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Sci-Fi Science

Looking Back On Looking Forward 188

Posted by Zonk
from the for-science dept.
da6d writes "The Independent Online Edition has an article on the release of interviews Stanley Kubrick conducted of numerous prominent scientific minds of the day in preparation for the movie 2001. The topic of the interviews: extra-terrestrial intelligence. The transcripts of the interviews are due for release in book form next month. The actual footage of the interviews seems to have been swallowed by time." From the article: "Some of the interviewees have looked back at their original comments. Professor Good stood by his, including his suggestion that computers might have personality traits: 'My Windows 98 computer tells lies and often forces me to shut down improperly. Such behaviour in a human would be called neurotic.'"
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Looking Back On Looking Forward

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  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Council (514577) <rmunroe@g m a i l . c om> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:51PM (#13889919) Homepage
    'My Windows 98 computer tells lies and often forces me to shut down improperly. Such behaviour in a human would be called neurotic.'

    This glass of contaminated water is deceptive in appearance and often causes death. Such behavior in a human would be called sociopathic and homicidal.
    • It's got ... personality! *gag, cough, die*

      Personality!

      Can't you tell, it's got Personality?
    • Re:What? (Score:4, Funny)

      by /ASCII (86998) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:05PM (#13890059) Homepage
      My girlfriend tells lies and often forces me to go to bed without sex. Such behaviour in a computer would be called buggy.
    • Re:What? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Zevon 2000 (593515)
      If an ugly human caused death in the same way that poison causes death--i.e., if the human were merely the instrument--then I'm not sure they would be called homicidal. And if they were, the poison would be just as "homicidal" as they ugly human. Also, I don't see how either is sociopathic. And don't accuse me of not getting the joke, because your whole post is based on the premise of not getting the Windows 98 joke!
    • Re:What? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smchris (464899)

      Not "insightful" cynicism? You got gipped.

      I think a lot of us who cut our teeth on '80s home BASIC machines have typed in an Eliza program and the self-induced wonder was cool. But that was then. I hung onto a '90s feeling that my OS/2 desktop was a "magic desktop" of sorts. But they're just machines to me now -- often X&*#@#@% machines. Where's my facial recognition desktop that comprehended and remembers our last discussion? As a rhetorical question, I think the answer is a long, long time awa
    • Jesus Christ, do you people need a large blinking neon sign pointing out every time a remark is tongue-in-cheek? It's funny. Laugh.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:52PM (#13889930)
    In 1968, there were fast cars, good music and free sex.
    In 2005, we watch movies about fast cars, good music and free sex.
  • by cygnusx (193092) * on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:52PM (#13889939) Homepage
    I disagree about the bit about Win98 'lying' and being 'neurotic'. It's fun to anthropomorphize but Win98 is a product of various engineering compromises that allowed the Windows userbase to move as seamlessly as possible from DOS to NT (a process that took ~8 years). Its crashes etc are completely explainable when you understand the limitations of its core OS and in particular its driver model.

    What is more interesting is that Prof Good is passing off behavior he doesn't understand (I'm willing to bet he's NOT a Win32 dev) as 'neurotic'. Makes one wonder how we'll see mentally challenged people once we have a far better understanding of the brain than we have now...

    • Are you saying that the driver model is not a part of Windows? Or that the templars forced Microsoft to use that driver model? Because otherwise, the driver model is a core part of the OS design, and if it is unstable and errorprone, then that makes the OS total garbage.
      • limitations of its core OS and in particular its driver model

        I believe that marked out the driver model specifically for attention, not made it somehow separate from the core OS.

        > Or that the templars forced Microsoft to use that driver model?

        No, economics and engineering compromise did. At the same time Win95 was released Microsoft was beta-ing NT4 around which had a vastly superior model.

        Real products always contain compromises. Things that don't, don't ship *cough* Hurd *cough*.
    • by jfengel (409917) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:28PM (#13890273) Homepage Journal
      Prof. Good in fact gets it backwards: the "neurotic" diagnosis tells us less about computers than it does about us.

      We do anthropomorphize, not just comparatively intelligent things like computers but cars and even utterly inanimate objects. If you stub your toe on a rock, you might well "punish" the rock by hitting it. You know it's irrational but the illusion of anthropomorphization is strong.

