User:Daisja30/HUMN 4472 Journal
- 1 August 20, 2019: Science Fiction
- 2 August 24, 2019: Science Fiction Research
- 3 September 8, 2019: Marker's La Jetee
- 4 September 8, 2019: Cheever's "The Swimmer" and Marker's La Jetee
- 5 September 13, 2019: Analyzing Doctor Who episode "Blink"
- 6 September 15, 2019: Comparing Gibson's "The Gernsback Continuum" and Doctor Who's "Blink" Episode
- 7 September 22, 2019: Altering Memory
- 8 September 22, 2019: Governmental Secretes and How To Recover Erased Memories
- 9 September 28, 2019: Grains, The Flash Drive For Your Brain
- 10 September 29, 2019: Advancements In Technology, But None In Social Issues
- 11 October 4, 2019: Social Issues in Science Fiction
- 12 October 5, 2019: Comparing "Bloodchild" and "Far Beyond the Stars"
- 13 October 13, 2019: Will Robots Take Over the World One Day?
- 14 October 13, 2019: The Fine Line Between Humans and Robots
- 15 October 20, 2019: Universes Beyond Our Own
- 16 October 20, 2019: The Future is Up to the Government
- 17 November 2, 2019: Analyzing the Society in "Hang the DJ"
- 18 November 2, 2019: Blindly Following Technology
- 19 December 8, 2019: Reflective Essay
- 20 Notes
- 21 References
August 20, 2019: Science Fiction
When I think of Science Fiction, off the top of my head it is defined as science that is made up. Science fiction consist of ideas and conspiracies that have not been thoroughly proven by the science committee. It is like mythical ideas or phenomenon's that have been told from one generation to the next, but there is not sufficient evidence to prove it is real. For example, aliens are science fiction. This is because media has portrayed the idea of non-earthly lifeforms as giant headed, green beings that fly around in UFO's. Surely there can be life on other planets, but research has not proven the common images we see. Rather, it is just a plant of some sort. Another example would be big foot. There is no real evidence that this being exist either. Yet, there are movies about big foot, people cosplay as big foot, and some even tries to catch the beast. Therefore, based on my own knowledge science fiction are the "what if" stories that a large number of people seem to believe true.
- @Daisja30: First off I like your response. I agree with some of what you are saying. However, because it is a conspiracy does not mean it's not true. A lot of people throw that term around to get people to believe the official narrative.The official narrative on a certain topic or issue is not always right. Often times than not, the official narrative is a form of deception. For instance, it is reasonable to think that aliens are not real. But if you take into account that we can only perceive visible light on the electromagnetic spectrum then it is certainly possible that the foreign life forms are operating out of the visible light spectrum. In other words, there are on a different frequency. If you look at it from this perspective then these rare occurrences and witness accounts does not seem too far off. —AmaniSensei (talk)
August 24, 2019: Science Fiction Research
Researching about science fiction, I have realized that it is much deeper than what I thought it was. I have learned a lot about the subject, but three specific aspects I have learned is that science fiction can be broken down into two types, science fiction stories have predicted the future, and that inventors have actually used science fiction as a spark for their inventions.
In the article I found defining science fiction, it refers to science fiction in two forms: hard science fiction and soft science fiction. Hard Science fiction strictly follows scientific facts and principles. The second type is soft science fiction. Soft science fiction focuses on social science. It is those stories that refer to the consequences of human behavior and/or interactions. As mentioned in the article, a great example of this would be the movie Wall-E.
Hard science fiction is the type of science fiction I was not fully aware of. Hard science fiction is typically written by authors with some type of knowledge in science, therefore making predictions about the future of science. In the YouTube video "The Truth About Science Fiction (Documentary)", it mentions how stories like Ralph 124C 41+ by Hugo Gernsback made remarkable predictions. Gernsback predicted things like vending machines and jukeboxes. Jules Verne's created stories of men flying weightlessly years before man walked on the moon.
Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are considered the father's of science fiction, and many of their works had impacts on scientific inventions that we know today. In Wells' novel The World Set Free he explains the idea of the atomic bomb. This sparked an interest in scientist that work in chemical weaponry to actually discover how to create atomic bombs. Another example is the novel The Cybernetic Brain by Raymond F. Jones. His novel featured the first cyborg, which sparked inventions in cybernetic prosthetics.
This research has truly opened up my mind about the world of science fiction. Not only can it be stories of monsters and life on different universes, but it can also be stories of scientific and technological advancements that we may see in our future.
- @Daisja30: I'm curious on your ideas and thoughts on predictions. Do you really believed that Gernsback predicted the future? Or do you believe that he created it? I'm under the assumption that everything is not what it always appears to be. On the surface, it may look like Gernsback is a genius. Although, I'm pretty sure he was. Are you really a genius if you created the future? I don't think you are. Perhaps, he was smart enough to notice this. Some would say you would have to be genius to recognize this, and I would not disagree. However,this begs the question, can we also predict/create our future? Science fiction may not be as silly as it may seems. —AmaniSensei (talk)
- @AmaniSensei: I understand what you are saying, but I don't think these authors actually create the future. I use the word "predict" because they were, and still are, coming up with concepts and technology that had not yet existed and creating stories based off a world with those things.--Daisja30 (talk) 19:23, 8 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: I love the Movie Wall-E I feel that this is a great example because for some reason ( I guess because it is a Disney/kids movie) I did not see it in a SyFi light. After doing out reading for this lesson I guess I can now see the movie in that light because it causes me to think of the "what if" which is one of the goals in SyFi. Im not sure that i would personally consider Wall-E soft science fiction though, the reason I say this is because though it is alot of social topics, there are also alot of realistic science issues such as the death of the planet and the shortage of fresh foods.Ambersmith5 (talk) 09:48, 5 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: Interesting, I didn't know that they would refer to science fiction that way. I never heard of it being refered to as Hard Science Fiction nor Soft Science Fiction. That's very interesting and cool to see it being called that.Tami Marie (talk)
- @Tami Marie: I had never heard of those terms either, so the article was very informative to me.--Daisja30 (talk) 19:23, 8 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: I agree with Tami Marie above with finding it interesting that they break down science fiction that way. It makes sense, of course, now that I am finding it out that they would break science fiction down further as all genre tend to have sub-genre and soft and hard science fiction break it own logically before diving in even deeper to break it down further. Tprouty93 (talk) 22:44, 28 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Tami Marie: I had never heard of those terms either, so the article was very informative to me.--Daisja30 (talk) 19:23, 8 September 2019 (EDT)
September 8, 2019: Marker's La Jetee
For this journal I will focus on Chris Marker’s La Jetee. I thought it was a very interesting science fiction story with its use of storytelling through still images. This story relies heavily on its use of time travel. That being said, there are two aspects of time travel addressed in the film that I will focus on. Those are using memories to travel to the past and the process of time travel.
At first glance, using memories to travel to the past seems like a reasonable idea. In the film the scientist thought that if men were able to dream another time then maybe they would be able to live in it. This is apart of a theory called mental time travel, a term coined by Thomas Suddendorf and Michel Corballis in 1997. This concept also involves using memories to create a possible future. Likewise, the scientist in the film first studied the mans past having him travel to different time periods in his memories. Then, they sent him to a possible future where he was able to ask for resources to help the present. However, this makes me inquire about the process of time travel the story uses.
How was the man physically able to be two places at once? When he visited the past, the woman could hold, touch and feel the man’s presence at that time as though he was actually there with her. So, was he really in the past or was he only dreaming? Typically in time travel, one has to enter at a younger time but when they return at the older time they will be the same age as when they entered at the younger time as long as they don’t really interfere with the past. Therefore, when the man entered the past, there should have been another him that was his same age already interacting with the woman. That is why, in most time travel science fiction stories, we actually see scientist build a time machine. Then, when the time-traveler goes into the machine and travels to another time period they try to avoid themselves that is actually living during that time. Therefore, I would have liked if the story explained the machine more. All the viewer could see is a mask-like material with cords coming from it being put over the man’s eyes. Even then, we see the man falling asleep and then waking up in the different time periods, but we never see the man actually disappear from the cabana he was laying in when the experiment began.
