The ‚Tron‘ Suffix and the Promise of Future Technology

The suffix -tron, along with -matic and -stat, are what the historian Robert Proctor at Stanford University calls “embodied symbols.” Like the heraldic shields of ancient knights, these morphemes were painted onto the names of scientific technologies to proclaim one’s history and achievements to friends and enemies alike. Stat signaled something measurable, while matic advertised free labor; but tron, above all, indicated control. To gain the suffix was to acquire a proud and optimistic emblem of the electronic and atomic age. It was a totem of high modernism, the intellectual and cultural mode that decreed no process or phenomenon was too complex to be grasped, managed, and optimized. The suffix emblazoned the banners of nuclear physics’ Cosmotron, modern biology’s Climatron, and early AI’s perceptron—displaying to all our mastery over matter, life, and information.

The ‚Tron‘ Suffix and the Promise of Future Technology – The Atlantic

Horrorfilme: Die Hölle sind wir

Horrorfilme sind nicht nur die übliche Wiederkehr des Verdrängten, sie sind auch eine – sollen wir sagen perverse, auf jeden Fall obskure – Art der Trauerarbeit, was bei Meistern des Genres so pervers und so obskur nicht ist. Und sie sind Ausdruck eines Zorns, der keinen Gegenstand findet. Das eigentliche Monster in allen Horrorfilmen ist immer die Normalität: Es ist die Unfähigkeit zu trauern. Die Verdrängung des Abschieds. Im modernen Horrorfilm muss so viel gelitten und gestorben werden, weil man im realen Leben vom Leiden und vom Sterben so wenig sehen darf.

Quelle: Horrorfilme: Die Hölle sind wir, Georg Seeßlen

OAPEN Library – Star Wars and the History of Transmedia Storytelling

[A]s the product of constantly shifting creative, industrial, and reception practices, the authors in this volume dissect individual moments of crisis, of discovery, and of inspiration that collectively inform the development of transmedia storytelling as a media-industrial practice. In other words, these essays illustrate that “Star Wars” and “transmedia storytelling” must be understood as complex and contradictory terms that are undergoing constant redefinition […] As tempting as it has been to dismiss Star Wars as the top-down expression of cultural and economic power, the many chapters in this book illustrate above all that its rich history results neither from some capitalist master plan nor from the creative genius of any one creative figure. While it may seem as though transmedia franchises such as Star Wars have become all-powerful entertainment empires, these analyses of key moments show how precarious, unpredictable, and strangely unstable the Star Wars storyworld has truly been.

OAPEN Library – Star Wars and the History of Transmedia Storytelling

The Levitz Grid

Paul Levitz probably thought about what a comic book writer does more than any of his contemporaries, or mine, and during his dozen-plus-years stint as writer of The Legion of Super-Heroes, systematized what his predecessors did haphazardly, if at all. Then, as an aid to his own work, he created three versions of the Levitz Grid [] Basically, the procedure is this: The writer has two, three, or even four plots going at once. The main plot—call it Plot A—occupies most of the pages and the characters‘ energies. The secondary plot—Plot B—functions as a subplot. Plot C and Plot D, if any, are given minimum space and attention—a few panels. As Plot A concludes, Plot B is „promoted“; it becomes Plot A, and Plot C becomes Plot B, and so forth. Thus, there is a constant upward plot progression; each plot develops in interest and complexity as the year’s issues appear.

Quelle: Serious comics writing post: how can teh Internet be so jam packed with my fe…

Additionally check out The Levitz Paradigm: „The best imitation of life possible in a work of fiction“

Video Games Are Better Without Stories

[..] [G]ames are the aesthetic form of everyday objects. Of ordinary life. Take a ball and a field: you get soccer. Take property-based wealth and the Depression: you get Monopoly. Take patterns of four contiguous squares and gravity: you get Tetris. Take ray tracing and reverse it to track projectiles: you get Doom. Games show players the unseen uses of ordinary materials.

[…] The true accomplishment of What Remains of Edith Finch is that it invites players to abandon the dream of interactive storytelling at last. […] To dream of the Holodeck is just to dream a complicated dream of the novel. If there is a future of games, let alone a future in which they discover their potential as a defining medium of an era, it will be one in which games abandon the dream of becoming narrative media and pursue the one they are already so good at: taking the tidy, ordinary world apart and putting it back together again in surprising, ghastly new ways.

Video Games Are Better Without Stories – Ian Bogost

AI programs exhibit racial and gender biases, research reveals

The latest paper shows that some more troubling implicit biases seen in human psychology experiments are also readily acquired by algorithms. […] The AI system was more likely to associate European American names with pleasant words such as “gift” or “happy”, while African American names were more commonly associated with unpleasant words.

These biases can have a profound impact on human behaviour. One previous study showed that an identical CV is 50% more likely to result in an interview invitation if the candidate’s name is European American than if it is African American. The latest results suggest that algorithms, unless explicitly programmed to address this, will be riddled with the same social prejudices.

Hannah Devlin, AI programs exhibit racial and gender biases, research reveals

Open (World) Peer Review: Leveling a Lowbie PhD Thesis

Video game archaeology perhaps is the first example of a new New Archaeology, one that is post-material and post-human, one that not only intersects past and present, but that also uses the screen as the sole method of accessing new archaeological spaces. These spaces are made by people (or by machine) for other people to use, and are invested with creativity and examples of material culture. They are kinetic and also kinesthetic. They contain their own space-time. Each game is its own discrete entity, its own site. At the same time, each game exists in multiple, identical copies, circumventing the problem of the “unrepeatable experiment” of total excavation. They pose both classic and new questions to the archaeologist who operates in both the real and the virtual simultaneously using very real archaeological craft.

Andrew Reinhard, Open (World) Peer Review: Leveling a Lowbie PhD Thesis | Archaeogaming

How fantastical Atari box art taught the world what makes video games special · Art of the Game

The graphics were simple and borderline abstract, but they were also an experience unlike anything most households had ever seen. The box art was meant to coalesce that excitement into something tangible. A static screenshot from the game couldn’t possibly relate how dynamic the experience was to a neophyte audience. The impressionistic nature of the 2600’s graphics also allowed for ample interpretation of what that experience would resemble.

How fantastical Atari box art taught the world what makes video games special, Nick Wisnerski

Steve Jobs’s design philosophy was fascist more than it was exacting. 

Steve Jobs’s design philosophy was fascist more than it was exacting. The man was a not a demigod of design, but its dictator. He made things get made the way he wanted them made, and his users appreciated his definitiveness and lack of compromise. They mistook those conceits for virtues in the objects themselves.

The Myth of Apple’s Great Design, Ian Bogost

I, Reboot (Part II) | Antenna

Of course, rebooting can never truly wipe the slate clean. The slate is a palimpsest and contains all the traces and ghosts of previous incarnations. However, we can see (hypothetically) intertextuality and dialogism spiralling along a horizontal axis – the paradigmatic – and the story itself unfolding sequentially along a vertical axis which is the syntagm. Intertextuality may “destroy the linearity of the text,” as Laurent Jenny argues, but linearity is still preserved.

I, Reboot (Part II) | Antenna