      The lesson is that we should design our UIs knowing that people will interpret the responses as if they were coming from a human. And yeah, that means that like most people, the computers will appear to be neurotic. Windows 98 is only marginally more neurotic than some of my friends.
    • Never anthropomorphize computers. They don't like it.
    • I disagree about the bit about Win98 'lying' and being 'neurotic'.

      But would you say that Win98 is the product of a deranged mind?
    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:45PM (#13890436) Homepage
      Everyone is picking up on how it's not quite right to anthropomorphize Win98, but:
      1. Software, being designed by people, is more validly anthropomorphized than, say, rocks. Yes, we anthropomorphize rocks, too, and it has its purposes, among them, poetic. Software, on the other hand, is interactive in a way the most of the world isn't, and programmers really are trying to put as much of their own intelligence into them. You issue a command, and the computer responds. How it responds was determined by a person, based on what that person imagines to be a good response. Unreliable software tends to come from unreliable developers. It is, in fact, the developer's personality showing through his creation.
      2. As you note, we tend anthropomorphize things interactions which we don't understand. People are also complex machines we don't understand, but no one complains when we anthropomorphize them. I'd submit that it's actually the most natural way to understand the world, to metaphorically attribute desire and understanding to things. A rock somehow wants to go down, and knows to do so. It knows to wait, however, until someone removes the solid object on which it rests. Nature abhors a vacuum. My computer is uncooperative and hates me. These are all said in the same sense.
      3. Many AI experts believe that it is impossible to create anything like real intelligence without also creating something like "emotion" and "personality".
      4. I believe it was probably a light-hearted joke to claim that Win98 is "neurotic" anyway.
    • There is also the possibility that he was just being sarcastic.
    • I like the rationalization the Jargon File gives to the tendency of "hackers" to anthropomorphize computers. Although I imagine it might be one of ESR's charming contributions, the argument is that it's not that we're elevating computers to the levels of humans, but rather that we lower humans to the level of computers. Humans after all, are ultimately just organic mechanisms made of meat.
  • Of course- if you were the last of your family to actually do something useful, you'd be neurotic too.
    • 98 is not quite the last in the family to do something useful. You seem to be forgetting Me, much like MS would like to forget Me.
      • That's why I put in "something useful"- for the short time I dealt with ME, it was so unstable that you couldn't even finish a word processing document without having the machine reboot into safe mode and recover an earlier copy of the registry. ME was not useful.
  • by RPI Geek (640282) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:55PM (#13889970) Journal
    A few days ago, Fark had a link [kubrick2001.com] to an explanation of Kubrick's "2001". I didn't get the movie when I watched it a few years ago, but this explanation seems plausible and made sense (to me) where the movie didn't.
    • by lucabrasi999 (585141) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:08PM (#13890086) Journal
      I didn't get the movie when I watched it a few years ago

      According to IMDB [imdb.com] trivia:

      1) Rock Hudson walked out of the Los Angeles premiere, saying, "Will someone tell me what the hell this is about?"

      2) Arthur C. Clarke once said, "If you understand 2001 completely, we failed. We wanted to raise far more questions than we answered."

      • Long after its original release, I went to see 2001 on the Harvard University campus "cheap movie" showing. About 30 seconds into the opening "Moonwatcher" scenes, some wise-acre yells out "I don't understand it!" I guess that is the culture where the Lampoon comes from.
      • Arthur C. Clarke once said, "If you understand 2001 completely, we failed. We wanted to raise far more questions than we answered."

        The following was Kubrick's reponse to Clarke's comments. This was taken from an interview he gave to Playboy. I think the myth that it was supposed to be confusing has gone on too long.

        "I don't agree with that statement of Arthur's, and I believe he made it facetiously. The very nature of the visual experience in 2001 is to give the viewer an instantaneous, visceral rea

        • The whole idea that a movie should be seen only once is an extension of our traditional conception of the film as an ephemeral entertainment rather than as a visual work of art. We don't believe we that we should hear a great piece of music only once, or see a great painting once, or even read a great book just once. But the film has until recent years been exempted from the category of art

          Exactly! That is why I've seen Debbie Does Dallas at least seven times....but, oddly, I've never seen the ending.

    • I watched the movie a few years ago, to see if I could make sense of it. I think at the time I missed it too. This explanation seems makes sense.

