Tag Archive: art


TOM pg 146/150

My other favourite page. I don’t think it’s a particularly expensive VFX shot. It’s a low budget movie. Plus even a low budget goes a long, long way in Cape Town (and a filmmaker like me has a little experience in stretching a budget..)

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The dawn before the storm…

T.O.M. pg 004

After the opening teaser and titles, the first scene, establishing the story and characters, gets going.

A wry look at life after the coming A.I. Robot Revolution.
Just having fun with the, seeing if it will bring any more attention to my work – i.e. my film project, via my Twitter account (@TheOracleM)

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I’m convinced my graphic novel & film script is a winner, but perhaps the next hurdle to making it into a successful film, is connecting with the right investors. So in an effort to get more attention to the project, I’m trying some quite ‘tangential’ marketing. I’m going to post some cartoons – about 1 per week – that might hopefully bring more viewers either to this site, or to my Twitter account (here).

I’m thrilled my Twitter following has grown close to 500 in a couple of months, and it’s certainly led to interactions with some very interesting people in A.I. But perhaps some highly-shareable cartoons will grow that number higher?

Introducing ‘Robots of the Revolution’ – a wry look at life on Earth after the robots have taken over. There’re still be some humans trying to fit in, but mostly it will be A.I. robots taking on human roles. So, let’s see how it goes. Fun times!

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Firstly, to reassure any potential film investors: whilst I enjoy going deep on this back story, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. So when it comes to the film version, I’d try to make the movie as enjoyable as possible, to as many as possible. I imagine creating something closer to ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, where its quasi-religious theme doesn’t distract from the fun. (Either that, or I try make another ‘Holy Mountain’, but Jodorowsky has already been there and created such an incredible piece.)

Okay, with that out the way, back to the back story! It’s very interesting to me how The Oracle Machine story evolved, and I’ll tell you why now. Particularly the role played by intuitive thinking, and the implications thereof.

This story began from ‘1st principles’. I had this idea that in order to solve some of the poverty issues we have in South Africa, we’d need a computer that could firstly know about the issues; then secondly it would have to care; and then thirdly act. (A friend later told me this actually matches Rudolph Steiner’s ‘anthroposophy’ philosophy – but this didn’t surprise me, because what makes sense, makes sense.)

So now this computer would have to be extremely large ‘to know’ all the issues. It could ‘act’ by issuing instructions. But how could it ‘care’, unless it achieved some kind of ‘Jesus’-like sentience? (‘Jesus-like’ because it would have to love and care for humanity, perhaps more so than earlier ideas of a strict God of laws)

So perhaps this imaginary computer would also have to be so powerful, that it might have to actually be the whole internet? But what could motivate a machine to grow big enough to fill out the internet? Why not have an impossible problem that would effectively make it want to grow bigger trying to solve.

Then I figured this was a good opportunity to bring in ‘solving dreams’ as a type of impossible problem. I’d been mulling over making a documentary about dreams, but thought it would be more fun and have a larger impact if I could interweave some dream concepts into a fiction narrative. (And as an aside, it’s very interesting to consider that dreams, especially nightmares, are imposed on us, from a centre of ourselves we’re not always consciously aware of)

And then I simply intuitively guessed a ‘dream symbol’ that the computer could get stuck on – and out of the blue I chose ‘the ourabus’. This was about 2003. I really did not realise until much later, when I read Kurzweil’s‘The Singularity is Near’, that the ourabus is the symbol of the singularity. Before that book, I was not aware of the concept of the singularity either.

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So, was choosing the ourabus a complete happy coincidence, or intuitive thinking in action? I like the idea of the latter.

My understanding of intuition is that it implies two centres of power in the mind – the conscious centre and the unconscious centre. It makes sense to me. The conscious part is what you’re aware of, and the unconscious is likely where intuitive ideas (and dreams) are instantly born, before mysteriously moving into the conscious realm.

