Hawking Up Hairballs

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Star Trek

I never understood the appeal of the Star Trek television series. The sets were so obviously fake, the acting poor, and the plots uninteresting. In other words, it was no better or worse than the typical TV fare. Likewise for the various Star Trek movies. However, I recently watched the newest Star Trek film and I was impressed.

It was a fun bit of entertainment, with lots of characters from the original TV series for the aficionado. (The were played by different, younger actors, of course.) With a few exceptions, like Blade Runner and the original Terminator, I've never been much for science fiction movies, mostly because the worlds that they created were not visually believable. However, that has changed in recent years. The computer graphics have become so good that it has become easy to suspend disbelief when it comes to the visual aspects of the worlds created in these movies.

I wonder how long it will be before the techniques become so sophisticated that they won't even need actors anymore. They currently use focus groups to test the endings of a lot of movies, and they will change an ending if the members of those groups react negatively. Can't you just see them choosing computer-generated actors based upon the reactions of some focus group?

Yeah, it's a brave, new world that's a-coming, folks, and it's all a part of the neoliberal version of the capitalist project. Computer-generated actors, fully automated, robotic factories, online stores that have no need for stock clerks or sales people, that's what they're up to. Make the workers obsolete, as in the world of Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano. Those what have, will have. Those without, which means the overwhelming majority, will have to beg for scraps. Imagine a worldwide version of the worst of Indian poverty. That's what we're looking at. Unless, unless...


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