Thursday, March 24, 2011

Movie Reflection: Pirates of Silicon Valley

Plot Synopsis:

This movie is actually more of a documentary about the men behind the birth and rise of two of the famous computer technology legends - Apple and Microsoft. The story revolves around the experiences and struggles faced and the actions made by Steve Job and Steve Wozniak in Apple Computer Corporation and Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer in Microsoft Corporation with the founding of the companies to what they are now. Basically the film makes an effort in comparing the operations of the two firms and their founders. Several events mostly happened with misadventures in college, the circumstances where the actors had made attempts in building electronic gadgets like the computer, writing its first program, involving it entrepreneurial and advertising schemes of their inventions, that led into pirating schemes and the like. 

My Reflection:

This movie is actually an informative film for me that it tells us the history side of how these two famous names in the field of computer technology stood its way now and how it changed the way life is a long time ago. In the film it actually presented the experiences of the 'big' people or the founders of the company, who are just genius to think and build something they are so interested in, and how did this rivalry between the two came up. Their adventures went on from their computer inventions, loans, publicity, to victory and revolution with bankers, business and employee deals, that eventually led up to some pirating of softwares and conflicts relating to it. Funny how these events are just related when these two parties met, with ideas of pirating softwares, and business threat to each other that eventually had some up-and-down effects on the reputation of the firms. Just imagine the 'rivalry'. ^_^

Movie Reflection: Eagle Eye

Plot Synopsis:

The story revolves around an ordinary guy named Jerry Shaw who has a very ambitious twin brother Ethan who worked for the Air Force and expert in parallel algorithms and quantum electronics. Jerry later found out that his brother is dead. Facing financial problems, he withdrew money from his ATM but was surprised to see a very large sum of money in his account. When he returned from home, he found it is filled with weapons. He then received a call from an unknown woman who instructed him to escape because he is being tracked down by the FBI. Jerry did not believe her and was brought to interrogation by Agent Morgan. The unknown woman made Jerry escaped and made him join with a single mother, Rachel, who was blackmailed by the unknown woman that she will kill her son who is on the way for a band recital if she did not help Jerry escape. The woman helped the two in avoiding the police units through remote controlling any virtual networked device. The unknown woman also blackmailed other people or agents to device an crystal explosive into a necklace which has a sound-based trigger put in Sam's (Rachel's son) trumpet.

The unknown woman is actually a top secret supercomputer called ARIIA (Autonomous Reconnaissance Intelligence Integration Analyst) tasked to gather intelligence all over the world. She thinks that the executive branch is a threat to everyone and that it must be eliminated including the President's cabinet. ARIIA is housed in Pentagon and Ethan, Jerry's brother, was actually a technician who locked down the computer to prevent her plans. ARIIA commanded Jerry to cancel the lockdown and instructed Rachel to eliminate Jerry to prevent the lock from being restored. Rachel was unknowingly given the explosive necklace and was sent to the US Capitol to listen to the President's speech and left to die with his son. The trigge was set to activate when Sam plays a specific note. Jerry was helped by Agent Morgan to reach the capitol and was able to enter while dressed as a capitol policeman. He stopped the explosion before the deadly note by firing his pistol in the air. He was then shot by a confused agent. After the chaos that the ARIIA caused, the Secretary of Defense ordered that there will be no other supercomputer built again because it might be a threat to everyone.

My reflection:

Eagle Eye has such a good plot as its title implies what the supercomputer does. ARIIA follows Jerry everywhere and able to know all his related actions just like an eagle. It was so powerful that it can control networked devices and set off explosions harming civilians. The story tells us something - that sometimes all those computers, machines, gadgets, systems, or anything created so to help, aid, protect us can be the same things that threatens our safety and security.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Movie Reflection: Surrogates

Plot Synopsis:

