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Tamara Wilhite

Tamara Wilhite is a science fiction and horror author, engineer, and mother of 2 (humans). Check out Tamara’s Amazon Author Page and see her on Hubpages.

New Science Fiction: They All Died Laughing

That international flight saved my life. Or it killed me. I’m not sure which yet.

I distinctly remember the man two rows back hacking his lungs out. It made it impossible to sleep well on the twelve hour flight back from my Asian business trip. I paid for headphones, eventually, but not a face mask. I didn’t see the need.

When I developed a chronic cough, the doctor tested me. It was tuberculosis. Actually, it was worse – it was drug-resistant tuberculosis. They called it XDR-TB, extra drug-resistant TB. I wasn’t going to be allowed to sit in quarantine at home taking antibiotics each day. I was locked in a bubble and driven by armed soldiers to a top notch quarantine facility.

I thought my life was over. I just didn’t think it would have ended this way.

The Sinking Dream of Living under the Sea

Hanna-Barbera released a cartoon in the 1970s called Sealab 2020. It imagined a world where scientists and technical experts studied ocean life, protect the environment and go on adventures. Undersea mining and oil drilling are shown in this future.

Skip forward a few decades, and SeaQuest DSV shows an even grander future under-the-sea. There are cities on the ocean floor under domes and in connected habitats, partially there due to population pressure. Floating sea farming platforms, undersea mining and research are all part of this world.

That potential future hasn’t quite come to pass. The whole thing is similar to the grand vision of flying on hoverboards a la Back to the Future deteriorating into an argument on what constitutes a hoverboard.

The War of the Ice Age Apocalypse Movies

Back before we rebranded global warming into climate change, we were afraid the world was cooling. Actually, in the 1970s, it was cooling, bringing on fears of a global ice age. This wasn’t addressed nearly as much in Cold War movies as fear of nuclear wars; many movies actually featured worlds that arose in the aftermath of such destruction, though it might have included a nuclear winter in there. What you don’t see, though, are many movies set in a future ice age.

After watching “Snowpiercer”, I tried finding similar movies and stumbled upon “Quintet”. These two movies are almost as far apart as possible, though they end up in the same, dismal place.

How Moore’s Law Made ‘Beggars in Spain’ Obsolete

Moore’s Law is the law that computing power will double every 18 months. In recent years, we’ve actually seen computing power accelerate such that we’re doing better than Moore’s Law. The real-world ramifications of this are seen in cell phones that contain more features and intelligence every year. Its impact on genetic engineering is both more and less obvious.

Look to the Past to See the Future of Tech Support

I read a Cracked article on how surprisingly prescient the movie Demolition Man was down to the wussification of the world and social justice mandates enforced by automated systems. We could argue that Heinlein’s group marriages are on the cusp of being legal when same sex marriage was immediately followed by lesbian throuples and polygamous families suing for recognition. Yet the future of tech support is found in even older works of science fiction. I think the future of tech support will be robo-psychologists like Dr. Susan Calvin in Isaac Asimov’s short stories and the Robots based on his 3 laws of robotics.

The War of the Walking Dead Soldier Stories

Stories, movies and books featuring reanimated soldiers are not common, but they aren’t unique, either. The “Universal Soldier” franchise managed to make four movies based on the concept of dead soldiers re-animated and moderately re-engineered to fight. “Old Man’s War” became a book series, though it has a somewhat different premise. In Scalzi’s book, your brain is downloaded to a genetically engineered, enhanced version of yourself.

A Clone Movie Competition: Anna to the Infinite Power Vs. Boys from Brazil

Anna to the Infinite Power” is a 1982 movie about a young woman who learns that she is the clone of a scientist in the hope of recreating that genius. It isn’t as well known as the movie “Boys from Brazil” that tapped into Mengele’s real-life horror show and fear that the Nazis were trying to make a literal comeback. Yet the two movies share a number of similarities.

Inception Vs Lathe of Heaven

“Inception” is a 2010 blockbuster starring A-list talent. “Lathe of Heaven” was a cheaply-made movie based on a book by Ursula K. Le Guin. There are a variety of similarities between them, though each has its strong points.

Spoiler warning: we’re spoiling everything.

Prometheus VS Mission to Mars

“Prometheus” was the expensive attempt to create a prequel to “Alien” and “Aliens”. “Mission to Mars” was an expensive, earlier movie that YouTuber “Computing Forever” ranked one of the five worst science fiction movies of the last twenty years. Since I love science fiction, I’ve seen both in the movie theater, though given the “Mission to Mars” box office returns, I cannot be unique in this regard. I may be unique for preferring “Mission to Mars” to “Prometheus.” Let’s compare the two movies and how they relate to each other.

34 Ethical Questions Raised by Elevating Artificial Intelligence to Human Legal Status

There are a number of ethical questions raised by raising artificial intelligences to the same legal status as a human:

If an AI is legally “alive,” is turning it off considered sedation or murder? Are there limits on turning one off?

Does an artificial intelligence have a right to access information? Is internet access for it a right akin to the freedom to walk down the street for a human?

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