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Sci-fi Sense

Author: Sci-fi Sense

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Sci-fi Sense explores the intersection of fact and fiction, through the lens of sci-fi and pop culture, with a heavy nostalgic bent. The podcast focuses on topics relevant to today and was launched during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to try to make sense of the growing weirdness of the world through the lessons taught by the sci-fi genre. Join us on an intergalactic joyride via Starship Earth through the best of sci-fi and pop culture as we attempt to decipher the algorithmic code known as "reality”!
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Robots have been a pillar in science fiction for decades, a cornerstone for futuristic fantasy and technolust. We have finally reached the moment when science fiction becomes science fact, with robotics becoming commercialized at an all-time high rate for widespread industrial and consumer use. And now, robots are even being developed for sexual functions, which could replace human romantic partners altogether for a percentage of the population.___________In this PART 2 of a four-part series we call “SEX MACHINA”, we’re going to continue our foray (read: not foreplay) into the world of sexbots and explore the brains behind the bots - AI.Does AI exhibit consciousness?  Can we upload our minds to a computer? Can robots help increase empathy?We’ll draw upon sci-fi films including Ex Machina, Blade Runner, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, as well as IRL case studies such as Google’s AlphaGo and the Turing Test to help us determine whether this new tech innovation represents a new hope for humanity, or signals the dawn of the end of times.
“Oh robot, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”  Now how about, "Oh sexy robot. How do I make love to thee? Let me configure the settings..."Robots have been a pillar in science fiction for decades, a cornerstone for futuristic fantasy fueled by technolust. We have finally reached the moment when science fiction becomes science fact, with robotics becoming commercialized at an all-time high rate for widespread industrial and consumer use. And now, robots are even being developed for sexual functions, which could replace human romantic partners altogether for a percentage of the population.Well, that got our Sci-fi Sense a-tingling, so strap in / on as we explore some uncharted territories in this special four-part series, where we’ll dive phone-first into the rise of AI-enabled robots and their potential impacts on society and life on earth.In this first part, we’ll look at the history of robots and various depictions of female-identified robot characters in sci-fi, in an effort to trace the origins of robots created for intimacy, through the lens of mainstream and cult classics including Westworld, Austin Powers, Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, and more. One word of advice: turn Siri and Alexa off for this, they might not like the material... --- Further reading on topics referenced in this episode, sources, and transcripts are available on our Patreon at http://patreon.com/scifisense, where you can become a member to unlock exclusive content, access our livestream events, and many other member-only perks. Every little bit counts towards helping us put out more high quality content on a regular basis. We’re a fledgling operation and appreciate all the support we can get to help grow our community. Thanks!
As this most arduous annual trip around the sun draws to a close, I've been reflecting upon the underlying causes for the pandemic and its pervasive effects on the world, now that we've had a full year to observe a world in crisis mode. This short mini-sode began as an unused section from a previous episode, but the story came back to mind during a recent 14-day travel quarantine. The destruction of Pompeii highlights an important lesson: that 2020 may soon be over, but we're not nearly out of the woods yet - not by a longshot. In this short window of time before the new year begins, it's a chance to prepare ourselves for the long haul and a new world and refrain from bemoaning the loss of the old one. The new greeting standard is here: Have a Safe & Happy Holiday Season & a Healthy New Year!--- Further reading on topics referenced in this episode, sources, and transcripts are available on our Patreon at http://patreon.com/scifisense, where you can become a member to unlock exclusive content, access our livestream events, and many other member-only perks. Every little bit counts towards helping us put out more high quality content on a regular basis. We’re a fledgling operation and appreciate all the support we can get to help grow our community. 
Chicken Little ran around screaming, "The sky is falling!" like a chicken with its head cut off. And then we had KFC for dinner.Prophets, oracles, soothsayers, seers - they're people who say they can predict the future. And then there's time travelers who say they come from the future with knowledge of what's to come. Throughout history and fiction, we've always had figures who somehow predicted future events, whether through supernatural or science-backed means.  And there's never a shortage of people claiming to have the gift of foresight, who say they know exactly how and when the world will end. It's the oldest story in the book, before there were even books.With modern technology in its prime, we have more accurate means of predictive modeling, with a slew of experts including scientists, economists and tech entrepreneurs telling us that the writing's on the wall and how we need to prepare for disaster. But instead of heeding their warnings, we tend to shoot the messenger. Moreover, these days, we always seem to end up in a rabbithole of conspiracy theories whenever we bring up predictions about anything, from the weather to the US presidential election.Both predictions and conspiracy theories are irrevocably linked, rooted in fact and fiction. And we're now at a critical juncture of these forces colliding that may ultimately predict how the future will actually pan out.We'll take a look at the phenomenon of seeing the future, known as the Cassandra Complex, that appears throughout storytelling and is often referenced in science fiction. We'll compare it to the predominance of conspiracy theory within the current Zeitgeist and tackle some ways to better intuit whether these self-proclaimed prophets are selling us snake oil... or saving our lives. ---- Further reading on topics referenced in this episode, sources, and transcripts are available on our Patreon at http://patreon.com/scifisense, where you can become a member to unlock exclusive content, access our livestream events, and many other member-only perks. Every little bit counts towards helping us put out more high quality content on a regular basis. We’re a fledgling operation and appreciate all the support we can get to help grow our community. 
Memory and time are interlinked. That’s easy enough. But what are memories and where do they come from? Are they just from past experiences? And how come certain people, places, and things feel familiar even if you’ve never encountered them before?19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard famously wrote, “'Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Well, not if you have a time travel machine, as is often the case in sci-fi!We’re going to look at Terry Gilliams’ 1995 film, 12 Monkeys, starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe and Brad Pitt. We’ll learn about how time isn’t necessarily linear and that memory doesn’t only apply to past events. We’ll see if time travel allows us to change our destiny (if there is such a thing) and last but not least - how to find meaning in the midst of an apocalypse.---- Further reading on topics referenced in this episode, sources, and transcripts are available on our Patreon at http://patreon.com/scifisense, where you can become a member to unlock exclusive content, access our livestream events, and many other member-only perks. Every little bit counts towards helping us put out more high quality content on a regular basis. We’re a fledgling operation and appreciate all the support we can get to help grow our community. 
Pandemics, schmandemics. They've bugged us for ages and they never seem to go away. How will we deal with viruses in the future? What kind of precautions and counter-measures will we develop to protect ourselves and deal with the impacts - both physical and psychological? Why do people react to pandemics with such odd behavior?Thanks to sci-fi, we have pandemic stories galore. For our first episode, we'll explore how Star Trek : The Next Generation - Episode 2 "The Naked Now" depicts one such viral outbreak aboard the SS Enterprise and will note its striking similarities to our current real world situation, in some ominous and also in some humorous ways. Hopefully, we'll gain some insights from the bizarre yet harrowing experience of the Enterprise's Crew as they face an existential crisis that strangely mirrors our own. Strap in your seatbelts and grab an N95 mask, cuz it’s going to be a bumpy ride.--- Further reading on topics referenced in this episode, sources, and transcripts are available on our Patreon at http://patreon.com/scifisense, where you can become a member to unlock exclusive content, access our livestream events, and many other member-only perks. Every little bit counts towards helping us put out more high quality content on a regular basis. We’re a fledgling operation and appreciate all the support we can get to help grow our community. 
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