      I think that the movie spent a bit of time showing colored lights, the outside of the ship, etc., which is fine, but leads the viewer to a bit of What the #%$^ is he trying to say here?. Not to compare apples and oranges, but the first Matrix movie was was a bit out there, but at least you "got it" when you were done watching it. (Of course, I really don't h
      • (Of course, I really don't have an explanation for the 2nd Matrix,

        They made a bunch of money and tried to rush a half developed concept in order to get more

        and have no idea what happened in the 3rd).

        The trick for the second matrix worked, so they went from a half developed concept to no concept whatsoever, and tacket some cheesy philosophical stuff at the end when they realized they had really just made Jesus with guns and kung fu.

    • That explaination is bunk. And the Flash movies are not only stupid, but inflict painful sound effects on you for minutes at a time. Whoever wrote it didn't even do the most basic research about the movie... for example, several things in it directly contradict the novel.
      • That explaination is bunk. And the Flash movies are not only stupid, but inflict painful sound effects on you for minutes at a time. Whoever wrote it didn't even do the most basic research about the movie... for example, several things in it directly contradict the novel.

        No kidding.

        It looks like something someone threw together for a Sociology 101 or modern art "theory" (and by "theory," I mean "what is Chris Burden trying to *say* when he crawls across broken glass or shoots at airplanes with a hunting rif
        • The explanation is a bit heavy handed, but you have to admit Kubrick was portraying Man as very vulnerable in space. Kubrick was trying to show what no one had done before, just how alien an environment space really is. I think the explanation has some major holes in it, particularly with regard to Hal's behaviour. All in all it's not bad though. A little simplistic, but what do you expect from a simple flash animation?
    • I would consider myself a huge Kubrick fan, but I will admit that 2001: A Space Odyssey doesn't tell the story real well. Excellent imagery, poor story telling. Not all the scenes are explained, camera shots are based upon imagery rather that story continuity, the B story is given more screen time than the A story, etc. But, if you've read the book, and are in a very patient relaxed mood, it's an excellent cinematic experience. Of course, you have to have a nice home theater set up. It just doesn't come acr
    • It's worth it, really.
  • by lunartik (94926) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:56PM (#13889983) Homepage Journal
    Off topic perhaps, but the title of this article reminds me of the afterward of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

    This book has a lot to say about Ancient Greek perspectives and their meaning but there is one perspective it misses. That is their view of time. They saw the future as something that came upon them from behind their backs with the past receding away before their eyes.

    When you think about it, that's a more accurate metaphor than our present one. Who really can face the future? All you can do is project from the past, even when the past shows that such projections are often wrong. And who really can forget the past? What else is there to know?

    Ten years after the publication of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance the Ancient Greek perspective is certainly appropriate. What sort of future is coming up from behind I don't really know. But the past, spread out ahead, dominates everything in sight.
    • Take their theology, too. When you look around the world, which makes more sense, that the universe is run by a single all-loving, all-knowing all-powerful God, or passel of flawed, vindictive, egotistical childlike brutes?
    • That's quite the opposite of the Zen (and Taoist) view of the past and the future. While many think that it is important to look to the past to predict the future, that is as effective as examining the wake of a ship to determine where it is going.

      Even looking at the wake to determine where it has been is only effective for a short time.

      Remember, the past does not exist anymore and the future has never existed. There is only now.
  • No Change (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MikeMacK (788889) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:58PM (#13889994)
    Kubrick, who wrote, produced and directed his films, was intrigued by the possibility of other life forms, but was disappointed the film world had until then tackled science fiction by portraying blood-thirsty monsters attacking the earth.

    I don't see how we have come very far - that is still how Science Fiction is portrayed to the masses. Space battles against aliens, aliens invading the earth, etc. etc. What I find fascinating with all this is the science fiction that I read does not usually have this type of plot - just most science fiction movies.

    • by ScentCone (795499) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:18PM (#13890195)
      I don't see how we have come very far - that is still how Science Fiction is portrayed to the masses. Space battles against aliens, aliens invading the earth, etc. etc. What I find fascinating with all this is the science fiction that I read does not usually have this type of plot - just most science fiction movies.

      Ah, the great unwashed entertainment-consuming masses, blahditty blah. Remember Contact [imdb.com], starring Jodie Foster - based on Sagan's book? It was pretty interesting, and a well-made film. No aliens attacking (just religious freaks blowing up things on their own, here at home ... Sagan certainly knew about the culture of religious zealotry). That movie was essentially a flop with the public. But if it had been about an intrepid anthropologist decoding mysterious communications from a lost tribe in Amazonia - critical acclaim!