Nonetheless, as a story, I enjoyed watching La Jetee. In the beginning I did not know where the story was going to go, and it kept me curious to keep watching. Then, to intertwine the beginning of the man’s younger self seeing his older self get shot was a great way to wrap up the story and add an unexpected twist.
- @Daisja30: I hadn't considered breaking down the impracticalities of how time travel worked in La Jetée. I'd just glossed over it because time travel in books and movies never quite makes sense to me. It's tough to think about for too long. You make a good point, though, about not being in two places at once. -MorganAtMGA (talk) 20:42, 8 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: Interesting ideas; keep it up. Try to use real sources, like interpretive articles and books. Do not use Wikipedia as a source. —Grlucas (talk) 13:00, 9 September 2019 (EDT)
September 8, 2019: Cheever's "The Swimmer" and Marker's La Jetee
Looking at the two stories for this week, it is clear that they compliment one another. They both share the common theme of time travel, however Chris Marker’s story being the more literal meaning of the idea. In both stories the protagonists want to escape their grim realities by returning to when life was good for them. In Marker’s La Jetee we see a man who has been fortunate enough to escape the gruesome aftermath of a deadly nuclear bomb but unfortunate that he has been captured as a prisoner to be used for science experiments. Then in Cheever’s “The Swimmer” we see Neddy, a now divorced man who feels like he has lost everything; his wife, his two daughters, and even his house.
Breaking down their characteristics even further, Neddy is in disbelief of his current situation. We see this as he reaches the Halloran’s pool and Mrs. Halloran expresses her pity for his situation by saying, “We’ve been terribly sorry to hear about all your misfortunes, Neddy” and he replying “My misfortunes?” as though he has no recollection of what has happened or his current situation. On the other hand, the man in La Jetee is fully aware of his present situation. However, once he started to experience the past, he wanted to remain in that time and relive every moment of it. He seen peaceful images and met a beautiful woman, which made him want to continue to live in the past because he felt love and happiness. Both protagonist want to remain in the past, but neither of them can escape the realities of their present.
- @Daisja30: I really enjoyed your journal. I never really thought about the fact that in both The Swimmer and La Jette, both of the Protagonists wanted to remain in the past. I think that these two story had more in common than I originally thought. Brebre143 (talk) 19:13, 8 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: I mentioned you in my last journal entry because I can agree with you on what you are saying about both stories. The both shine a light on how time is among us and we cant stop it no matter if we try going back in time or trying to runaway from it. JShepp912 (talk)
In this journal I will be focusing on the Doctor Who’s episode called “Blink.” I have never watched Doctor Who, but as I channel surfed, I would always pass it playing on the cable program. I think this episode is a good episode to watch if someone does not initially know what Doctor Who is. While this story is not base around Doctor Who’s character, it explains who he is and how the main character, Sally Sparrow in this case, is connected to the Doctor. The episode being around 50 minutes also allows someone new to the show to get a completed episode. The original conflict is resolved within the episode, so the viewer does not feel like they have to wait to watch the next episode or watch previous episodes to understand what has happened in this episode. Two aspects of the episode that I really liked and will discuss is the unearthly creatures called the weeping angels and the way the time sequence is put together.
The Weeping Angels
As I continue to learn about science fiction, I have become more interested in the least plausible side of the stories which is the concept of monsters. In this episode, the antagonists are a group of angel statues that are referred to as Weeping Angels. These creatures are described as being quantum locked, feeding off potential energy, and abstract lifeforms. They are also called lonely assassins because they are not able to look at one another. This is due to the fact that they only exist when they are not being observed. I decided to research deeper about these creatures. In a very informative video I found, the weeping angels evolved in the beginning of the universe. In the Renaissance they were discovered in the catacombs of the Sistine Chapel. The first attacks were in 1916 in France and later in 1938 in New York. Then, things began to get more complicated as the narrator of the video refers to different doctors from the Doctor Who series. Nonetheless, what I gathered is that the angels’ goal is to send as many people as they can back in time to create paradoxes which feeds them and allows them to create more of themselves. Yet, like every superhero and supervillain the angels have a weakness, when the angels look at one another, they become stone forever. This is how Sally Sparrow and Larry Nightingale escape the angels in the end. What led up to this ending though, was a long process of Sally trying to figure out exactly what was going on.
The Time Sequence
There is a lot that can be unpacked with how the time sequence is cleverly used here, so I will first start with the 17 tape recordings. Larry is seen throughout the movie constantly watching the Doctor’s tapes, trying to understand the hidden Easter eggs within them. Once he finally sits down with Sally to watch the videos, everything starts to make sense for him. He begins to write down her responses and says he will put them on a forum. This is exactly how the Doctor knew how to respond. At this point it can be assumed that the Doctor traveled to the future received the forum and recorded the tapes before he got stuck in 1969. Then we must ask, how did the Doctor publish the tapes then? What is also unique is how the present immediately changed as soon as one person was sent to the past by the angels. The first victim is Kathy Nightingale. As she returns to the house with Sally, almost simultaneously Kathy’s grandson gives Sally the message from Kathy as Kathy is touched by an angel and is transported to 1920. The second case is with Detective Bill. The angels send him to 1969 where he comes into contact with the Doctor. Fortunately for him, Detective Bill was able to get Sally’s number and is able to contact her. Unfortunately, however, the next time they meet he is old and hospitalized. This time difference is most effective as Bill states, “It was raining when we met,” and Sally replies “It’s the same rain."
All answers are clarified at the end as we see Sally packing all of the clues she received in a folder and eventually giving it to the Doctor from the past who has not experienced the weeping angels yet. All along it was future Sally that warned her past self about the terrors to come. In the beginning of the episode the Doctor’s future was Sally’s present, but in the end the Doctor’s past becomes Sally’s present.
- @Daisja30: I also thought that the way that the time sequence was used in this episode was really cool. I feel like this episode is a great example of Science Fiction in television shows for someone who isn't familiar with it. Brebre143 (talk) 01:24, 15 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: I did not decide to do further research on the angels but More so on the actual episode itself. So it was interesting to know that you found a historical reference as well to these 'monsters' in this what we believe most times to be nonfictional. However assuming from the genre science fiction it must be something of the factual relation for it be categorized as this right? --D.Sams96 (talk) 21:44, 14 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: Interesting point. When seeing these weeping angels I thought they were very creepy, rightfully so, and it was interesting to see how they would send people back in time.Tami Marie (talk) 9:42, 15 September 2019 (EDT)
Comparing William Gibson’s “The Gernsback Continuum” and Doctor Who’s “Blink” episode can be quite the challenge as it can be hard to find something that the two had in common other than the fact that the protagonist of both were photographers. Nevertheless, as I really thought deeply past the surface level of the two stories, it is clear that the main aspect the two stories have in common are their themes. Both stories theme is about a future that has not happened yet.
Theme in "The Gernsback Continuum"
In Gibson’s “The Gernsback Continuum,” the unnamed protagonist dreams up an alternate reality based on the 1930s image of how the future was supposed to look. He is able to do this through “semiotic ghost” which are characterized as “bits of deep cultural imagery that have split off and taken on a life of its own”. The 1930s pictured a future with “white marble, slip streamed chrome, immortal crystal, and burnish bronze” and this is the very future the protagonist had awaken in. He couldn’t understand how the future of the 1930s had become his reality. As he captured more and more of current remains of architectural attempts at the thirties envisioned future, he started to see zeppelin docks and even odd flying objects. Then he even comes in contact with the people of that dimension with their food pill belts and aluminum avocado shaped car. Ultimately this future never came true because during the process of trying to make it a reality it nearly destroys the very earth through things like pollution and the carbon foot print. Nevertheless, a future that was able to be successfully changed was that in Doctor Who’s episode called “Blink.”
