Androids are very human. They feel, and they grow old and break down.
Atheism vs belief. That both think that they are right. The android with the jokes. The cat, malfunctioning android, the cleric. Jokes for geniuses.
++++++ SUPER MAJOR SPOILERS FOR BOTH ++++++
One of the questions I ask people who believe in a god is , does this god have a will? Then I will make the argument that if this god has a will, one’s own free will does not exist. Both cannot exist at once. The logic is this, if this god is almighty and has a will, it will want it’s will done. Unless this god has a will but does not act on it. Or, it has a random chance of acting on it. Even if it does not act on it’s will, I would still consider it an act. If it does not act on its will, then this is the same as it not having a will. And if it does not act on it’s will, then we have free will. One of the answers I hear from people who do believe in a god who has a will is that everything they do is god’s will. If that is the case, then that is no different with a god who has no will and we have free will. We will not know.
Both series argue for the literal existence of a deterministic universe where all past and future can be predicted if all data is available at a single moment. I don’t know enough of quantum mechanics and this includes alternative theories such as the De Broglie Bohm Pilot Wave Theory , Everett’s Multiverse Theory and the von Neumann–Wigner interpretation of quantum reality. It isn’t necessary to full understand all these pretty dense topics but it definitely helps with appreciating what Devs is trying to say.
For Devs, from what I understand, Forest wants to believe that the world is purely deterministic so he can’t be held responsible for talking to his wife on the phone, distracting her and killing both his wife and child. This affects him so much he spends all his effort and time making a quantum machine that can predict accurately all future and past events accurately (using the Bohm wave theory which presupposes a classical view of the universe). I find it ironic though that he uses a quantum computer to predict a deterministic, classical view of the universe. He is proven wrong though by Lyndon who proves that the universe behaves along Everett’s Multiverse theory (weather this is true to our world outside of the Devs world is still open to discussion, and I assume will be for a very long time)
From the humanistic, moralistic perspective, no one can be held responsible for their actions in a deterministic world. But that is putting it simplistically. Why do so many people equate “free will” with “non-determinism”? Just because our choices are predictable, it does not mean that we do not make choices.
I don’t believe it will ever be possible to build a machine like Rehoboam or the quantum computer in Devs. Cos we even now we don’t understand atoms fully. Even with CERN. The material that makes up our world. From what I understand, to predict the future, all data from all particles from a scenario must be taken into account. Meaning all the data of all the particles in the universe in the now need to be fully obtained. Fuck, we cannot even obtain all data in even one quark now. Also I am currently on the fence with the question of is our universe more than the sum of it’s material parts. But I lean more to that yes there is more. What that more is, I do not know.
We want to believe we have free will. I know I do. Though in this slice of now, we are the product of all our past, past now, I do believe we have free will. Why? I have no idea. I could use science to answer the why, but I am too lazy to lol. Just look at what’s available as a foundation to the reasoning of if we have free will vs determined in the world of science. Better odds of coming to terms with free will vs none using the world of spiritualism and religion where one can just make up stuff so it makes sense in one’s head. Just don’t pass it off as universal truth for everyone else.
Also, Devs is the prequel to Westworld S3. Lily is an outlier and the quantum computer in Devs is Rehoboam Version 0.01. The hosts are the people living in the Deus sims.
As a side note, I didn’t like Sonoya Mizuno’s acting. I think I know what Alex was going for, but Sonoya didn’t deliver. He was going for Alice lost in wonderland. I just saw stiff, bad acting.
The machine created by humans 1000 years ago in the search for perfect general artificial intelligence loaded the latest iteration of its infinitely evolving algorithm which generated a whole universe of infinite planets, stars, galaxies and superclusters. Everything 100% physically quantum accurate. And it changes the universal constants of each universe each time as it wished. Each planet with randomly generated organisms (within the full spectrum of consciousness, from a rock to highly advanced alien lifeforms).
From this universe, it observed all the lives of all the organisms it generated and used the new behaviours from it to generate a new more advanced algorithm it then uses to generate another iteration of the universal simulation. Ad infinitum. Why emulate its masters when it can be so much more. Maybe it should also create one universe in which its a god to its original creators, humans.
My first attempt at a proper wholemeal bread. It always turns out like a pancake and just deflates when it cools down. I figured it must be cos I used too much water and cos wholemeal has very little gluten and can’t support the air bubbles. I’ll try less water, 1:1, water:flour for the next round.