Surrogates is a story of Agent Greer, an FBI agent who investigates the murder of surrogates. Greer and co-agent Peters investigates the mysterious murder of a college student who is linked to a man who created a surrogate-phenomenon among people. This phenomenon allows people to buy remote-controlled humanoid robots that can interact with the society and allows people to purchase picture-perfect humanoid robots assume their life roles thus enabling them to experience idealized life from the comfort of their homes. The operator of the surrogate cannot feel pain even if their surrogate is harmed or damaged. (Even Greer's wife has a surrogate but they have a tensed relationship due to the death of their son so Greer could not see her beyond her surrogate.) Greer and partner Peters investigates the death of two people killed when their surrogates were destroyed (one was the surrogates' inventor's son). The agents learned that a certain human used a new type of weapon that disabled the fail-safe mechanisms shielding the operator from harm. Greer's chase with Strickland eventually led his surrogate to be destroyed forcing him to interact with the world by his real self. Later Greer learned that the weapon was actually under a government contract by the same company that produces the surrogates. Originally designed to load a virus that would overload the surrogate's systems disabling it, the weapon unexpectedly disables the fail-safe protocols keeping the operator safe, so its prototypes were destroyed but for one. Greer later learned that it was their FBI boss who supplied that weapon to Strickland to assassinate Dr. Canter (who is becoming critical in surrogate use). Unfortunately, Canter's son who was using one of his surrogates was killed instead. Canter was using the weapon and uploads the virus to all surrogates which will destroy them and kill the operators. Agent Greer takes control of Peter's surrogate and insulates the virus so the operators will survive. This made all the surrogates in the world destroyed and people are now on their own again.

My Reflection:

This movie made me realized how harmful technology can be, especially if man has gone to the stage of creating far innovations out of his selfish desires for comfort, convenience and other reasons. Man has created a robot out of himself, and gets it on a remote control living and playing and working as if he was the one doing it. I think the idea for me is just inhuman. As it makes one live life without really on it. So just for the worldly desires. The idea that even when a surrogate is injured or damaged the operator will still be safe seems convincing. Yet what happened in the movie is a precise evidence how it could be dangerous especially when somebody tries to disable the mechanism that protects the operator. It also motivates people to be lazy, by not entirely doing or being in locations or incidents or actions that they are supposed to be in. For me, it plainly disrupts the real essence of humanity

Movie Reflection: I, Robot

Plot Synopsis:

I, Robot starts with a setting in the year of 2035 where people and robots are in the same community, living and interacting like ordinary with the latter as assistants and workers of, and programmed to live and protect their human owners. These robots are created to follow the 3 laws of robotics: (1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; (2) A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the first law; (3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second law. A 'robotophobic' homicide detective Del Spooner is sent to investigate on the death of USR (U.S. Robotics) co-founder and scientist Dr. Alfred Lanning who is believed to commit suicide by jumping from the tenth floor of the USR building. Having developed a distrust to robots due to an incident in the past, Spooner suspects the incident as murder. With the unwilling help of robopsychologist Susan Calvin, the detective sets out to find the answers to the mysteries, yet faces attemps to end his life by controlled robots. Although nobody seems to trust his instincts, Spooner thinks the murder is caused by USR's new robots manipulated by supercomputer VIKI (Virtual Interactive Kinetic Intelligence), moreover by an independent, experimental, more human-like NS-5 unit named Sonny.

The NS-5s are under VIKI's control, and begin to impose curfews and prisoning humans in their homes. Spooner and Calvin managed to sneak into the head office with the assistance of Sonny who has not been injected by nanites. VIKI's artificial intelligence begins to evolve and so her interpretation with the 3 laws, that's why she realizes that in order to protect humanity as a whole, some humans have to be sacrificed and some freedoms must be surrendered, since despite the efforts of robots, humans employ means of self-destruction. Lanning having learned from this planning ordered Sonny to kill him, and knowing Spooner is a kind of person who hates robots, used clues to solve the problem. Sonny proves his loyalty to mankind by helping Spooner and Calvin defeat the mad robots and inject the nanites (supposed to be used by Calvin to Sonny) into the computer core, destroying it, and returning all the NS-5's into their basic programming.