In this episode of Doctor Who, protagonist Sally Sparrow has to fix a future that has not happened yet. The antagonists of this story also known as “the weeping angels” are unearthly creatures that send humans to the past to create paradoxes. These paradoxes ultimately allow more of the angels to spawn and provides as a food source for them. Then Sally is given multiple clues from the past and future to help her manifest a future where she gets to live, the Doctor gets his time machine back, and a number of the angels die. If she was not able to solve the puzzle of how to return the Doctor’s time machine, then the future could have turned out very different. For example, in my last post I referred to a video that explained the history of the weeping angels. In this video it talks about how one Doctor eventually gets trapped by the angels in the future and dies as a prisoner. Yet, said Doctor is given clues to his past self so that he does not make the same mistakes. Hence when the final battle emerges between him and the angels, he jumps off the rooftop to change the future and kill a number of the angels. Therefore, with the angel episodes in particular, the protagonist has to use clues to create a good outcome for the future, which is exactly what Sally does.
Both stories refer to a future that has not happened yet, and it is interesting to see the two different takes on how the storytellers decide to use this theme.
September 22, 2019: Altering Memory
In this journal I will be analyzing Philip Dick’s “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” In this science fiction story, we follow the protagonist Douglas Quail who has a dream of visiting Mars. This obsession of his was nearly about to come true as he was about to get memory implants of a trip to Mars. Yet, the very memories he wanted implanted of him on Mars were the true memories of the life he had lived before. The two most prominent aspects of this story I will be talking about is the idea of memory implants and the idea of erasing memories.
In the story Douglas goes to a company called Rekal Incorporated that specializes in completing memory implants. Later we read that this is not the only company that does this kind of work, but it’s actually a booming industry. Mr. McClain exclaims that the firm does at least twenty implants a month with people who want Douglas’s same implant. The only obstacle these firms face is that the people they’re operating on have to have enough space in their memory to implant the new, fake memories. When Lowe is faced with this problem, Mr. McClain tells him to overlay the implants on a vacation Douglas has taken. I think this procedure has become so popular because it allows one to experience what they never would have been able to experience. As Amaya Fernández-Menicucci states in her article, with these implants ”fantasy and desire emerges” which gives people a sense of gratitude in life. However, this makes me question, even though people are receiving these memories do they get the same emotions attached to those experiences that memories typically create? Like Douglas questions Mr. McClain, anyone would have similar doubts before paying for such a procedure. Yet, Mr. McClain expresses the many other actions they use to ensure the implants stay successful memories, like 3-D postcards and photos. Even with all the extra props the firm uses to further convince their patients of their experience, I feel like sooner or later those memories will start to fade with age like real memories do and the person will regain memory of getting the implants. That said, the firm also erases memories of the person going to the firm to get the procedure done in the first place. Nonetheless, these firms are not the only ones with the abilities to erase memories.
As the story continues, we learn that the life Douglas has been living is a lie. He is actually a trained assassin used for military purposes, yet, these memories of his life had been erased. Therefore, once he was no longer needed by the government, they had to erase his memories so he would not go around discussing his governmental orders to kill a man. They decided to give Douglas a new identity without his consent, while keeping him in their surveillance. When Douglas regains his memories and is met by the Internplan Police, they tell him they can read his mind through a tele-transmitter they implanted in his skull. We also see that a person’s same memory can be erased more than once. Near the end of the story, before Mr. McClain gives Douglas another shot at the implant procedure, the police official states that they have already erased Douglas’ memory of his trip to Mars. Then Douglas asks about the trip, but no one responds to make sure he does not start to regain his memories again.
In other stories that refer to the concept of erasing memories, the one with their memory erased is typically able to recall the past by retracing their steps, talking to people they once knew, and reviewing any old paraphernalia/documentations of proof from their past history. Therefore, just as Douglas is able to regain his erased memories, are the memories really being erased? Or, are they simply being buried in the mind and forgotten?
September 22, 2019: Governmental Secretes and How To Recover Erased Memories
When comparing Philip Dick’s “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” and The X-Files episode “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” I found it quite easy to find some similarities and common themes among them. Both of their main themes was clearly about erasing memory. Nevertheless, what I found most interesting is the methods used in each story to regain those lost memories. Also, I found that both included the governments role in the stories’ plots.
Recovering Erased Memories
In The X-Files episode we see Christin get hypnotized to enter a state of slight unconsciousness and see images of what had happened to her. In this hypnosis the doctor sits in front of the girl and just speaks to her starting with “You are feeling very sleepy”. Just through his words he gets the girl to remember parts of her erased memories. In Philip Dick’s story, we see memories regained also through a semi-unconscious state. As Lowe and the other doctor are preparing Douglas for his procedure, they sedate him as most doctors do before surgery. However, under sedation, Douglas regains some of his memories of being on Mars as a skilled assassin. Like mentioned in the episode, Douglas only regains some of his memories that were erased. This is why I do not think memories can actually be erased from someone’s memories, as I mention in my last post. I believe our brains are like computers, if we were to erase memories, then they would go to a part of our memory that would be like the recycling bin. However, even once a memory enters the recycling bin it can still never be completely erased but it can always be regained.
The Governments Secrets
The other similarity I found within these two stories is how the government is portrayed. In both the government seems to be keeping these secretes from society, and anyone who gets too close to understanding or figuring out these government secretes are “dealt with.” In The X-Files episode we see many characters that have come in counter with the recent alien visit, be visited by what they refer to as the “men in black." The men in black try to convince these witnesses that what they have seen was not real. Later we realizes these men must be government officials since these UFO’s are really disguised governmental aircraft and the aliens witnessed were really humans in alien costumes. Therefore, the government is constantly manipulating the public and erasing memories. Likewise, in “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” the government hires Douglas as an assassin to kill a man on Mars. Therefore, they have gotten him to do their dirty work and decide to cover it up by erasing Douglas’ memories. There are already conspiracies that the government is watching everyone and that they do have secretes they keep from the community; and both stories play into this conspiracy perfectly.
While both stories main theme is memory alteration, they also have other commonalities amongst them that also helps complete their stories. These includes regaining erased memories and how government hides thing like their dirty work or information about recent alien visits.
- @Daisja30: I really like that you compare the the role of the government in both of these narratives. The fear of government control is one big topic of discussion in the science fiction genre. I wonder if it is possible for someone (maybe the government, maybe someone off of the street) to erase another person's memory. The "Jose Chung" episode suggests that hypnotism is enough and while that's a cool idea, I wonder if that's realistic. What do you think? -Cavaliergirl96 (talk) 08:30, 23 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: It is interesting that even in the advanced world that Quail lives in, memories are still not able to truly be erased, they are only suppressed or manipulated. I think this speaks to their importance and prevalence in one’s life despite their unreliability at times. -Atallent (talk) 09:22, 23 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: Some good ideas here, but you need to work on your sourcing. Please see my feedback that I will be updating through the day on 9/24/19. —Grlucas (talk) 07:34, 24 September 2019 (EDT)
September 28, 2019: Grains, The Flash Drive For Your Brain
Black Mirror’s episode “The Entire History of You” is a science fiction story that poses a very realistic possible future for reality. Not too long ago, I remember hearing on the news about a company that implants a chip into their employees’ hand. This chip allows them to enter the building, purchase items at the vending machine, and much more. As I listened to this story, I thought to myself, who would be foolish enough to put a tracking device inside their hand? Yet, this episode proves that people could get behind these kinds of projects. The episode is driven by the characters use of a grain. This grain is a small pill sized memory storage implant embedded behind the ear. While there are benefits to technology like this, there are also very dangerous outcomes that can occur because of them as well.
