The title of this issue, Weird Science calls to mind the mid-80s John Hughes film in which two less-than-popular teen boys manage to create the perfect woman … using their computer. Seems far-fetched?
Let’s try another one on: S1m0ne. S1m0ne became the biggest superstar in the world – acting, singing, she did it all, and did it well. And she was not real, rather she was a creation of a few studio execs. In 2002, when this movie was released, this also seemed a bit far-fetched.
However, while we haven’t been able to create a corporeal “perfect woman” with a computer as yet, and we don’t have any completely fake superstars, the recent Beowulf release does start the mind to spinning. While our own Russ Pitts says we aren’t there yet as far as CGI-developed people, let alone superstars, we are that much closer, and that it’s that much more of a possibility is bizarre, enchanting and a bit scary.
How about another example: mobile phones. Remember the giant bricks that were the early cellular phones? At that time, could anyone have predicted they would reach a global penetration rate of 3.3 billion in November, 2007? More than half the planet’s population is connected at any given time because for the wallet-sized or smaller devices they carry. Again, it’s bizarre, enchanting and a bit scary.
I could go on about all the wild science being conducted and researched the world over. Perhaps you know of the bizarre concept of von Neumann, more accurately, self-replicating machines. Or perhaps something a little more realistic, altruistic and downright enchanting, the Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader, a fascinating device I saw in action at GDC 2008, which recognizes written language and “speaks” it to it’s user, allowing blind or visually impaired people a freedom never before realized – all with a device the size of a typical mobile phone. Or the downright scary lab-grown meat which makes me vaguely consider going vegetarian.
Whether you find all of this bizarre, enchanting or scary, get ready, it’s coming. And this week, The Escapist is setting out to discover and bring to you some other Weird Science in this issue. Enjoy!