Monday, 15 June 2015

real humans

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It was probably to do with licensing, but the original Scandic-Noir version of Humans didn't get screened here in the UK.

I happened to watch it when I picked up a Canadian set of the DVD some time ago. The Canadian version is the original Swedish dialogue (or French) and English subtitles.

For a British audience the Swedish + subtitles would usually work well and grab a mid-evening audience on, say, BBC2 or Channel 4.

Instead, they are screening a UK-remake which I suspect is also destined for America. It is a well-filmed very similar storyline so far although the scene orders have been switched around.

I gather writers Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley from Spooks handled the adaptation, which keeps the parallel present day, but with robots. We also get known faces as some of the main roles.

The Scandinavian original starts with a woodland twisty road, a Volvo, lots of dark fir trees and a rainy, dark, dramatic incident. It's a quicker setup for one of the main early plot-lines.

The UK version starts with a scene similar to something from I, Robot, with lines of partially-clad pristine robots in a warehouse, but with a recognisable type of DIY shopping trolley.

The premise of these stories is no secret, with machines overtaking human processing speed and then being capable of human emulation.

'The singularity is near', is the premise, which goes back to the thoughts of von Neumann, Minsky and others in the 1950s, when the possibilities of clever artificial intelligence were first debated.

Ray Kurzweil attempted to plot the increase in AI ten years ago, predicting AI insect brain by around now, a mouse brain by 2020 and the human brain by around 2030.

I look back to the 'neats vs scruffies' arguments of artificial intelligence, where neat logic is all mathematically pure and scruffy is pragmatic.

Anything that starts with a human builder is going to have both neat and scruffy it (note the Swedish machine sports a 2012 USB socket), so we'll have to see how this version plays out in this 2.0 upgrade path of these hubots.

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