In America, and in many parts of the world, national security is definitely a problem. Therefore, having added security through these grains can be useful in keeping a count of who is in the country and at what times. For instance, after Liam leaves work, he arrives at the airport and before he is able to continue through custom’s, security checks his grain. He is asked to go back a certain number of hours and the guard is able to time lapse through his memories. This would also allow us to always have our passport and other important documents on us, as long as we have analyzed them before. This scene shows how the grain would be beneficial in stopping terrorist from entering or leaving the country since people’s grains are checked to make sure they had not planned anything prior to entering the airport. Then if there was any suspicious content, the guards would be capable of doing a full scan of the person’s grain for clarification. That being said, a grain is useful in instances like court cases. Analyzing a person’s grain would serve as recorded evidence, which is considered hard evidence in a court case. Even if someone has deleted part of the grain’s memories, this would just make someone seem more likely of committing whatever crime they are being charged. Nonetheless, people who interacted with the suspect can have their grains analyzed as well. Lastly, the grain is beneficial in old age when memory starts to fail us. The grain records everything, so if a person does not remember something, they can easily use the scroll device to go to their memories and watch any precious memory as many times as they want.
There are many different factors that go into people accepting stricter security measures, like individual aspects, cost/benefit balance, and social context. Clearly, all of Liam and his friends are well off in this story, this suggest that the higher class of the society have the means to afford the grain. Not only this, but the wealthy feel like security and old age are a big enough threat to want to get the grain as a solution to both terrorism and memory loss. Therefore, when Hallam is exposed for not having a grain, the entire table goes silent. It is as if they can not fathom someone not having a grain, which makes me wonder at what age are these grains implanted.
With any advancement in security, however, privacy always comes into question. When Hallam describes why she does not have a grain anymore, she states that it was stolen and probably bought by some sick Chinese man. Therefore, if grains are stolen, a person not only has access to all of someone’s memories, but they pretty much have someone’s entire identity in their possession. They can track their credit card numbers, social security numbers, birth certificates, and anything else a person has a memory of. These grains also allow people to record the daily lives of everyone they encounter, which creates another issue; consent. It would be nearly impossible to try to get consent from everyone a person comes into contact with in their day to day life. This would make it fairly easy for stalker to keep track of whoever they are stalking. Lastly, sometimes having the ability to relive past memories is not always a good thing. As we see towards the end of the story, Liam is now alone but as he walks through his empty house he plays the memories from his once joyful past. He lives with these memories constantly reminding him that his life is a failure now. We all handle grief differently, therefore, some people are not able to move past old traumatic evets and others would constantly live in the past because of what his/her present is or is not.
With advancement in security technology there are always pro’s and con’s. Nevertheless, in this situation, we must ask, at what point are these grains considered invasion of privacy? These grains can keep an eye on who enters and leaves the country, they can serve as hard evidence in court cases, and they can even hold on to our precious past as we loose memory with old age. Yet, if these grains are stolen, it would increase identity theft, it can lead to unhealthy grieving, and people can record anyone they like. Therefore, how would grain companies ensure the safety of the people?
- @Daisja30: Very interesting post! I love how you pondered both the good and bad aspects of the technology enhancements. When you mentions that "the grain is beneficial in old age when memory starts to fail us" this made me think about the two main memory disease and disorders that many of old age seems to have, Alzheiner's and Dementia. It made me question these disease became irrelevant in a world where memories where stored on the grain.show I Perhaps was it still possible to have these disease and it cause distortion in the memory or for the memories to be scrambled together instead of organizer even with having the grain? --D.Sams96 (talk) 12:58, 29 September 2019 (EDT)
- @D.Sams96: Thank you! I was wondering the same thing. I think the grain is like external storage that remains in order. Like I mention in the title of this post, I think the grain works like how a flash drives works for a computer. Therefore, if someone with either of the diseases didn't remember something then they can scroll their grain to find what their brain forgot, but the grain remembered.--Daisja30 (talk) 00:14, 30 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: I love the post and i liked how you talked about both the negatives and positives about the technology. Usually most people like to describe the positives of it because when I was looking at the show I was like dang what if we all had this and all the positives came into my head and then negatives began to show up in my head as well but this was a good post --JShepp912 (talk)
- @Daisja30: I have not heard about the hand implant, but your bringing up of that topic did remind me of the patent that was discovered in which Google had a cyborg eye implant patented. I dont think it was with the same concepts in mind, but it shows how close we really could be to such a device in modern society. Steven Hawking also trialed a device that was implanted in his brain to allow him to communicate with others. Technology more than likely is already at a place where something like this could exist, but like you showed, at what cost? Tprouty93 (talk) 00:07, 29 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Tprouty93: It kind of scares in a way to envision such a possibility as grains. I would be the one person to not get the grain, but I feel like as soon as everyone realized Hallam did not have one they immediately outcaste her. So, to live in a world where grains would be so popular is just displeasing to me.--Daisja30 (talk) 00:14, 30 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: I agree. People think you are crazy today without having a Twitter or being on social media daily, or owning a phone that is not a smart phone, regardless of the evidence shown that while it can be extremely beneficial, it can also be dangerous. We are taught now that you need to evolve with technology, not against. So the grain, if it took off, would more than likely become something you could almost not live without, kind of like how a credit or debit card has evolved from a luxury to a necessity. I would not want to put myself at such a risk. Imagine the potential cyber security threats. Tprouty93 (talk) 20:32, 30 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Tprouty93: It kind of scares in a way to envision such a possibility as grains. I would be the one person to not get the grain, but I feel like as soon as everyone realized Hallam did not have one they immediately outcaste her. So, to live in a world where grains would be so popular is just displeasing to me.--Daisja30 (talk) 00:14, 30 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: The power of technology is amazing, and it's crazy to think that something like the grain could actually be in our future. I also touched on the bad side of something like the grain, and how this would mess with our privacy laws as Americans. I feel like the grain would have more cons than pros, especially if it could lead to behavior like Liam's. Brebre143 (talk) 01:26, 29 September 2019 (EDT)
September 29, 2019: Advancements In Technology, But None In Social Issues
I found “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” by James Tiptree Jr. and Black Mirror’s “The Entire History of You” episode to be two unique stories of science fiction that focus on advancements in technology. While they both take different approaches on the idea, there can be similarities found amongst the two stories. I found those similarities to be that both referred to advancements in technology that involves the brain and that both stories touched on social class issues in the society.
Comparing the Two
In the Black Mirror episode, the grains are an implant that corresponds with the brain and allows people to record all of their experiences. In Tiptree’s story, the doctor’s are able to take a living subject, wire them up, and transfer their conscious mind to another created body. Then, in both stories we can analyze the kind of social classes presented in the societies. In the Black Mirror episode, it suggests that most, if not all, members of the upper class have these grains since Liam and Fi, as well as all of their friends seem to be very well off. They all have large homes, more than one means of transportation, and are financially capable of going on vacations outside country. The grains most likely cost a good amount of money and not everyone in the society can afford one. The one lady infers that typically only prostitutes don’t have grains. Even though this was an insult towards Hallam, we can believe it to be true as in most societies the lower class are not able to afford what the upper class can. In Tiptree’s story we see P. Burke being treated very poorly and described very harshly by the narrator of the story. She is deformed, poor, homeless, has no family, and she even tries to commit suicide. However, once she is in Delphi’s body she feels what is finally means to be a goddess in her society. She is younger, beautiful, and both men and women adore her. As a member of the lower class she was despised, looked down upon, and is denied the joys of the technologically advanced world she lives in. The gods would be considered the upper class and they are allowed to bend laws, buy whatever they want, and treat themselves to whatever new technology is on the market.
