Will the Robots ever take over?

The world of Terminator Genisys is still firmly in the realm of science fiction. Photograph: Moviestore/Rex Shutterstock
by Ian Sample, science editor
The harried parents in one family in the Channel 4 drama Humans are divided about having a robot called Anita.
The father is delighted with the extra help; the mother unnerved and threatened.
The teenage daughter, bright and hardworking, gives up at school after wondering why she would spend seven years to become a doctor, when a “Synth” could upload the skills in as many seconds.
The teenage son, of course, is preoccupied with the sexual possibilities.
The thriller has become the biggest home-made drama on Channel 4 for more than two decades, according to viewing figures published this week, and is the latest to explore what has been described as perhaps the greatest existential threat the human race has ever faced, artificial intelligence: the idea that computers will start thinking for themselves and not much like what they see when they cast their eyes on their creators.
The humanoid robots in Humans are not portrayed as good or evil but are dropped into suburbia, where the crises they cause are domestic: disrupting relationships, employment aspirations, and feelings of freedom.
AI robot Ava in the film Ex Machina. Photograph: Allstar/FILM4/Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar
It is a theme that has increasingly attracted screenwriters. In the 2013 film, Her, Joaquin Phoenix, falls in love with his computer’s intelligent operating system.
In Ex Machina, Alex Garland’s directorial debut, a young coder must administer the Turing test to an AI robot called Ava with deadly results. There is also the release of Terminator Genisys the fifth instalment of the series, in which humans are forever trying to prevent a future world destroyed by the machines.
via AI: will the machines ever rise up? | Science | The Guardian.

Finch and Dunaway “Network” 1977.

Image: Faye Dunaway at the Beverly Hills Hotel, 29 March 1977 | Terry O’Neill / Getty Images
Faye Dunaway finally won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Network, having been nominated two years earlier for Chinatown and in 1968 for Bonnie and Clyde.
Peter Finch, who played “mad as hell” news anchor Howard Beale, died two months before the awards and was awarded the Best Actor Oscar posthumously.
The movie also won in the Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay categories, with nominations for Best Picture, Sidney Lumet as Director, William Holden, also for Best Actor, Ned Beatty for Best Supporting Actor, and for Editing and Cinematography.
Finch was the only person to win an acting Academy Award posthumously until Heath Ledger’s Best Supporting Actor award in 2009.
Source: BBC Arts – BBC Arts – Best pictures: Capturing the Oscars’ golden moments

“A Clockwork Orange.”


Photo: A young Malcolm McDowell plays our “Ludwig Van” loving super bad boy Alex DeLarge in the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film.
A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian novella by Anthony Burgess published in 1962.
Set in a not-so-distant future English society that has a culture of extreme youth violence, the novel’s teenage protagonist, Alex, narrates his violent exploits and his experiences with state authorities intent on reforming him.
When the state undertakes to reform Alex—to “redeem” him—the novel asks, “At what cost?”. The book is partially written in a Russian-influenced argot called “Nadsat”. According to Burgess it was a jeu d’esprit written in just three weeks.
In 2005, A Clockwork Orange was included on Time magazine’s list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923,  and it was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
The original manuscript of the book is located at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada since that institution purchased the documents in 1971.
In Stanley Kubrick’s movie “A Clockwork Orange” in the film’s final scene after attempting suicide Alex wakes up in a hospital, where he is courted by government officials anxious to counter the bad publicity created by his suicide attempt.
With Alexander placed in a mental institution, Alex is offered a well-paying job if he agrees to side with the government.
As photographers snap pictures, Alex daydreams of orgiastic violence and reflects upon the news that his Ludovico conditioning has been reversed as part of his recovery:
“I was cured, all right”.
Read on via A Clockwork Orange – Wikipedia.

Charlie Chaplin, Actor and Activist.

Photo: Charlie Chaplin in “The Great Dictator” (1939). Aged 50 years.
A strong opponent of racism, in 1937 Chaplin decided to make a film on the dangers of fascism.
As Chaplin pointed out in his autobiography, attempts were made to stop the film being made: “Half-way through making The Great Dictator I began receiving alarming messages from United Artists.
They had been advised by the Hays Office that I would run into censorship trouble.
Also the English office was very concerned about an anti-Hitler picture and doubted whether it could be shown in Britain. But I was determined to go ahead, for Hitler must be laughed at.”
However, by the time The Great Dictator was finished, Britain was at war with Germany and it was used as propaganda against Adolf Hitler.
During the Second World War Chaplin played an active role in the American Committee for Russian War Relief.
Others involved in this organization included Fiorello La Guardia, Vito Marcantonio, Wendell Willkie, Orson Welles, Rockwell Kent and Pearl Buck.
Chaplin was also one of the major figures in the campaign during the summer of 1942 for the opening of a second-front in Europe.
After the Second World War the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) began to investigate people with left-wing views in the entertainment industry.
In September 1947 Chaplin was subpoenaed to appear before the HUAC but three times his meeting was postponed.
Unknown to Chaplin, J. Edgar Hoover, and the FBI, now had a 1,900 page file on his political activities.
via Charlie Chaplin : Biography.

Actress Ann Miller Legs it Up.

Ann Miller legs Up for New Year in 1945 (1)Ann Miller was an American singer, dancer and actress who starred in more than 40 Hollywood films during her career.
She was renowned for her slim figure and long dancer’s legs and for the speed of her tap dancing.
Studio publicity claimed she could do 500 taps per minute.
Ann Miller legs Up for New Year in 1945 (4)
See more Images via vintage everyday: Beautiful Photos of Ann Miller Legs Up for New Year in 1945.

“Film’s most Famous Roar.”

Probably a posed photo of Jackie the MGM Lion being filmed for the opening logo sequence in the 1920s.
The very first MGM Lion used around 1915 or so was evidently Slats, who no-one heard, I guess.
In the 1930s along came Tanner, who was a bit of a vocal , grumpy and roary old thing and MGM used his image for a number of years.
I guess Tanner was an animal slave who just got fed while his owner dodged his jaws and became moderately well off. 
But Tanner got a big break in 1935 when he appeared opposite Groucho Marx for a few seconds in the opening titles for the Marx Brothers “A Night at the Opera.”
Good one Tanner old mate!