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What Technology Wants in Battlestar Galactica

Warning: Battlestar Galactica spoilers abound in the following post! If you haven't watched the ENTIRE series from beginning to end, you should go watch it before reading this.

In an insightful essay at Overthinking It, Nathan Hanks explains What Technology Wants in Battlestar Galactica (the new series -- though some points are applicable to the original series). Drawing on ideas discussed in Kevin Kelley's What Technology Wants, Hanks lays out a detailed discussion of evolution, technology, and the advancement of both. Here's a snippet of Hanks's article (warning -- spoilers!!):

But, what does it really mean that both biology and technology evolve? Well, one thing true of evolution is that it brings more possibility, whether more complex forms or more possible knowledge and experience. DNA isn’t possible without molecules, people aren’t possible without DNA, and Cylons aren’t possible without people. Evolution never brings us more of the same, but always more of the different in an extending realm of possibility. ...

While Humanity creates Cylons time and time again, so too do they go to war: on Kobol, Caprica and the original Earth. Maybe the war is inevitable and Cylons are the technological-ceiling. The Series’ Finale clearly puts the probleming question to us (the audience) as the Messengers walk about our New York City-

Messenger 1: All of this has happened before.
Messenger 2: But the question remains, ‘does all of this have to happen again?’

Maybe ‘No’. Here are 3 ‘Non-War’ scenarios: ...

Read the rest for a very smart look at BSG, technology, and evolution. You may want to watch this 20-minute TED Talk by Kevin Kelly first, though it's more or less summarized in the article.

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John P. Johnson, HBO
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literature
Charles Dickens Wrote His Own Version of Westworld in the 1830s
John P. Johnson, HBO
John P. Johnson, HBO

Charles Dickens never fully devoted himself to science fiction, but if he had, his work might have looked something like the present-day HBO series Westworld. As The Conversation reports, the author explored a very similar premise to the show in The Mudfrog Papers, a collection of sketches that originally appeared in the magazine Bentley's Miscellany between 1837 and 1838.

In the story "Full Report of the Second Meeting of the Mudfog Association for the Advancement of Everything," a scientist describes his plan for a park where rich young men can take out their aggression on "automaton figures." In Dickens's story, the opportunity to pursue those cruel urges is the park's main appeal. The theme park in Westworld may have been founded with a slightly less cynical vision, but it has a similar outcome. Guests can live out their heroic fantasies, but if they have darker impulses, they can act on those as well.

Instead of sending guests back in time, Dickens's attraction presents visitors with a place very similar to their own home. According to the scientist's pitch, the idyllic, Victorian scene contains roads, bridges, and small villages in a walled-off space at least 10 miles wide. Each feature is designed for destruction, including cheap gas lamps made of real glass. It's populated with robot cops, cab drivers, and elderly women who, when beaten, produce “groans, mingled with entreaties for mercy, thus rendering the illusion complete, and the enjoyment perfect.”

There are no consequences for harming the hosts in Westworld, but the guests at Dickens's park are at least sent to a mock trial for their crimes. However, rather than paying for their misbehavior, the hooligans always earn the mercy of an automated judge—Dickens's allegory for how the law favors the rich and privileged in the real world.

As for the Victorian-era automatons gaining sentience and overthrowing their tormenters? Dickens never got that far. But who knows where he would have taken it given a two-season HBO deal.

[h/t The Conversation]

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LEGO Ideas
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fun
This Fresh Prince of Bel-Air LEGO Set Could Become a Reality
LEGO Ideas
LEGO Ideas

One talented LEGO fan wants to make a The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air set, but the Banks family needs your votes to turn it into a reality.

LEGO Ideas user Bricky_Brick has designed a set consisting of the Banks' living room and seven minifigures: Will Smith; Uncle Phil; Aunt Vivian; cousins Carlton, Hilary, and Ashley Banks; and Geoffrey Butler. Appropriately enough, the Will figure is mid-laugh and equipped with a basketball. So far, the set has just 176 supporters. That's a long way to go before it reaches its goal of 10,000, at which point it will be judged by the LEGO Review Board. If selected, it could be turned into a real product. Fans have 409 days remaining to vote.

TV show-themed LEGO Ideas submissions have been successful in the past: Doctor Who and Adventure Time designs have become official sets after they blew up on the internet. Hitting 10,000 by no means guarantees LEGO will approve an idea, however. A set inspired by The Office reached the mark in 2017 but was rejected in the review stage.

See more of Bricky_Brick's Fresh Prince set below—and don't forget to vote.

Fresh Prince LEGOs
LEGO Ideas

Fresh Prince LEGOs
LEGO Ideas

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