Today I stopped (via YouTube) to watch one movie that I had not seen for some time. Who could pass up the chance to watch Natalie Wood again, in this movie with Louise Fletcher and Christoper Walken it is all about recording the brain. The movie Brainstorm (1983) is all about what is not possible and it is done well, the story takes a little dip when the military gets involved (like it was in the 80’s) but overall still an entertaining movie. I wondered what would happen if some young upstart (new director) gets to talk to a decently financed producer and makes this into a mini series for whatever streaming service takes it. A friend of mine (yes, I actually have those) wondered why I am not going that distance myself. Well, I turned 59, I am not a director, I do not feel that I would make a decent director and starting a new career as well as getting schooling at 59 is not my idea of retirement preparations.
So as I was pondering that field we were not meant for show business, apart from the optional new anime by Ridley Scott where I am considering to do the Dutch voice over, there is no real flame to go that distance. Yet, in that same setting I was wondering the advances that Electroencephalography has made (if any), you see that is still an important part, if there is to be any real AI in computing, a better recollection and parsing systems is required and Electroencephalography might be the only technology that gives (at some point in time) a more human (or is that humane) setting towards AI. That drive could be part of the brainstorm mini series. It is not the weirdest idea, the writer Bruce Joel Rubin did make a real good script, he was also behind Ghost, Jacob’s Ladder, and Deep Impact (and a few more), as such this man has earned his stripes. But the nagging feeling that the movie left behind beckons exploring. The 80’s was a great era for loopy ideas, but not one for deeply thought through options. I reckon that these movies are all under investigation by the streaming houses as remaking IP tends to be a lot cheaper than making new IP. The fact that this movie is almost 40 years old gives it the forgotten tender group.
Yet in all this we need to wonder if this all we are, are new IP settings (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) so rare that remaking is all we can do? There are almost 130 million books out in the open, is finding new IP that hard? The producers seem to clamp down on the bestseller lists and when the going gets tough they fold (example: Percy Jackson series), yet in all this the world has so much more to offer. It had one additional thing to offer, because my mind got the better of me. It started with me reading a part wrong ‘One idiot abroad’, this was accentuated with the slightly ‘psycho’ look of Stephen Merchant. It showed two additional people and the thought came ‘One won’t make it out alive’ and I giggled. That is a popcorn moment, it is reality TV that I would watch, especially when death becomes a factor. Consider all these celebrity survival games. We all get it, there needs to be a winner, but let’s be honest, should the losers survive?
There is no way that you haven’t had similar thought at some point. It is almost as corny (and perhaps essential) as letting an anti-vaxxer Twitter influencer die of Covid-19, some things are just meant to be and should that person be allowed to deprive actual victims of essential oxygen? We are setting the stage that the makers have given us and we twist that setting a little more. It is almost like walking into a bookshop and placing some of the Stephen King books ‘the Stand’ in the non-fictional section, there is a little demon on our shoulder whispering “You can do that, do not be the pussy you usually are”, and at some point we just give in.
If we are out thinking patterns, is it not equally so that intelligence will be shaped by the quirks we give into? Yet what is the stage where we record these impulses and can they actually be recorded at present? If electroencephalography is the way to that, is it not also the way towards an actual AI? If a biochemical computer can be mapped and truly be understood, is that not a first step in creating a silicon version to do something similar? Yes, I understand that they are not the same, but to get the other version working, it needs to be able or an effort needs to be made to mimic the other version, that has been true for the longest time. You see, mimicking also shows what goes wrong and when we understand, truly understand why it is going wrong, we can work towards new levels of innovation.
The path to innovation is never a straight line, only according to some person with a business degree and basic knowledge of Excel, they think it is a simple formula, but the rest, those treading innovation will tell you it is something different entirely, perhaps a new Brainstorm might reveal a lot more scientific paths than we give the art credit for.
Speaking of credits, those who follow me, let it be known that a certain counter is at 21,447, as such certain revelations will not take much longer.