2014: Postmortem

Oh no! I forgot to post a personal postmortem1 for the year 2014 like I did for the previous year...

Cognitive Abstraction Manifolds

A few days ago I started thinking about abstractions whilst reading Surfaces and Essences, a recent...

On That Which is Called “Memory”

Information itself is a foundational concept for cognitive science theories.But the very definition...

Polymorphism in Mental Development

Adaptability and uninterrupted continuous operations are important features of mental development...

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Samuel KenyonRSS Feed of this column.

Robotics software engineer, AI researcher, interaction designer (IxD). Also (as Sam Vanivray) filmmaker, actor.

Working on my new sci-fi movie to be filmed in 2016:
BRUTE SANITY... Read More »

As part of my effort towards developmental systems for cognitive architectures, I've been trying to beat some sense into an Alife simulator. I've used the Breve simulator in the past, and although it's no longer supported, it still works fine. My existing Anibots code uses Breve [1]--which in turn uses Open Dynamics Engine--as the physical simulation, and I wanted to expand that for some developmental experiments.
I just noticed a recently published Springer article titled "Humanoid robots as “The Cultural Other”: are we able to love our creations?" by Min-Sun Kim and Eun-Joo Kim [1] which cites my own article "Would You Still Love Me If I Was A Robot?"[2].

At the moment I do not have access to the full article, but as you can see the first two pages are available for anyone.

Initially, what's unnerving about this publication is not the subject itself, but weirdnesses like:

It is either aliens or robots, which will get us!

Take a look at this M.C. Escher lithograph, "Ascending and Descending".

Is this art? Is it graphic design? Is it mathematical visualization? It is all of those things. One might even say that it's also an architectural plan given that it has been used to implement physical 3-dimensional structures which feature the same paradox when viewed from a particular angle.

Design and Specialization

It has been said that true science fiction requires a story in which the world is changed--and never goes back to the way it was (I don't remember the source of this definition). By this definition, techno-thrillers such as everything by Michael Crichton are not science fiction, since the world is returned to normal after some disaster strikes. You might notice that a lot of science fiction films, especially the more mainstream ones, conclude with humanity returning to business as usual. The knots are untied. Loose ends are taken care of. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that, as it is the normal way to adhere to standard dramatic structure. And the dynamics of the characters might outshine the background world anyway.
I haven't seen Elysium yet, but Ryan Britt's article "Our Science Fiction Movies Hate Science Fiction" is interesting nonetheless:
Ripping off the heads of robots like a sweaty space-age cyberpunk Robin Hood, Matt Damon is delivering future-social-justice this week in Elysium.

Alright, so what does this have to do with anti-science-fiction? As Britt writes:
But the vast majority of science fiction films—even the very best of them--still see the SF, the tech, the speculative concept, as the antagonist of the film.

And that is the heart of the matter. As he says about Elysium:
Back in the fall of 2005 I took a class at the MIT Media Lab called Commonsense Reasoning for Interaction Applications taught by Henry Lieberman and TA'd by Hugo Liu.

For the first programming assignment I made a project called AffectWorld, which allows the user to explore in 3D space the affective (emotional) appraisal of any document.