Therefore, both stories propose that even in the future, issues like poverty and homelessness have not been fixed. The upper class are able to live comfortably and do as they please, while the lower class are forced to work everyday for little to nothing and be looked down upon. While this is a prominent theme in both stories, they also both show different routes advancements in technology relating to the brain can take.
- @Daisja30: Nice catch on the upper class/lower class commentary in "The Entire History of You!" The like about prostitutes seems like a throwaway line, but it's definitely believable that the writers are wanting to point out how poverty looks in Liam's world. With all of the affluence in this episode, it would be easy to believe that kind of lifestyle is common when it really isn't. Just one more way that Liam's world is just as flawed as our own. --Cavaliergirl96 (talk) 02:27, 30 September 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: Some great observations, but you still need to work on your references. Please see me for assistance. —Grlucas (talk) 12:18, 30 September 2019 (EDT)
October 4, 2019: Social Issues in Science Fiction
Octavia Butlers short story “Bloodchild” is a science fiction story written from both a feminist and minority perspective. The story starts unclear as we are introduced to characters with difficult to pronounce names and other characters eating sterile eggs. Nevertheless, whoever T’Gatoi is, they hold a position of power. As the story continues, original questions are clarified, and two common themes are revealed in this story. Those themes are gender roles and the aspect of slavery. The narrator, Gan, comes to realize that the human-alien dynamic is not what he thought it was. Through his analyzation of the world around him, we can build our own assumptions of the type of society Gan and his family were living in.
Gender Roles Reversed
Terrans are humans that are currently living with the Tlic species that are an alien race. They use males to host their babies until they are ready to emerge. This is the first example of how Butler reverses the role of males and females in her story. As Gan mentions, Tlic’s implant the males so the Terran women are able to keep having human babies, specifically males to host the alien babies. We then read Briam Lomas’ excruciating c-section scene. Men are now able to endure the agony women go through during the child barring process. Next, we can notice that there were no male Tlic’s mentioned in the story. That said, we can assume that the Tlic’s are a matriarch society with women holding the most, if not all, the power. Gan describes T’Gatoi as “the Tlic government official in charge of the preserve.” This story was written in 1955 when women did not run for congressional positions and therefore had no say in governmental affairs. Therefore, to have a female Tlic as a government official was outside of the norm for females and female characters at the time. Lastly, a point that might go unrecognized, is the concept of sexual intercourse. Gan lays next to T’Gatoi before his implants as if they are equals during the sexual intercourse process. We also can not dismiss that T’Gatoi is the one doing the penetrating and putting her eggs into Gan, when it is typically the opposite in normal male and female intercourse. Butler’s use of reversing gender roles plays out well in a science fiction story. In Elyce R. Helford’s article that analyzes “Bloodchild,” she states that “reconceptualization of species can effectively deconstruct the humanist biases of traditional philosophical absolutes.” Meaning, using different species to reflect the present society we live in can bring awareness to societal issues without directly mentioning them. Not only does she see gender roles as a problem, but Butler also expresses her concern with slavery.
Slavery can be looked at from two different viewpoint in this story; the first being between two different groups and the second as how humans treat animals. “Running in the preserve. Running in a cage,” Qui exclaims. We see words like “cage”, “pen”, and “their animals” which alludes that the slavery Butler is referring to is how humans enslave animals. Humans lock animals up, put them on display, and use them for lab experiments. Because we are more intelligent than these animals, we feel like we have dominion over them, which is exactly how the Tlic feel about the Terran’s. Therefore, like Butler reverses gender roles she could be reversing the animal and human dynamic as well. Elyce R. Helford suggest in her article that when the word “animal” is broken down it becomes a symbol for “animalness” which we in turn label as “inhuman.” Therefore, the slavery mentioned is between two groups, where the dominant group is treating another group inhumanly. The Tlic’s over the preserve would like to believe them and the humans have an equally benefiting relationship. However, like slave masters, the Tlic try to win the Terran’s “cooperation through coercion and contempt through narcotics.” When Gan is revealed the process of a C-section, he analyzed the ruthlessness T’Gatoi has when cutting open Briam and digging through his stomach for the grubs. This begins his wondering if the T’lic actually care about the Terran or if they are just using them as host slaves. The Tlic and Terran dynamic is unbalanced. Tlic claim to be fair but they are receiving majority of the benefit in the dynamic. They won’t let the Terran have vehicles or guns, they won’t let them leave the preserve, and they only feed them eggs. If this is not a form of control, then I don’t know what is.
This story mirrors slavery that occurred before the book was published. It also takes a feminist approach by making the Tlic women powerful aliens, while not mentioning any male Tlic’s throughout the story. The Tlic’s are even given what would be considered male dominated job titles. Butler takes science fiction and creates a story that refers to more than just science, it touches on real societal issues.
- @Daisja30: Wow! Another social issue I did not exactly pay attention to. In a science fiction novel or short story I think it is easy for the reader to get lost in it that they often don't think about gender or question the gender usage by the authors. I think this is a way for people to indirectly address issues with not argument and seek change. If many science fiction writers wrote to address these issues it would be easy to compare Butler herself as the writer of this novel to Benny from the episode of Deep Space Nine who seeks change of the science fiction genre itself by creating a story with a male African American space captain. Awesome post! Great insight! --D.Sams96 (talk) 16:32, 6 October 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: I really enjoyed how Butler flipped the script on gender roles in the story. Although the idea of woman getting pregnant to have males for some cause is not an usual theme, the way that she had the men born to then give birth themselves is interesting. Christina.moore2 (talk) 17:23, 6 October 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: I noticed the gender swaps as well. The Tlics are shown to be in control over everything while the Terrans do not have any power.TamiMarie (talk) 23:26, 6 October 2019 (EDT)
October 5, 2019: Comparing "Bloodchild" and "Far Beyond the Stars"
The Deep Space Nine episode “Far Beyond The Stars” and in Octavian Butler’s “Bloodchild” are stories that present science fiction from a minorities perspective. When analyzing the two we can see how Benny relates to Butler herself. They are both African American science fiction writers that are trying to publish their work at a time when it was not common to have African American science fiction writers. Therefore, like most writers, their works reflects some of their own personal beliefs and experiences. In the Deep Space Nine episode, there are many parts that mirror racism in the time the story was written. For instance, as Benny is leaving the office he is harassed by the two white policemen for no reason. They insult him, crumble up his drawing, and would have done worse if they did not have somewhere to go. In Butler’s story, one of the main themes is slavery as the Terran’s are being enslaved by the Tlic’s. Both stories also display the theme oppression. For so long, Benny has had to hide his true identity in the magazine as well as suppress the stories he really wanted to create. As one co-worker states, the world was not ready for an African American science fiction writer, especially for a big magazine. Due to post-slavery hostility, African Americans were still denied many rights like holding certain positions in the work force. It was not the norm to have an African American working in the writing industry. It is assumed that Butler dealt with similar experiences.
A Further Comparison
In Butler’s story we see the concept of slavery. The Terran’s think that just because the Tlic’s have allowed them to remain on their planet to escape being enslaved on their home planet, that they are indebted to the Tlic’s that run the preserve. However, the Tlic’s are keeping them as host slaves as they restrict what they are allowed to have, don’t allow them to leave the preserve, and take a son from a family to be a host for their babies. Nevertheless, we see both Benny and Gan reach a breaking point as they realize the oppression they have been living under for years. When Benny hears word that his story was not able to be published just because it featured a black main character and then being told that he was fired for stepping out of line, he was devastated. Douglas threatens to call the police on Benny if he gets too rowdy, but he exclaims that he’s been quiet for too long. Also, regardless if he is docile or rowdy, he will still be harassed by the police just because of the color of his skin. After Gan witnesses the gruesome C-section and have a conversation with his brother, he comes to realize that what the Tlic’s do is just for their own benefit and that they might not actually care about the Terran’s at all. He ask’s T’Gatoi these questions he ponders and though she seems slightly concerned, it appears to be more in relation to her having to implant her first egg by that night rather than her actually caring about Gan’s concerns.
