonder. Good cast, setup worked, and the feel stayed very fairytale type, where the goal was to find the princess and love (with a twist, naturally). Hmm, I guess I liked it, even if I’m conflicted about whether something can be done or could be done, if you accept the setup. This  movie is something not easily forgotten, but hopefully I won’t get nightmares, as there was bit of zombie themes there. I suspect that if the two characters have been normal, in their own ways, the movie could not have worked, so we’ll put this one on narrativium.

 

 

 

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Robot rules

The ethics commission of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure of Germany has written a report on automated and connected driving, which can be found here . The extract is 10 pages, and actual content starts from page 5 so give it a read.  🙂

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Abbreviated, the core rules with my choice of extraction and with some comments:

  1. Improve safety for all road users.
  2. “The protection of individuals takes precedence over all other utilitarian considerations”.
  3. “The public sector is responsible for guaranteeing the safety of the automated and connected systems” & ” The guiding principle is the avoidance of accidents”
  4. “The purpose of all governmental and political regulatory decisions is thus to promote the free development and the protection of individuals”
  5. “Automated and connected technology should prevent accidents wherever this is practically possible”  (prevention!)  and also a note here about “starting with
    the design and programming of the vehicles such that they drive in a defensive and anticipatory manner, posing as little risk as possible to vulnerable road users” – so like they teach in driving schools plan ahead and drive safely…
  6. “automated collision prevention, may be socially and ethically mandated if it can unlock existing potential for damage limitation.” – I interpret this to mean that this promotes developing techniques forwards in order to find even better ways for safety.
  7. “if — despite all technological precautions being taken, the protection of human life enjoys top priority in a balancing of legally protected interests”. I would say this corresponds to Asimov’s 1st robotic law.
  8. The moral decisions part, actually quite cleverly stated. “–They can thus not be clearly standardized, nor can they be programmed such that they are ethically unquestionable. Technological systems must be designed to avoid accidents.” I’d imagine this eases the burden from the system engineers, even a bit.
  9. “In the event of unavoidable accident situations, any distinction based on personal features (age, gender, physical or mental constitution) is strictly prohibited. —
    Those parties involved in the generation of mobility risks must not sacrifice non-involved parties” . Sound, and the latter part on one hand is fair as the persons within the car have the car as their protective shield, which gives them some advantage.
  10. Product responsibility! “the accountability that was previously the sole preserve of the individual shifts from the motorist to the manufacturers and operators of the technological systems and to the bodies responsible for taking infrastructure, policy and legal decisions.”  Also logical, as the driving decisions are done by the vehicle, the accountability goes upstream too.
  11. Product liability — “manufacturers or operators are obliged to continuously optimize their systems and also to observe systems they have already delivered and to improve them”
  12. “The public is entitled to be informed about new technologies and their deployment”
  13. “The complete connectivity and central control of all motor vehicles within the con-
    text of a digital transport infrastructure is ethically questionable if, and to the extent that, it is unable to safely rule out the total surveillance of road users and manipulation of vehicle control”
  14. Security aspect here, too: “– manipulation of the IT system or innate system weaknesses, do not result in suchharm as to lastingly shatter people’s confidence in road transport”
  15. Data privacy: “It is the vehicle keepers and vehicle users who decide whether their vehicle data that are generated are to be forwarded and used”
  16. Hybrid situation case – who is in control, probably requires logging etc. ”
    at any time it is clearly regulated and apparent on which side the individual responsibilities lie, especially the responsibility for control”
  17. If car goes haywire, override possibilities: “abrupt handover of control to the driver (“emergency”) is virtually obviated”
  18. Learning in control. “Self-learning systems must not be deployed unless they meet the safety requirements regarding functions relevant to vehicle control and do not undermine the rules established here”
  19. “In emergency situations, the vehicle must autonomously, i.e. without human assistance,enter into a “safe condition”.”
  20. “The proper use of automated systems should form part of people’s general digital education.”

Not bad, not bad at all.

Not totally sure what is the world wide situation, and is there some international rules already in place, but quick search found that in US on 2017, 33 states have legislation towards autonomous vehicles. From there I found also the definition of how “the level of automation” can be determined. Can not remember seeing these in any car sales, but maybe they are coming.

