Monday, February 21, 2005

Machine Desirantes

Most television science fiction these days lacks advanced ideas -- generally, they seem to be run-of-the-mill soap operas or social commentary. But the other day I ran across an impressive animated show called Ghost in the Shell. The episode concerned the development of some self-reflection and community-reflection in a group of AI robots. I was reminded a little bit of when I first saw Max Headroom on television -- it's clear that this new show is ahead of its time, in the sense that it treats as commonsensical ideas like minds being able to enter and influence other minds, AI systems that share cognitive resources so that there is a blurring of identity, and there being a continuum of entities between people and AI systems. Max Headroom didn't make it past its second season, but the world it predicted is in many ways familiar today. I expect the same to hold true for Ghost in the Shell.

5 Comments:

Blogger TheMultinational said...

You should watch the GitS feature films.

Start with the ten year old Ghost in the Shell then move to the six month old Ghost in the Shell: Innocence.

The second is far more philosophical, given the timeframe in which they were created it's amazing to the see the maturation of the medium.

Have you ever watched Akira?

May 5, 2005 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Push Singh said...

I did see the first film when it came out, but I haven't seen the second one yet. (I'm planning to rent it when my schedule clears up!)

I did see Akira when it first came out, but I was disappointed that the characters had "psychic powers." That sort of magic may have been fine in stories from the 19th century, when plausible mechanistic theories of the mind were unavailable, but they are not needed in the 21st century. The world of GitS seems to me based on plausible scientific advances, making it much more interesting to me.

May 7, 2005 at 4:09 PM  
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October 27, 2005 at 1:20 PM  
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October 28, 2005 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Drunken ronin said...

Ghost in the Shell did not 'make' it past season two not on account of a lack of success, it's one of the most popular both in it's movies and television series as well as the original comic book. While this is simply my opinion on the matter, I believe Ghost in the Shell made only two seasons because unlike the frequent north american way of milking a series till it has neither a plot nor an audience, Japanese television and film is more devoted to the quality of storytelling than to capital gain, (yes there are many anime, japanese too, with incredibly cheap plot and production) The Stand alone complex and The Second Gig are each filled with excellent 'stand alone' episodes and an immersive overall science fiction thiller Plot. Stuffed with tense political sleight of hand, stunning combat and all the while touching upon very human issues without always having humans present. While the metaphyisical debates on the 'ghost' or 'soul' can get esoteric they are serious philosophy.
For these reasons I suggest that Ghost in the Shell did not continue its series not because it's ahead of it's time, which of course it is, being about the future and a radical one, but because they told their story, thats it, sayonara; if you know what that means:)

September 4, 2010 at 1:38 AM  

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