Author Topic: EP171: Fenneman’s Mouth  (Read 25082 times)

Loz

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Reply #50 on: September 10, 2008, 10:10:28 AM
This story did nothing for me and I struggled to assume the point. It ended just as I assumed it was going to spin off into a Philip K. Dick world where 'reality' was being edited just like the 'tv show'. Without that I couldn't understand what made this a science-fiction story



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Reply #51 on: March 30, 2010, 05:15:26 PM
Another of several in a row without real endings.

For the first 7/8 of the story I thought that Groucho and Fenneman and the security guard and others were androids.  I seem to be the only one who thought that, so I guess I just missed some cues.

I kept thinking throughout the story how much cooler uses one could get out of being able to simulate existing actors from any time period.  Jean-Luc Picard meets Groucho Marx.  A young David Bowie meets an older David Bowie.  Lawrence Welk introducing Flight of the Conchords.  Johnny Cash commenting on current events.  To use it only to recreate scenes of old TV shows that everyone thought they remembered anyway is just unimaginative.

If/when this video editing technology becomes available to consumers, the point that would bother me the most is that no video would ever be believable again as evidence.  Even if it's a corporations security cameras, all the defending attorney has to say is "Do you truly believe that it would be absolutely impossible for this video to have been tampered with?  Isn't there the slightest possibility that it could've been done?"  And if one single person says "yes" then the video is worthless as evidence.

And after all that the resolution of the story is him hooking up with the girl he works with, after criticizing his recent ex for hooking up with guys she works with, and then it ends.  I'm glad I stopped by the forums or I wouldn't have gotten the aspect that they were constantly reinventing their relationship just like they were editing the video, but even with that there's just not that much there to the story.

And the AI security guard was just pointless and had nothing to do with anything.  The actors in the videos didn't need to be AIs because they had a script to work from, and the editors could tweak their facial expression--if all they do is read a canned script, I'd be reluctant to call that real intelligence.  So tacking on the security guard as if he fits in with the rest was just weird.



Scattercat

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Reply #52 on: March 31, 2010, 01:40:06 AM
I don't think the security guard was an AI.  The implication I got was that he was just a collection of canned responses and lines with a simple algorithm to choose between them.  Like the voice that talks to you at an ATM machine.



eytanz

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Reply #53 on: March 31, 2010, 08:07:53 AM
I don't think the security guard was an AI.  The implication I got was that he was just a collection of canned responses and lines with a simple algorithm to choose between them.  Like the voice that talks to you at an ATM machine.

It's been a while since I heard this story, but even if the guard's own responses are canned, it must be smart enough to be able to choose the appropriate response to free-form speech. That still requires AI (not a self-aware AI, I'm using the term in the broad sense to mean "a machine that can respond intelligently to its environment").

In any case, though, I think whether or not the guard is proper AI or not still weakens the story. The whole thrust of the story is a cautionary tale about video manipulation software, and it gains its power by the fact that this software is really very close to being available - heck, I don't know when the story was first written, but out current CG movies are more or less there, all that needs to happen is that the cost/amount of manpower necessary needs to come down. So one of the things that make this an effective conspiracy story is the fact that for all we know, this may already be happening behind closed doors.

So adding the security guard - a piece of technology that is supposed to be public, and is clearly not actually existant, and not going to exist for a few years, if ever (it is a silly piece of technology at best; what's the point of having a security system that seems human? Either pay a human or use a system that feels like a computer). I think that dilutes the story, regardless of how advanced the AI necessary is.

It's as if in the end of Wag the Dog Robert de Niro would have driven off in a flying car. Not necessary for the film and it would have killed it as satire about the late 1990s.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2010, 08:13:20 AM by eytanz »



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Reply #54 on: April 01, 2010, 04:46:07 PM
I agree with eytanz, whether or not it was intelligent or canned it drew away from the story.

And if it was really canned, it really tells every single person coming through about johnny carson story?  Weird, and not a very effective security guard.  And in any case, I didn't get the point of programming a fake security guard to give idle chitchat, unless the driver's response to canned questions acts as a password, but I didn't get that impression.