SAE International (SAE) definitions for levels of automation. The SAE definitions divide vehicles into levels based on “who does what, when.”
Generally:
At SAE Level 0, the human driver does everything;
At SAE Level 1, an automated system on the vehicle can sometimes assist the human driver conduct some parts of the driving task;
At SAE Level 2, an automated system on the vehicle can actually conduct some parts  of the driving task, while the human continues to monitor the driving environment and performs the rest of the driving task;
At SAE Level 3, an automated system can both actually conduct some parts of the driving task and monitor the driving environment in some instances , but the human
driver must be ready to take back control when the automated system requests;
At SAE Level 4, an automated system can conduct the driving task and monitor the
driving environment, and the human need not take back control, but the automated
system can operate only in certain environments and under certain conditions; and
At SAE Level 5, the automated system can perform all driving tasks, under all conditions
that a human driver could perform them.

<– the source (pdf) .

These are ‘new’ now but lets see when the vehicle connectivity or teleportation changes the private car ownership to a service model. Could happen fast, if the ecological requirements tighten as it might go. Then only rich could have a car and pay the super insurances, which something as reckless as letting an human being to drive a car could be allowed.

Currently listening…

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Valerian and the city of thousand planets

 

This is the movie, for which 3D was invented. Honest, not-evil, space opera with lots of different planets, races and technologies to match. I liked the movie, and definitely dvd-worthy, and was actually quite near in shopping of the original comic book, from which the story originates.

The actors were great and suitable for this action packed movie and I think the pair worked well together. (Although some of the relationship building seemed bit hasty, as the previous story of how long they had known, was not revealed). Graphics and locations were suitably space-like, in some of the moments, it reminded of other scifi films, but there are only so many ways you can mix antennae, arms, legs, scales and eyes 😉  . For some reason the dark eyes of Valerian were one thing, that I started to think if he was tired, as typically these kinds of things are dealt with make-up.

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WorldCon75 – overview afterwards

Now after a week I can really say that WorldCon75 was actually very good event. I got new tips of authors new to me and get a bit “into the scene” so to speak. I liked the atmosphere (everyone was so kind!) and got an idea to consider going to other con of the similar theme – probably not to travel abroad, but to something that occurs nearer.

I’m currently waiting for the Three-Body Problem to arrive, and have added one scifi-podcast to my list, but have to consider whether to add all of the Hugo nominees and then check, which would work for me. All the lists of nominations are also a great way to get familiar with different kinds of content, which, at least, I haven’t come to search for earlier. I’ve quite a many podcasts that I follow, but this genre I’ve missed. Equally I missed the ‘film track’ from the program, but at least some of the clips seem to be available in the YouTube or Vimeo so can enjoy those at relaxed speed when time allows.

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A polar bear, submerged in blue water.

What was reported afterwards was that this was the second largest con ever, to go against the initial expectations. They had to actually to stop selling memberships and even day passes, as the lecture rooms got so full – lots of queueing. To get to some high profile event, I think best pet would have been to just park to a room, and not leave for a day, but even at some session noticed that organizers cleared the room to let new people in. There was also some queuing rules which were set, like the notes to mark the end of the line, or informing the ushers by raising a hand if anyone had a free seat next to them. Small, nifty tricks. Also queues to the coffee places were filled up, so own water bottle or coffee thermos is not a bad idea.

One of the most important things is to utilize the conference planner – there were so many program items, that it is so easy to get overwhelmed. The nifty app that they had allowed to plan for the schedule and select those items, which one would like to hear. Due to the queues it didn’t even harm if there was several picked for the same point of time, usually the 3rd favourite or beyond had space.

 
And continues later on (will have to check the notes…)

Currently listening…

 

 

 

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Bug suspect in Word

First there was one, then two, and now three under the Open menu. Some suitable crash in Office causes new connections to appear to the _same cloud location_ . I’ve also occasionally deleted those, which was one of the hints in the support forums. Will need to keep an eye for these, to be able to report the exact situation when the next one appears.

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The worst thing is that these are in different states. The first one really does have my recent files, second one doesn’t know none, and the last one is not even logged in… And these errors take screen estate.

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WorldCon75 – the beginning

I decided basically straight after I heard that Finland got to be the hometown of WorldCon75 (on 2017) that I need to be there as an avid scifi-fan. I’ve never been in the ‘con’-game, so this is the first ever ‘con’ of any kind and therefore the 1st WorldCon. (Must still get the ribbon, which seem to be the thing :))

Have to admit that I’ve been in several conferences, which have quite same setup, lots of people, couple tracks of themes, but maybe the difference is that there are no lectures as such, but main format is panels, where 3-5 people with help of the chair person go through their views.

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Overall feeling

So many people.

Got actually through the registration quite nicely, as they had some 10ish people scanning barcodes, printing labels & giving out the goodie bags. Actually they had really fast badge printing kits, so have to remember to ask what kind they have but maybe they have some ‘receipt’ type, which is fast. (My home-quality label printer is not very fast, but more about that later, have to see how the ink stays also after the con).’

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