Kevin's blog

Artificial Intelligence: Humankind's Future or Our End?

DVD cover of the John Badham film WarGames

The pace of technological change and the ongoing development of artificial intelligence could quickly create a world barely recognizable from the one we currently inhabit. Futurist Ray Kurzweil envisions untold benefits from what he predicts will be the next stages of humankind's evolutionary progress, the melding of man and machine, followed by wholly intelligent machines. Many scientists scoff at Kurzweil's predictions, while others fear that those predictions may actually come true. In the meantime, Hollywood has used those fears to produce a number of terrifying sci-fi thrillers featuring runaway robots and run-amok computers.

South Korean Cinema

DVD cover of the Korean crime thriller Oldboy.

In the past fifteen years, South Korea's domestic film industry has had a renaissance, emerging as a producer of quality cinema whose best films once again outperform megabudget foreign releases from Hollywood and elsewhere. In the process, South Korean movies have gained an international audience, as well.

Sweet Philly Soul

The CD cover for the Spinners' anthology The Very Best of Spinners.

Eastern Iowa in the sixties and early seventies wasn't exactly a hotbed for R&B. Local radio stations played the biggest hits, but nothing more. The cultural landscape was changing, however, and thanks to television shows like The Midnight Special, even whitebread America had a chance to groove to such things as the oh-so-smooth stylings of Philly Soul.

Music from Manchester. England? Yeah, England.

The album cover for The Sound of the Smiths.

From time to time, a city not otherwise known for such, becomes a force in the world of music. In the eighties and nineties, such a place was Manchester, England. Known primarily as the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, Manchester became a hotbed for rock and pop groups. From Joy Division to Oasis, Manchester had a steller, two-decade run of producing influential and dynamic music acts.

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