Mind Games


A detailed look on AI through the movie – Ex Machina.

Ex Machina presents us with a powerful picture of what it could mean, based on the behaviorist assumptions that undergird the classic Turing Test, to achieve a human-like consciousness in a robot. But just as Nathan objects to the narrow range of behaviors that the classic test examines as relevant to intelligence, so the movie may be suggesting that we wonder even at the richer repertoire of “outputs” that Nathan introduces in order to achieve “consciousness.” At the very least we can notice how his own selfish and destructive motives for creating AI are reflected in the behaviors he seeks to highlight as relevant to Ava’s achievement of consciousness. Escaping her “programming” means recognizing the consciousness of others, and yet she uses her empathy to deceive and manipulate them.

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Charles T. Rubin — The New Atlantis

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Why Casablanca is the ultimate film about refugees


Still, Rick himself is above such abuse. “I don’t buy or sell human beings,” he informs Ferrari (Sydney Greenstreet), the city’s black-market kingpin. But as time goes by, Rick realises that turning a blind eye to the buying and selling is just as bad. There is a touching scene in which he rigs the café’s roulette wheel so that a Bulgarian newlywed (Joy Page) doesn’t have to sleep with Renault – thus bringing a tear to the eyes of Rick’s employees and to the audience alike. More moving still is the scene in which the café’s head waiter (SZ Sakall) has a brandy with two elderly Austrians who are about to leave for the US, and compliments them on their broken English. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the German director, declared that this humane little sequence boasts “one of the most beautiful pieces of dialogue in the history of film”.

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Nicholas Barber — BBC

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28 Days, 28 Films for Black History Month


An essential list. Recommended by Ankit.

When African-Americans in Hollywood were not singing or dancing, they were often cast as maids, butlers, porters or other servile, peripheral figures. There are exceptions, including “Imitation of Life,” a 1930s melodrama with a storyline about a black character who “passes” for white, as well as “Intruder in the Dust,” a 1940s parable of white conscience. Both are worth viewing because of the power and integrity of their featured black actors — Louise Beavers, Fredi Washington and Juano Hernandez — who with the humanity of their performances challenge and movingly subvert the mainstream industry’s racism.

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Manhola Dargis & A.O.Scott — The New York Times

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Invisible Labors


We rarely think about the clothes we wear. These days ‘behind the scenes’ of everything we use in our daily life seems heartbreaking – clothes, food, transport ..

A knottier and more implicating exchange occurs toward the last segment: out on the streets, as the camera pans across a large circle of men glowering at the camera, one of them pointedly asks the off-camera crew about their own motivations: “Why have you come here? We are presenting our problems to you… Why don’t you do something about it? [You will] leave after listening to us, just as the ministers do.”

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Kanishka Raja — BOMB

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Investing Lessons from the Dude


As per Wiki – Dudeism advocates and encourages the practice of “going with the flow”, “being cool headed”, and “taking it easy” in the face of life’s difficulties, believing that this is the only way to live in harmony with our inner nature and the challenges of interacting with other people. It also aims to assuage feelings of inadequacy that arise in societies which place a heavy emphasis on achievement and personal fortune. Consequently, simple everyday pleasures like bathing, bowling, and hanging out with friends are seen as far preferable to the accumulation of wealth and the spending of money as a means to achieve happiness and spiritual fulfillment.

Today’s needull gives few lessons on investing based in dudeism.

1.The Dude: “Sooner or later you are going to have to face the fact that you’re a moron.” 

One of the most important lessons you can learn about investing is the location and importance of your “circle of competence.” The task is simple: How do you avoid the investing areas in which you are a moron?

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Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?


One of the most re-watched movies of all time.

“McTiernan did want to emphasize the iconography of Christmas, so he and (Director of Photography) Jan de Bont made sure to capture background lights, small Christmas trees in the 9-1-1 control room, and the Christmas packaging tape which became key in the film’s climax,” continues Larry, “More importantly for McTiernan, he wanted the characters and the music to carry the Yuletide tone through. He made sure composer Michael Kamen sprinkled jingling bells and brief hints of Christmas songs within his tense score. It’s all a way for him to make Christmas the canvas for his action movie.”

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Deep Focus: All the Money in the World


Looks like this is going to be a good movie.

He’s also a narcissistic, would-be dynasty-builder who thinks he can ignore his offspring, then welcome them into the fold when they’re old enough to hold down jobs. Plummer captures the untrammeled adolescent glee and hint of transcendence in Getty’s financial and personal obsessions. In an odd, fleeting lyric passage, he talks about losing himself in an abstract expanse of numbers the way Edmund in Long Day’s Journey Into Night feels he dissolved into the sea. Getty’s hateful folly is that he commits to winning a high-stakes chess game with Gail rather than securing the safety of his grandson.

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Michael Sragow — Film Comment

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