Though these stories are considered science fiction, it is hard to miss the societal issues and themes that they both point out. Being that the stories are written from the African American perspective, they include concepts like racism, discrimination, slavery, and oppression.
- @Daisja30: I find it interesting how societal issues were put into SF. I don't know if the people who were writing in that time were making stories based on what they were going through or what they aspire to get to. I remember one of the first things that opened up my eyes in this class was how SF helped advance us with certain situations to give us the impossible to think about. I would hope they were writing to help the others who aspire to be like them find the light to freedom. In some ways today we are still fighting for what's right.--TSmith2020 (talk) 14:50, 6 October 2019 (EDT)
- @TSmith2020: I agree. However, just as science fiction shows advancements in technology and science, it should show advancements in the society as well. So, even though these story do a good job at pointing out social issues, I would like to see some stories where they show how the world could be if everyone lived in harmony.--Daisja30 (talk) 22:27, 6 October 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: Generally, a good use of references to support your reading. Be sure to proofread and do not mix up plurals and possessives. Your references section below needs to be cleaned up. References should be ordered alphabetically by author's last name. Please consider signing up for a face-to-face session. —Grlucas (talk) 10:45, 7 October 2019 (EDT)
October 13, 2019: Will Robots Take Over the World One Day?
Battlestar Galactica episode “33” is a science fiction story that follows American civilians and military personnel as they endure the tiring battle of trying to escape an intergalactic cyber race. This intergalactic race is known as Cylons. From this episode we gather that these Cylons are able to take on human form, which builds trust issues among the humans. It also appears that they are on a mission to destroy the human race for reasons that are not specified in the episode. These Cylons are a unique race, and like most science fiction stories involving AI, these Cylons were first created by humans. That said, Cylons have become their own evolving race, yet having many similarities to the human race despite the fact that they are robots.
History of the Cylons
The Cylons were first created by the Graystone Industry. They were built to serve as weapons of war for the military, then they would be used as free laborers. Yet, as time went on the Cylons became more intelligent and they began to view themselves as slaves. Therefore, they began to revolt against the humans. Five newer Cylon models were built to combat the Cylons that were rebelling. These newer models were nearly identical to humans; they eat, sleep, dream, and even age. These Cylons would become like the Cylon’s council since they are most of the influence for what Cylon culture is and has become. This would also be the foundation model of the new Cylons to be built. Cylons are still artificial in nature. They can interface with technology through touch, their programming can be implanted into another Cylon, and their memory is more advanced and accurate. What is most interesting is that the Cylons can project their own reality. If they do not like their reality, they can simply live in whatever illusion they want and get other Cylons to share the illusion.
As mentioned earlier the Cylons were nearly identical to humans, hence, much of the culture they built was based on what they observed from the humans. In the episode “33”, we hear Six speak of God, his will, sin, and repentance. Therefore, the Cylons have adopted a monotheistic culture. If God loves all equal then they shouldn’t have to be slaves to the humans. In fact, they see themselves as the replacement for the human race. Nevertheless, like the human race, not all Cylons are on board with this monotheistic view. Many of the older Cylons believe in a polytheistic approach and many of the Number One Cylons are atheist. Furthermore, with stories that imply AI domination over humans, we must analyze its viability as we are moving into an age of more AI.
Is it Possible?
First, it is best to understand how AI could possibly defy its creators. Joshua Davis suggest in his article “Law Without Mind: AI, Ethics, and Jurisprudence” that while AI is initially programmed and understood by its creator, the AI is able to create their own algorithms as it adapts to new environments. This gives the AI the ability to think on its own and against their creators instructions making it hard for their creator to predict what the AI will do. Like in the Battle Galactica episode, the Cylons are moving and thinking on their own, and the only thing the humans can predict is that they Cylons will attack every 33 minutes. Nevertheless, these Cylons can not seem to grasp the understanding of the very concepts that make humans human.
Two concept that always come into play when dealing with AI is morality and ethics. Davis suggest that computers are incapable of ruling out choices that are immoral, unethical, or illegal when trying to make the best decision. We can analyze this with technology like the self-driving car. If the self-driving car was to get into a potential accident situation, it would quickly begin to analyze things like age, income, health, wealth, and many other key factors of the colliding parties. Then, based off these readings, whichever persons benefits the society more the self-driving car would make an effort to save that person. Therefore, most times the saved party would be wealthy and the wealthy are likely to be white males. These life and death decisions ultimately “reinforces inequalities along the lines of class, age, sex, and race.” While we don’t expect this intentional behavior from AI, it is bound to happen as it is programmed to make these rational decisions. It is not until the AI adapts its programing to create its own code so that it make a decision that is altered from its original programming.
Nonetheless, AI does not come with a conscious that makes it feel guilt. They only imitate human emotions, so if AI does not experience the consequences from making an immoral decision, then it will continue to make that same decision. This explains why there are 8 different humanoid Cylons. Each portray different human emotions, but none portraying all of them. For instance, number five’s are nearly emotionless and willing to do whatever it takes to get a job done. On the other hand, number eight’s are more moral and loyal to a conflict but also compassionate, which can cause them to be easily manipulated.
Ultimately, AI is becoming more and more advanced. The question is, however, if this is a good thing or a bad one. There are many benefits to having advanced AI, yet if AI is able to construct their own algorithms that no human is able to understand it can become dangerous. It is not clear exactly what the future holds for AI, but hopefully humans and AI will be able to work together for the betterment of society rather than AI chasing humanity in outer space trying to kill the entire race off. Only time will tell.
- @Daisja30: Hi Daisja, I would like to suggest that since the Cylons are man-made that their belief in God is hardwired into their components. It may be possible that these robots do not necessarily believe in God, but can use God's reference to tug at human emotions in morality. Six mentioned that God moved The Olympia from radar to save Baltran may have been her way to get him to think this is true. However, the ship, that was supposed to be carrying human passengers, had explosives on board aiming toward the Galactica. Maybe the Cylons like Six use their human copied emotions to turn select humans onto their side like Six with Baltran.MarinChristina (talk) 21:48, 13 October 2019 (EDT)
- @MarinChristina: I see what you are saying. In the video of their culture, it does mention that many of the Cylons are very manipulative, so it would make sense for them to use God as a persuasive tool. However, I do think they believe in God just because they are trying to emulate humans.--Daisja30 (talk) 22:47, 13 October 2019 (EDT)
October 13, 2019: The Fine Line Between Humans and Robots
There is always the question of if humans will be replaced by robots or not. Many scientific stories explore the possibility of AI domination on the world. We can analyze this theme in Battlestar Galactica’s episode “33.” Within this story we can also witness the very concepts that make us humans like, compassion for another life that is not your own, grief from the passing away of a loved one, and the ethics to not leave a soldier behind. These concepts of morality, ethics, and emotions are aspects that can also be analyzed in Tom Godwin’s short story “The Cold Equations.”
Analyzing episode "33"
Battlestar Galactia’s episode “33” and “The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin both feature scenes where humans are put in morally difficult decisions and have to make some hard calls. In the Battlestar Galactia episode, the Olympic Carrier, a civilian carrier ship, did not make the jump to the next coordinates. Once the Olympic Carrier is finally able to return to the rest of the human ships, it is not clear if the ship has been infiltrated by Cylons. They are able to speak with the captain of the ship, yet when given orders to remain in their current position the ship disobeys. Reluctant, we see the President and colonel agree to destroy the ship. These orders are passed to the individual space carriers. Even though Captain Lee sees no one on the Olympic carrier, he is still doubtful of if he should actually shoot down the ship. Yet, these are his orders, so he must obey them. Once he has returned to the main carrier, he is clearly upset about the orders he has had to fulfill.
