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Coruscant's ground-level is rarely depicted in the Star Wars movies but when we do briefly see it we get a pretty standard Blade Runner -esque mess of neon and grime.

Genetically engineering humans: a step too far?

Even the utopian leanings of Star Wars can't put a gloss on the underside of a gigantic megacity. Despite the glut of different sci-fi futurist depictions of our future, it feels almost harder than ever to predict what our world will look like in 50 years. Or will income-inequality accelerate into a divided world where the rich live in the clouds atop massive skyscrapers while the poor scramble around on the dirty slum-like streets? Will new technologies free us up from menial work, or will they contribute to creating a dystopian world where we are slaves to devices and constantly surveilled?

Join New Atlas journalist Rich Haridy in a conversation exploring cinema's stylized visions of future cities in Melbourne on Thursday the 9th August. The discussion will bring together a filmmaker, urban planner, researcher and technologist, to explore how science fiction both reflects and influences our real-world cities. This panel discussion is presented in association with the City of Melbourne and the Melbourne International Film Festival. Tickets are free but must be pre-booked. LOG IN. Menu HOME. Half-mouth toothbrush cleans your teeth in 20 seconds.

Name your price for science fiction written by scientists - CNET

Architects design quirky cat shelters for non-profit. Astronomers watch galaxies suddenly fire up into quasars.


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New climate report highlights how far we are from Paris goals. Walking patterns can diagnose different types of dementia. Mobile Technology.

Vivo V17 Pro gives you even more selfie options. Hydrogen-powered VTOL launches with hour flight time. Learn Python without expensive computer science courses.

Autonomous roofing drone nails down asphalt shingles. Outlaw camper van carries a four-wheeler or dirt bikes. Getting dirty with the off-roaders of Frankfurt Amazon buys , Rivian electric delivery trucks. Search Query Submit Search. Urban Transport. Facebook Twitter Flipboard LinkedIn. The future city in the film Cloud Atlas.

Wakanda in Black Panther. Metropolis Dir: Fritz Lang. Her Dir: Spike Jonze. Blade Runner Dir: Ridley Scott.


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  8. Altered Carbon. Elysium Dir: Neill Blomkamp. Minority Report Dir: Steven Spielberg. Songdo, South Korea's smart city built from the ground up. Judge Dredd In the beginning, there was Metropolis The grand-daddy of all futuristic urban visions is inarguably Fritz Lang's towering work, Metropolis. Metropolis Dir: Fritz Lang Metropolis. Altered Carbon Netflix. Dubai Public Domain. Wakanda in Black Panther Marvel Studios. Rich Haridy.

    Rich is based in Melbourne, Australia and has strong interests in film, new media, and the new wave of psychedelic science. He has written for a number of online and print publications over the last decade while also acting as film critic for several radio broadcasters and podcasts. Sign in to post a comment. Wrenching changes and the increasing rate of change is making a mockery of all future stuff; it is amusing to see the silliness — for example: self driving big trucks when the main reason for big is to amortize the cost of a driver. Mandatory self driving vehicles are inevitable because without human frailty there is no accidents; thus no safety systems; thus 80 percent less vehicle weight; thus cost per mile at less than a nickel — thus no parking lots city separators , no superhighways, no traffic controls, no traffic police, dwi, dwb, traffic courts, emergency vehicles etc — immense design challenges not even mentioned — and that is just the tip of the iceberg: how about the end of carbon fuels, the curing of aging, no more large electric generators, no recharging, all schooling on the internet, no more wars?

    SoundRacer July 29, PM. Very interesting questions indeed rich!

    Beyond Human

    The idea of being able to spend the entire life in one single building is not especially appealing so efficient, attractive and sustainable personal transportations within cities and their surroundings seems to be the key factor to create a good city for people to live in. The main problem today is the congestions and pollutions created by fossil fuel private cars with very low occupancy, about 1,2 persons in each. Luckily we now see a technology revolution where autonomous electric minivans will be able to offer low cost door to door transportations.

