Tag Archive: movie


TOM page 132/150

I know, it’s a little hard to imagine a tiny box announcing the imminent arrival of the Tech Singularity but hey, it’s a SciFi movie, & it’s supposed to represent the tip of a tech pyramid/iceberg…

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Turning up the tension, with a new bad guy in the room.

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THE ORACLE MACHINE is both a graphic novel and the script for a live-action movie project. But movies can cost quite a bit, so movie-making becomes a business too, that usually must try give some kind of ROI (Return on Investment) to investors – be it emotional, financial, or preferably both.

It’s truly wonderful to know something you have helped to create is having an impact on multitudes of others.  And the financial returns can be huge. The excellent Trainspotting had a return ratio of about 60:1. Yes, filmmaking is always a gamble, but the higher the risk, the higher the rewards (and for some, the bigger those thrills). But I sincerely believe this project is relatively low-risk for a movie, and of course I’ll tell you why.

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(Filmmaking is team-building! South African actors Suraya Santos and Grant Swanby posed for the drawings in the graphic novel.)

Three big factors mitigate the risks here:

Firstly, the script has been drawn out as a graphic novel, so my vision of it is perhaps clearer to communicate than as a written script.  It’s also easier for producers to scope out the locations and cast and action-sequences etc. And then price it. And it’s a step closer to the final product, so for myself as a filmmaker, it’s another opportunity to see how the script plays out – where is it too fast, too slow, unclear etc. And though the graphic novel format (mine anyway) can be a bit limited in conveying the emotional weight, I’m sure the actors will do an even more compelling job of telling this story.

Secondly, I have experience in filmmaking. I’m happy to say I’ve managed to get one original feature-length movie – GIRL FROM NOWHERE – made from start to finish. Although it was a micro-budget first film, made with about $20k, it’s out there now getting views. So imagine working with me and 100x that amount, and we’d still be on the lower end of the low-budget movie spectrum. i.e. I can stretch a budget and this script is constructed to be affordable to make.

Thirdly, Cape Town is a massively popular and highly economical filming location. We have very experienced crews here, seasoned even in the whims of international Hollywood productions. And filming in Cape Town is so darn cheap. No limits, and every kind of location. i.e. $1m spent here usually looks like $10m back in the States.

So let’s do it. Time is fleeting. Come on board and let’s make an awesome Indie-Genre African Sci-Fi Cutting-Edge Original A.I. Movie – THE ORACLE MACHINE!

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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This article from India really got my attention. Quoting it: “The research further revealed that in questions where the CTRL has been asked “what happens to our soul after death,” the users preferred the answer given by the artificial intelligence (23.1%) over the one that is provided by Jesus Christ (20.3%). “

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Just like the research in the article, The Oracle Machine story bravely steps into the world of metaphysics, and rightly asks the important question: Could an A.I. Internet somehow become a type of religious inter-mediary for some, or more?

Whatever one feels about religion, no one can deny it’s played a huge role in humanity over at least the last few thousand years. We cannot now pretend it is not still a major and integral influence for a large part of humanity. And I don’t believe enough critical objective thinking is being done to try understand what it really means to us.

I prefer (my understanding of…) Jung’s interpretation, that religion can also be seen as sign-posts along our own evolution of consciousness. And I see an AI-enabled Internet as the likely next step along this development path.

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The fact that we now even have articles discussing the merits of chatbots versus human-operators is indicative of just how far we’ve come in the last few years!

Another interesting ‘chat’ development this month is OpenAI’s GPT3. OpenAI was founded by Musk and others in 2015 as a non-profit to ensure future superhuman AI is a benign force. Then in 2018 Musk left, and it became ‘for profit’, with $1Billion invested by Microsoft.

Now here’s the scary bit – OpenAI’s previous model, GPT2, was pulled because its ability to generate fake news, for example, was considered too dangerous. Yet GPT3 is far more powerful… Wired Magazine covers the story here.

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This panel, besides being inspired by the Himba, was also inspired by this Iqgirha, or Xhosa traditional healer, whom I met in our Eastern Cape. She’ll read your dreams, and might give you a surprisingly accurate analysis of where your mind is at.

It amazes me how many AI intellectuals dismiss dreams as ‘non empirical’. That shouldn’t matter! Everything in our psyche affects our thoughts, which affect our actions, which certainly are empirical.

As we hurtle towards amplification, of both the good and the bad, brought by AI, and as some of us begin to ponder AI Ethics, hadn’t we better start getting to know every little thing about our psyches much better? And surely dreams are a good place to start?

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HG Wells, in 1901, published a short story called ‘The New Accelerator’ – about a man who drinks a potion and speeds up.
So to him, everyone else looks like they are in slow motion!
Whilst to everyone else, he is just a blur.
(Perhaps this is how a fly sees us?)
But imagine speeding things up further – and the closer you get to infinity, the more that the rest of the world would then appear to slow to a stop.
So this seemed to be a nice way to draw the Singularity – everything in motion just  freezes to a stop!
Of course, in my graphic novel’s storyline, a special few characters get to witness this.
(And you can too! – if you download ‘The Oracle Machine’ from Comixology.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist the plug. 🙂 )

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