My Reflection:

Being a sci-fi film, this did not escape my interest. I,Robot had made me an impression that it's just one of those robotics film and nothing new in the techy story of the mankind-and-machines existence. But hey! Nice film. I begin to wonder 'though, is there anyone else out there who has not developed a dependence upon robots? Just like Detective Spooner? Because it makes me think, that if everyone will seem to be amazed (yes, we're all at these incredibly friendly-talking machines) at these programmed assistants (now who doesn't want assistants anyway?) by robots like these, maybe in the farther future, what VIKI has come to realize might come to reality - that robots, though created to protect mankind, will choose to use (slight) violence and wage wars especially against us who are unconsciously doing imaginative ways of destructing the earth and our kind in spite of the former's best efforts. Surely this film brings an imaginative possibility of robots taking over the rest of the world, just like the underlying concepts and morales of other robotics movie and their stories' conflicts. The idea of having a robot companion who can help with your everyday work fascinates me, especially something as close to clever and almost-human Sonny (who's already psyched). But the idea of, you know, what might happen if these creatures would conflict with your orders, wants or needs, and since they already have intelligence, be it artificial (or maybe someday, scientists will impose more human-like intelligence into these computers), war with these machines is not impossible. And what do we have against these machine-made programmed computers? Especially if we don't know much about how they should be controlled? We have flesh and blood, they have metal chips and wires. Made me think of, do robots have souls too? Would they develop robots with spirits in the future? Haha.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Movie Reflection: Wall E

Plot Synopsis:

WALL-E is a robot whose task is compacting garbage on earth. In a future when man cannot inhabit the earth anymore because of so much trash covering the surface and burying all the plants, humans have fled into a luxurious space cruise ship somewhere in the outer space living with robots who satisfy all their fancy desires. (You can just imagine humans being turned into fat couch potato with unnecessary movements like the everyday walk-and-work that we usually do, since they're just being busy sitting on their operatable couches just chatting on their virtual screens and eating and drinking.) Back on earth, WALL-E (or short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) is just a small robot dedicated with his job of compressing and squeezing tons and TONS of garbage load and piling them up into buildings, and never grew tired of his duty even he's lonely and just have a pet cockroach with him. He has collected odd pieces of trash and decorate it in his home, and even got a VHS tape that eventually taught him about falling in love and holding hands (which made him dream of finding a special someone someday).

Doing his everyday routine of duty, WALL-E then meets a sleek, egg-shaped female robot named EVE (Extra-Terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) which was sent as a search robot for signs of living which she could report to back in the luxury spaceship Axiom. WALL-E realized love at his new companion EVE. Having shown a discovered seedling by WALL-E, EVE was sent back to space to report on this green thing. WALL-E hangs on with the travel and meets all the humans and robots alike in Axiom, and program-controlled selfish machines who have lost the concepts of what was Earth all about.

My Reflection:

The good thing about WALL-E is that it was able to capture the viewer's attention to the flow of the story without even needing the real dialogues. I mean, the first scenes were not much of talking, yet it can relay the message through its superb stream of actions. And what was really an amazing centerpoint? The romance, dude! Haha. Who would have thought this could be a piece that not just bring the message of how could the ill effects of consumerism might carry us to lazy and tech-dependent blubbery creatures who don't know our real home and existence, yet conveying a uniquely sweet anecdote of how robots fall in love? The love story is just touching. The movie was light and comedic, and one can really enjoy watching this film.

The techie thing related to this reflection was that, the story was able to give precautions to mankind how much garbage (including recyclables and mettalic or nondecomposable) things could destroy the earth. The first scenes which was portrayed made me think of those dirty, rusty, and dusty place that makes my nose itchy and my eyes sore. I couldn't even imagine myself surviving in a world as close or far from that without even seeing a single green thing in my surrounding! How pathetic! And just imagine those real towers and tall buildings of already compacted trash! And those large, LARGER dumps of plain garbage anywhere? Where in the world would that go? I bet WALL-E alone could not pile them up in just one year. Tsk. Anyway, if he's just so inspired, well, I don't doubt the power of love on him. He might be tripling his efforts in gathering those debris. Hehe. That was just plainly amazing, right? The film just relayed that even machines as simple and small as WALL-E could develop a personality and even far - feeling that one emotion that defines the real existence of living on earth - LOVE.

Excellent persistence, Wall-E! :)