    But it is urgent for the politicians to start requesting this technology for real ride-sharing public transportation with at least 6 passengers in each vehicle during high traffic hours. If not, the vehicle industry will continue to work for private transportation solutions like car-sharing that will make the traffic congestions even worse. Will private car owners really abandon their cars and go ride-sharing? Yes, if they are offered low cost traveling in private cabins making the rides comfortable, safe and efficient! Private cabins will also make public ride-sharing in vehicles without drivers safe for children, elderly and women.

    CabiBUS is one such solution. According to Latour allies come from all areas of society—politicians, mass media, teaching curricula, textbooks, etc. Referring to the network of allies needed to construct a black box as "technoscience," Latour is careful to stress that allies external to the scientific community do not actually influence the scientific concepts themselves In their book The DNA Mystique , Nelkin and Lindee have found that the creators of popular culture act as another "ally" for genetic determinism, arguing that the rising public acceptance of this ideology has translated into a "cult of the gene" increasingly visible in popular-culture narratives 3.

    In their view, the creators of these narratives utilize the genetic-determinist ideology because they "believe that this message will be broadly understood and widely appreciated. Popular culture is a business, and the appeal of any product—a television sitcom, advertising campaign, or newspaper story—depends on its resonance with consumer experience and popular belief" GATTACA not only deals with the bioethical issues associated with the new eugenics, it actually suggests that these issues arise from societal acceptance of the genetic-determinist ideology. GATTACA does not deny the importance of genes, nor does it fault the technology itself; rather, the film warns of the problems that arise if we believe that humans are nothing more than their genes.

    GATTACA depicts a future world in which parents are encouraged to decide the genetic makeup of their offspring before birth. In this world not everyone has access to the technology, and individuals who have not been genetically enhanced encounter severe discrimination. While at Gattaca, Vincent develops a romantic relationship with Irene, who would be genetically perfect except for a single flaw, a weak heart—ironically, the same defect suffered by Vincent himself.

    A stray eyelash provides DNA evidence, making Vincent the prime suspect in the murder.

    Down below with Blade Runner

    Because the DNA profile from the eyelash shows a genetically imperfect individual, nobody suspects that the eyelash really belongs to the best engineer working at Gattaca. As Irene and Anton begin to realize that Vincent is not genetically perfect, they are forced, along with Eugene, to confront the fact that the genetically unenhanced Vincent is actually a superior human being, able to excel physically and socially despite his built-in "flaws. Essentially, the filmmakers act as bioethicists, attempting to forecast the consequences of unrestricted human-gene therapy in a society that accepts all the implications of the genetic determinist ideology.

    Telotte argues that the use of artificially created humans in cinema represents the "most effective way" to gauge the range of definitions of humanness Indeed, this sort of bioethical questioning was the explicit purpose of the filmmakers themselves. Traditionally, bioethical concerns about gene therapy have centered around a belief that the few scientists who possessed the knowledge of human genetics would determine which traits and characteristics should be modified through cosmetic gene therapy. This is a concern that has often been reflected in sf stories focusing on human-directed evolution.

    Moreau and concluding that the figure represents popular anxieties about the presumed "arrogance of science" Bioethicists now feel, however, that the nature of genetic enhancement will not be determined solely by scientists, but will primarily be driven by societal preferences.

    An examination of the history of human growth hormone hGH usage supports this belief. Originally designed to treat dwarfism, hGH has increasingly been used by parents to increase the height of children who do not suffer from a growth hormone deficit, but are shorter than other children their age. In the same way, bioethicists assume that the traits modified through genetic enhancement will be those that confer obvious cultural advantages. I have taken the liberty of eradicating any potentially prejudicial conditions: premature baldness, myopia, alcoholism and addictive susceptibility, propensity for violence, obesity, et cetera.