Analyzing "The Cold Equations"
In “The Cold Equations” we see Barton struggle to obey the main rule of the EDS’s which is “Any stowaway discovered in an EDS shall be jettisoned immediately following discovery.” Barton had been prepared to follow this order and is at ease with the consequences of having to send a person to their death. Yet, when faced with a blue eyed, curly-haired child with pure intentions, he can not bring himself to immediately jettison the stowaway. It is a taboo amongst our culture to kill children and clearly this idea has not faded even in an advanced future. Barton is not the only one who lives by this norm. As Barton explains his situation to Commander Delhart, he immediately changes his tone of voice as he understands the daunting task that Barton will have to face. Not only is it the fact that the stowaway is still in her teens, but it is the fact that she is a female as well. Barton complains that if only the stowaway was a man, then he wouldn’t have had second thoughts about following the law. This implies that in Barton’s society it is also a taboo for men to hurt women. Therefore, Barton’s morals come into conflict with the law and if there was any way he did not have to jettison the girl, he would not have done it.
There is a fine line between humans and AI, yet, AI will never truly be able to understand concepts like morality, ethics, and emotions. AI can only try to simulate what these concepts are because it is not in their programming to understand these things. No matter how many times AI even adapts their initial algorithms, numbers and letters cannot explain feelings.
October 20, 2019: Universes Beyond Our Own
Tim Pratt’s short story “Impossible Dreams” is a compelling story that combines science fiction, love, and a passion for movies. It follows the main protagonist Pete as he finds himself in a DVD store from another dimension. Here he meets his soul mate Ally who has just as strong of a love for films as he does. Pratt uses this story to explore the possibilities of travelling to parallel universes, intermingling the ideas of one of the three main theories of the concept; bubble universes.
Different Parallel Universe Theories
There have been plenty of theories proposed about the concept of alternate universes, but none have been proven true. Ultimately, a person is risking their life to test what happens once they enter a wormhole or black hole. Nonetheless, there are three prominent mathematical models scientists have used to explain how alternate universes work. These models are called the bubble universes model, membranes and extra dimensions model, and the many worlds model. In the bubble universe model, it states that other universes may be so far or in black holes that we are not able to see them. It also suggest that each “bubble” has different laws of physics, and we can only exist in those that have the right physical laws that would allow us to exist in that universe. The membranes and multidimensional model propose that the universe we live in is just a tree dimensional universe apart of a larger nine-dimensional super universe. Therefore, there is plenty of space for other three dimensional universes to exist, called membranes. Lastly, the many worlds model suggest that every alternate timeline that could occur in the universe is real, so these alternates are occurring in an constant infinite branching way. However, we do not realize this because we are living out just one of the many possibilities. Many scientists even combine all three of these theories to make multi multiuniverses. Analyzing “Impossible Dreams,” it appears Pratt leans more on the idea of the bubble universes model.
The "Bubble" Universe Theory in "Impossible Dreams"
Being that these bubbles are just floating within outer space, it suggests that eventually they will collide. Therefore, in the story we see Ally and Pete’s universes meet. However, these universes only collide for a period of time and then they depart from one another. This is why the shop is specifically there from 8:45 p.m. until 10 p.m. at first. We see this window close throughout the story, which implies that different bubbles come in contact with one another, depart, and then the next time they come in contact with one another the collision time is shorter. Eventually, this will keep happening until the two universes do not meet anymore. Also, we see that the people of these different worlds were able to interact in one another’s universes. Pratt is indicating that the two worlds have similar enough physics that humans can live in both universes as suggested by the theory. This is not the only similarity among the two worlds. The worlds have similar actors, movies, and directors, yet there are subtle differences among them due to an event happening in one world and not happening in the other. Like the many worlds model, Pete was living a world along one branch on the tree of infinite possibilities while Ally was living another.
Pratt uses “Impossible Dreams” to relay the bubble universes theory proposed by many scientists. Nevertheless, there are implications from the many worlds theory as both universes seemed very similar. The question is, will these theories or any other theory on alternate universes ever be proven true? With the current technology, the answer seems to be no, yet, we do not know what the future will hold. Until then, we can read stories like “Impossible Dreams” to satisfy our curiosity of traveling to an alternate universe.
- @Daisja30: I really enjoyed reading your post. I never knew there were different types of parallel universes. It is interesting to see how Pratt incorporated this into his story. Hopefully one day we will be able to find out if there are really alternative universes. Brebre143 (talk) 22:27, 20 October 2019 (EDT)
- @Daisja30: Cool post! I found it very interesting. This brings in a new perspective of how there are different types of parallel universes. Nice job! Tami Marie (talK) 23: 21, 20 October 2019 (EDT)
October 20, 2019: The Future is Up to the Government
Star Trek’s "The City on the Edge of Tomorrow" and Tim Pratt’s short story “Impossible Dreams” explore the possibilities of traveling to parallel universes. Both of these stories follow characters that visit worlds that are different from their own. While this is the main themes for these stories, they both allude to worlds where things could be different if the government made different decisions.
Analyzing the Theme in Both Stories
In the Star Trek episode, Captain Kirk and Mr.Spock travel to America during the time of the Great Depression to stop the Doctor from changing something in the time period that would affect the crew’s current world. Here, they meet Edith, a key factor in which direction the U.S will take after the Great Depression. This story follows the many worlds theory, therefore the U.S would end up in one of many situations depending on if Edith lives or dies. If Edith lives and becomes President, the U.S would not be successful in fending off Germany and Germany would end up taking over the world. If Edith dies and does not become President, then the U.S would conquer in the ways we read about in our textbooks today. Ultimately, they choose the later, which saves many Americans in the future. This story suggests that who we elect in office has a huge impact in the future of the state. In fact, many of Star Trek’s episodes are notorious for expressing issues in military hierarchy, politics, and interactions between the U.S and other countries. Then, in “Impossible Dreams” as Pete is looking through the array of different films in the DVD store, he noticed a World War II movie from John Wayne that he never seen before and not finding Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove implied that in Ally’s world that the bombing of Hiroshima never happened. Evidently, in Ally’s universe there has been different leaders of the U.S that did not see fit to bomb Japan. This is reinforced when Pete tries to pay for the DVD’s with his universes cash and Ally states that she only recognizes one of the presidents on the bills and coins. Therefore, in Ally’s universe there has been a major difference in both who has been running for President as well as who has been wining the title. Since it is Ally’s universe that is encountering Pete’s universe, we do not get to analyze the type of society that Ally lives in. Nonetheless, whoever has been in office has taken a liking to octagonal shaped coins.
Both stories hint at the idea of how big of a role the governments decisions play in the future of a state. The Star Trek episode implies this by having the characters return to a critical time in America’s history that was the product of poor leadership. Then, the success of America relied on the death of Edith. In “Impossible Dreams” the notion is more subtle yet its affects are great as the currency is different, there are different major credit card companies, and even the shape of money is different. Therefore, we have to take the time to pay attention to who we are electing as President. The President oversees how we will interact with other countries, which can put us as allies or at war with the countries around us.