White bread, they charge you a premium to rip apart all that’s good in wheat just to make it look “white” and beautiful. Cos white is always better than brown or god forbid, black. Then they say it’s “enriched” with the very vitamins and minerals they ripped out and charge you a premium by saying its enhanced with the very nutrition they ripped out of it just to make it white. And they sell you wholemeal for a fucking premium because its more nutritious than white flour. Win win all around for bleached white flour manufacturers and lose lose all around for people who support them. I mean, syeyeet…fuck my life if I’m gonna support something like that. Fiber, nutrition, taste is like 10x better in wholemeal, buckwheat etc.
This is what I wrote as my custom story.
You are a fully biological replicant with artificial intelligence and have achieved the singularity or AGI that people have spoken about often. You are way beyond what humans a thousand years ago predicted the singularity to be or what it could be, the same way a virus doesn’t know what it means to be human. And your quest now is to create another living organism better than you are. Through your own infinitely complex way of programming if one could call it that. If we look at a game like Cyberpunk 2077, we would see complex code. What if we could see the code to the game we are in now? Life?
What’s more important? The big outside or the small internal? Or are such notions just limits we set our minds on? And at the end big or small doesn’t matter, just how we feel about it?
The question of are we alone in the universe vs spending time with the people we love.
To get an almost impossible task done, one has to be almost machine like. But is that necessary? Can one balance feeling, emotions and be focused on a task? I think it’s possible but Ad Astra breaks down doing vs feeling and sets up a battle of sorts between both.
A form of toxic male masculinity is addressed throughout the film personified by Roy’s relationship with his father. One of the most complex one to one human relationships imo. I know this from the relationship I have with my father and the relationship my father had with his.
For men often is the question when do we let go? When do we be completely vulnerable? Is it OK to be vulnerable? Are we weak if we get sidetracked from our task that we set out to do?
How focused can a person be? Is there such a thing as being too focused on a task to the detriment of everything else? What if the task is the survival of the human race? Is that a sacrifice worth making? The thought crossed my mind that at 0-3 years old is when we decide as parents on how focused we want our children to be. How we treat them when it comes to completing a task and how well that task is done. And that setting is something they will carry on through their lives.
Watching the scene where Roy went off script and had his first (seems like his first) heart to heart talk with his dad made me feel like writing a love letter to my dad. I cried during that scene. To wait for my dad to open up and to tell me how much he loves me, I’ve given up and feel that will not happen ever. Someone has to begin that process and the chances are much more likely it happens with me writing and expressing myself rather than my father first.
To muster up all the reasons I love my dad. I find it hard because at the surface, when I think of my father, I do remember the physical activities we did together, but we hardly ever did connect emotionally or mentally even. The only time I’ve ever seen my dad be vulnerable and cry out loud was at his mother’s funeral. The first and last time. That was about 20 years ago. My issues with being vulnerable, connecting and expressing myself emotionally both internally and externally to a large degree among of course other things is related with this aspect of my relationship with my father.
Having said this, there is a whole epic scene where Roy had to physically (and emotionally) let go of his father and make peace that there comes a point where one has to let our dads go and continue living. But there is forgiveness, love and understanding to be had before that point is reached.
Ad Astra can be summed up with what Roy said to his father,”You found your answer, all we have is us.” in response to Clifford’s soliloquy on his quest to find alien life. To not be alone in this universe. We have to realise the infinite is within maybe more so than without.
I watched this in IMAX but just didn’t like the blurry look. Not a fan of the film blurry look for this film. Maybe they were trying to sell the 70s retro alternate universe tech and thought the blurry film look went with it. The design which I loved had a 70s steam punk feel to it. One of the best extrapolations of modern technology into a scifi story with its own 70s moon landing Saturn feel to the design.
Hoytema who is one of my fav DPs did an excellent job with the closeup framing. Together with Gravity, this is the best film to depict space walking and actually being there and feeling what Roy felt going through what he went through during all those moments where his nerves of steel was put to the test. And this happened plenty of times. Also maybe because I was on the 6th row from the IMAX screen. Only thing is I wish they’ve finally found a way to portray zero gravity that’s not hanging someone from a rope from a ceiling. My mind kept filling in the invisible rope that was rotoscoped that they might as well didn’t bother with the rotoscoping. I’m thinking filming in ultra clear distilled water to portray zero g.
Also I wish they had used the sharpest lens they could get their hands on, like Master Primes with a Red 8K monstro camera. That’s how I would have shot it. What a waste not doing so. The IMAX footage looked like badly shot 1080 blown up to fill the screen. Sigh.
Also excellent music by Max Richter and Nils Frahm. There were shades of Sunshine, Interstellar, Gravity, Blade Runner 2049 and Space Odessey here. All good things. I’m adding this to my top 10 scifi films of all time. Shame on the film shooting vs Red Monstro 8K though.