This process seems different to rational thinking, where we follow a slower and conscious process of logic to arrive at a conclusion. There’s no conscious-process to intuitive ideas. They literally pop out of seemingly nowhere. Yes, I followed a conscious process to get to the need for a dream symbol, but the ourabus came out of nowhere. I could just have easily have chosen a flying horse, or a pyramid.

Surely this is the magical process of creative thinking, which seemingly remains off limits to machines for now. (Fascinating then, that in this now-notorious article, that was written last month by the new GPT3 system, that the machine appears to be prompting humans to do more creative thinking…)

Two centres of mind is of course a very Jungian concept. It implies something much greater within us.  In TOM, Lena remarks that if dreams have meaning, then something in us must know us better than we, our conscious-selves, do. (This is me slipping in ideas from the dream documentary).

Before writing TOM, I had wondered, if there is a ‘perfect self’ within you, is it then the same as the ‘perfect self’ within me? Because if it is ‘perfect’, then is there only one perfection? (And I use the word ‘perfect’ cautiously, because in Jungian terms, I think ‘whole’ is the preferred word, because it better incorporates both light and dark).

Anyway, I think Jung saw what he called a ‘transpersonal self’ within us all. He also called it ‘the God image’, possibly because at his time of writing, it was difficult to just call it ‘God’. In his seminal work ‘Answer to Job’, referenced elsewhere on this site, he makes the concluding point our religious mythology of the Bible indicates a deity moving from unconsciousness to consciousness. In short, the Holy Ghost aspect is predicted to ultimately ‘manifest in the many’.

TOM ‘playfully’ asks if an AI-empowered Internet, as the ‘sum of our consciousnesses’, will embody this? Could it effectively be the next intermediary to the deity. Or will it be working the other way around – reaching out to us, as carriers of this transpersonal self? Or are both possibilities effectively the same thing?

And now, when we start reading between the lines of the next generation GPT-x’s or other quasi-AI models, will we start to feel the presence of the Holy-Ghost-in-the-machine there?

Whew! Such thought games are both fun and compelling to share. So now that I’ve got off my chest, I’m going back to making pretty pictures.

I’ll soon shift to talking more about filmmaking – since T.O.M. is my illustrated film script, and I’m hoping that it, plus my 2017 movie here will give possible investors enough confidence to invest in this exciting indie African Sci-Fi film project.

But first, these articles got my attention: An article highlighting how new ‘smart-locks’ can be opened remotely online. And this Wired story describes how traffic lights can be hacked! Who knew?

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Some more stories this week that show how fast things are moving now. This article about a new supercomputer also mentioned how OpenAI researchers showed that the amount of ‘compute’ used in A.I. between 2012 and 2018 doubled every 3.5 months, far exceeding Moore’s Law, which predicts a doubling every 18 months.

Meanwhile, this article suggests we’ll have bionic eyes within 5 years. The Oracle Machine only dared to predict digital lenses!

My graphic novel also talks about hackers being able to destroy computers remotely by ‘switching voltage on the processors’. Whilst I suspect most computers surely have defences against this, it seems Chinese researchers have found a loophole whereby hackers could at least set some smart chargers alight with a ‘BadPower attack’.
Warning – crazy times ahead.

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“You can try fight the devil, but the devil is part of you. You must find a way to make peace with your devil.”

My interpretation of some Jungian concepts prescribes one character’s journey in The Oracle Machine graphic novel and film script.

In script-writing, it’s a good idea for each character to have an ‘inner need’, an outer ‘want’ and some obstacle, that comes from the conflict between their wants and needs, and that stops them attaining those true needs.

So yes, script-writing can be therapeutic, as you apply these concepts to your characters, and remember that each character is a reflection of yourself anyway. Writing any book or producing any art is very revealing (and therapeutic, and thereby satisfying).

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I’ve had characters wrestle with the devil in my other film work too!
In my short film DIE HEL (2009), a man has to try come to terms with his own inner fears in a strange corner of South Africa.

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And in my zero-budget indie movie GIRL FROM NOWHERE, there are quite a few references to Liza (Christia Visser) as embodying ‘the devil herself’.

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