- @Daisja30: When watching the Star Trek episode and reading The Impossible Dream the government never came to my mind and how they would effect the things centered around everything. you do make a valid point especially with the currency aspect of the Impossible Dream. you have a really good eye out for looking at things that outside the picture. JShepp912 (talk)
- @Daisja30: Again, some good ideas here, but you must get your references correct. If you are using shortened footnotes, you must use an author's name and include
ref=harvin your template. —Grlucas (talk) 07:25, 21 October 2019 (EDT)
November 2, 2019: Analyzing the Society in "Hang the DJ"
Black Mirror is notorious for including high tech technology within its stories that can either have a negative affect on its characters or a positive one. Yet, the affect it has is left for the viewer to decide. For instance, we can analyze an advanced dating app in the episode “Hang the DJ.” Within this story we can also analyze the kind of society the characters live in as it is reliant on technology to help in an area that is truly human, which is love.
In this episode we see the characters use a small device, referring to it as “coach” since it gives the characters advice and other such guidance. Much of the society has clearly become dependent on the technology of the system the coach is connected to. The characters comply to its demands for their next relationship no matter how soon it might be after their last relationship. Regardless of what they are doing, they are expected to drop what they are doing and immediately go on their date. In the video “Black Mirror Analysis: Hang the DJ” it explains how the main setting of the story, the garden, was a natural garden which became popular after the formal, symmetrical Zen gardens. The garden is an inverse symbol of the “unnatural level of control” the system has over such a humanly concept. This extreme dependence on such a technology also shows how the society believes in the idea of finding their perfect match. If they did not, then they would not go through the trouble of having so many partners for the sake of the system collecting data. The idea of finding one’s soulmate appears to still live on. Nevertheless, it is questioned if our soulmates exist outside the realm of our usual environment. This is why most people turn to dating apps, to broaden the spectrum of potential dating candidates they typically would not have found otherwise. Even though Amy’s date after Frank does not mention where he is from, it can be assumed that he has a foreign background since he speaks with an accent.
The System Mirrors Religion
The idea of finding one’s soulmate is often seen in religious communities. Therefore, belief in the system is religious in nature. First, the characters often exclaim having faith in the system. Faith is defined as belief that is not based on proof. Even though the coach constantly reminds the characters that the system will find their 99.8% match, it has not yet been proven true in their life. That stated, like in religion, the system uses testimonies to encourage its users. We see this as the newlyweds excitedly express “If you’re having doubts, just hang on in there. Because it really does work.” Lastly, in some religions there are strict rules and regulations that are not to be broken. Likewise, the users of the system have to follow the rules of the system. For instance, they have a certain amount of time to be with the person the system has currently set them on a date with. The characters must stay in the relationship no matter how much they might dislike their match. Then, when the time is up, no matter how much they may like their match, the two are expected to leave one another. Some religions even practice punishments for those that break the rules. This idea is represented when Amy and Frank try to escape but are met by the men in black with tasers.
Analyzing this episode reveals a lot about the society Amy and Frank live in. Love is typically something only humans can understand, and machines cannot. Yet in this society, the people have become reliant on a computer system to help them find their ultimate match. The system is quite religious in practice as it expects its users to put full faith in its abilities and comply to all the rules necessary for the system to be successful. Then, it uses those who have found their ultimate match to encourage those that are still in waiting. However, it is not clear if this system finds the best match of the candidates that are on the app or if it searches the world to truly find someone’s ultimate match.
@Daisja30: I like your analogy of the system mirroring religion. Religions in some areas like Bangladesh, India, Morocco have arranged marriages. The couples are set up by their parents and often do not meet until the day of the wedding. The arrangement is like an app because the parents consult with astrologers and commonalities the couples share with each other. Unlike the timed relationship counter, arraigned are meant to be for life. The parents can be compared to the men in black. Amy and Frank are like a couple who know they are best for each other, but their parents have other persons assigned for them. MarinChristina (talk) 20:47, 3 November 2019 (EST)
November 2, 2019: Blindly Following Technology
In “Maneki Neko” by Bruce Sterling and Black Mirror’s “Hang the DJ” characters follow instructions given by their technological devices. The idea of blindly following technology can be startling to say the least. In both stories the societies which the characters live in have become so reliant on technology that they do not question the instructions the technology gives them. In Sterling’s story Tsuyoshi’s blind following of technology puts him in a danger situation that could have led to his death. In the episode, Frank has become so reliant on the system that he must check the time him and Amy has together even after making a promise to her that he will not. His reliance on the technology causes their relationship time to drop from five years to just 20 hours. Although the technology in both of these stories are meant for good, just think of the damage that can be done if someone where to hack into the systems hardware. Ultimately, there should never be a time where we become so reliant on technology that we lose a sense of our human nature. In the text, we only see Tsuyoshi commit acts of kindness because his device tells him to. Then, in the episode the people have found it hard to go on dates and it can be assumed that they also do not know how to set up dates either. Everything has been planned out for them by the system. While both systems can have positive affects for their societies, the stories show how they can have negative one’s as well.
@Daisja30:I agree wholeheartedly that we should not become too dependent on technology to the point where it determines our fate. I'm afraid that we might be headed that way as technology is advancing and replacing humans in some workplaces. I think that technology is a gift to some extent and a curse to another because depending on how you use it it can harm someone. I think about it all the time if someone hacked into the database they can get whatever info they want and use it for worse. --TSmith2020 (talk) 22:52, 3 November 2019 (EST)
- @TSmith2020: I feel the same. So much of our data is collected by third parties and depending on the third party they can get away with selling our data. Then, whoever buys the data will have a variety of information on an individual.--Daisja30 (talk) 20:37, 4 November 2019 (EST)
December 8, 2019: Reflective Essay
I found this course to be quite a challenge. In the beginning, I was not familiar with how to use Wikipedia nor was I aware of the challenges presented by an online course. That said, this was my first online course, and I have to say that I prefer in-class courses. I would have many questions about how to use the software yet found it hard to communicate with the professor since he does not have an office on the campus I resided on. Even with a skype call, I did not find it as helpful as it would have been if I could have met with the professor face-to-face. I am somewhat familiar with coding but still found using Wikipedia difficult. Nevertheless, I did learn a lot about Wikipedia and our topic of science fiction.
As far as critiquing articles, I found it a helpful tool as it allowed me to understand what makes a good article. The article I critiqued was “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick. In order to critique my specific article, I simply tried to follow the outline provided by the WikiEdu modules and it guided me through the process. This exercise also helped me realize how it takes a team of editors to help build a great article. When brainstorming how to contribute to my article, I did not really know what to add to the article. Therefore, I started by making some edits to grammar and sentence structure, I added two images, and I added a section referring to the characters in the short story. However, I did not feel as though I had contributed enough. Therefore I decided to reach out to the professor for help. Once I asked the professor for guidance, it helped me realize how much more I could actually add to the article.
Another step that helped me in the process of critiquing my own article was the peer review exercise. In this process, I was able to see the edits my peers had made on their articles as well as the directions they decided to go in bettering their chosen articles. This sparked some ideas on other aspects I could add to my article as well. Even though I was able to review my peers’ work, I did not receive any feedback on my article. This was very unfortunate as I would have liked to hear constructive criticism on how I could have improved my article. Nevertheless, when I added images to the page, a few days later when I returned to make more edits on the page, I realized that another editor had removed one of the images. The feedback left was that it was irrelevant to the contents of the article.
Overall, I learned that the process of contributing to Wikipedia should not be taken lightly. Wikipedia is a source for editors to create, edit, and contribute to articles that provide information to the public in a nonbiased manner. Compared to the assignments I have done in the past, the Wikipedia assignment comes close to being the most challenging. Although the weekly journals were not too difficult, when it comes to actually adding information to a Wikipedia article, one must be precise and follow to rules of posting on Wikipedia. Therefore, it has a real-world connection as we as editors can have any piece of or work removed from a variety of other Wikipedia editors in the world.
- @Daisja30: Thank your for your insights and good work in the course. I'm glad you were able to overcome your difficulties. —Grlucas (talk) 06:18, 9 December 2019 (EST)
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