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Engaging with Media – Update

A few weeks ago, I wrote a mid-semester update of some of the films we have been studying in our ‘Future Cultures’ class at Uni.

In this post, I will be adding the second half of that project and some highlights from it. These highlights are not the entirety of our conversations, but a few points that stood out to me throughout the rest of the semester. These include quotes, articles, conversations, and more.

You may remember from my last post that our commentary ranges from personal thoughts to academic analysis, all for the purpose of unpacking ‘Future Cultures’ within various media. You can check out all my tweets at my Twitter: @BoswellSbrain. Here are a few examples:


Robot and Frank

Robot and Frank, directed by Jake Schreier, was possibly my personal favourite movie. Jake’s film is a combination of hilarious moments, ethical questions, optimistic & pessimistic views of technology, and a touching story all set in the not-so-distant future. One of my favourite aspects of the film is how similar Jake’s imagined future is from our present day. Only a stones throw away, the technology imagined in Robot and Frank is complimented incredibly by the commentary on societies view. The juxtaposition of Frank’s pessimism and his children’s augmentation could not reflect our present day’s perspectives clearer. Yet give it time and, just like Frank, even those initially against technology eventually learn to incorporate and rely upon modern tech.

In class, we discussed AI, predictions, and death. All topics Jake touches on in Robot and Frank. In particular, I enjoyed reading and hearing about the future of AI. In particular the different categories and ways of classifying AI. Robot and Frank provided an excellent case study to discuss the advancement of AI in our future.

Arrival

More than just another alien movie, Denis Villeneuve’s (2016) film ‘Arrival’ is a movie about the perspective of time.

Arrival touches on so many themes centred around the future. From predictions & foreshadowing, to aliens & cultural reactions, Arrival attempts to portray some of the responses to being presented with the unknown.

Having such big discussions about the concept of time helped me to wrap my head further around futurists. Helping me understand that futurists are not conspiracy theorist who guess at current events, but people who work to bring the future to the present.

Other conversations included further discussion of beings outside of time, complex languages, links to previous texts, and 2020.

Alita: Battle Angel

Robert Rodriguez’s film adaption of the Manga ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ is an incredible film that hit the big screens in 2019. In it, Robert talks about so many things, including: what it means to be human, classism, utopian/dystopian futures, augmentation, fitting in, limitations, AI and emotions, ethics and security, identity, souls, religious themes, sacrifice, upgrades and convenience, and so much more.

I think this was my best week for live-tweeting. Partly because of my contributions, but mostly because of the conversations we were able to have. So much was covered that I haven’t linked to here and I really found this week fascinating and fun! In particular, reading about the ethics of developing technologies and realising we are already cyborgs through the technology that augments our everyday life, created great conversations.

Ready Player One

It’s easy to mistake Steven Spielberg’s film ‘Ready Player One’ as a film that separates the digital from the physical. Far from it, Steven’s film explores concepts around the intertwined nature of cyberspace such as relationships, escapism, rules of society, capitalism, equality, power players, obsession, freedom, masking & hiding, consequences, debt & bonds, corruption, and so much more.

Ready Player One is not as ‘futuristic’ as it appears. Both culturally and technologically, this future is only a small step away. With the cyber world already sucking people away from their physical bodies and into the virtual, the main separation between our world and this one is the level of reliance.

How long until this film is about the past and not the future?


And, as I conclude all my live tweeting sessions…

Thank you all, Thus ends my letters to #BCM325.

– Boswell

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