      Why? Because people like watching stories about unfolding (and usually, resolved) conflict - and "subtle space stuff" doesn't usually compute with most people, just out of sheer momentum. People who like non-explosion stories about complex human interaction are so sure that they won't find that in science fiction films that the market research by the film makers tells them there's a hole there that's not worth filling. Sometimes they try, though:

      How about George Clooney's Solaris? [imdb.com] Nice sci-fi setting, but basically a morality tale about letting go of your past and your troubles. At the box office? Big snoozer. If, though, it had been about an aging butler, starring Anthony Hopkins... big bucks and Oscars for everyone.

      Now, if those Merchant/Ivory fans could only bring themselves to see Lucas's last work, and see the incredibly subtle nuances brought to life as Darth Vader cries, "Noooooooooo!" they'd realize that sci fi can be riveting drama, too. Hopkins Shmopkins!
      • by BewireNomali (618969) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:36PM (#13890344)
        Dude, Solaris was a powerful film. Claustrophobic.

        There's an interesting film out right now called Stay, also sometimes claustrophobic.

        I work in film and here's the general audience's biggest gripe about sci-fi movies. No one wants to feel dumb. This is marketing 101 - the reason why films are rehashed and plotlines redone over and over is because only a small minority are comfortable in uncertainty... with not knowing. It's a manifestation of the adventurers spirit.

        So you do a smart sci-fi film that challenges a Christian's notion of the universe, and they get scared. They dont want that feeling... that they're wrong, that they don't know. So next summer, another alien space movie will probably come out, and some elite team will be sent it to investigate, the lesbian gunner will die first and the black guy second, etc. and most will eat popcorn and they'll go home satisfied that aliens can never defeat us with our crude projectile weapons, religious sentiment and irrepressible warrior ethos. It's collective masturbation. And they'll polish their guns and dust off their bibles unafraid.

        I've worked as a script consultant and 90 percent of my work over the past year has been to "dumb-down" scripts. Three modalities: get a PG-13 at the script stage, nothing more complex than a sixth grade level (aforementioned PG-13 rating; nothing troubling; no f-words, etc; avoid religion, no frontal nudity), after which point the one-liner guy comes onto the script and does what is called a polish (read: "smarten" up the dialogue with one-liners and slang, etc).
        • Dude, Solaris was a powerful film. Claustrophobic.

          If you liked the Soderberg/Clooney version, you should watch Tarkovsky's orginal. Tarkovsky's penchant for dragging the viewer through some scenes at near-real-time adds significantly to the weight of story. It captures Stanislaw Lem's book much more effectively. Be warned, though, it doesn't mate well with modern western film sensibilities. It's too long, too slow, and you have to think too damn much.

        • I'm disappointed but not surprised that you see things this way. Too many directors want to make that huge blockbuster money maker. And if that's what you want, go for it. But it ain't art.

          However, I suspect that if Hollywood were interested in another film making model, they might want to explore the idea of running these scripts you "dumb down" in a largely unmolested state. These films would not have to be big budget films. In fact, now that movie quality screens are popping up in homes across the c
          • by BewireNomali (618969) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:44PM (#13890977)
            Dude, I didn't say that I saw things that way.

            My first script consult gig; I made the mistake of voicing general discomfort with the dumbing down process and lost the contract.

            I'm not voicing my opinion; this is the machine. This is the way Hollywood goes about making wide swath films. I agree that it is not art.

            You have to understand a bit about how films get made.

            Studios do not spend their own money on making films. They finance films using loan/credit/financing structures. So as a producer of a film, it is in your vested interest to produce the biggest budget movies possible for two reasons: 1. because producers collect around 10% of the budget as a fee, and 2. high budget films condition the audience against lower budget films which stifles innovation and competition and prevents decentralization of the industry. I watched Primer with my girlfriend (now mind you Primer is a GREAT film) and all she complained about for 90 minutes, was how cheap the film LOOKED. More on Primer later.

            When a film's budget approaches 100 million, it has to appeal wide swath. This isn't an artistic demand - this is a corporate demand, coming from finance execs that have to contend with intractable investors. So it's damn near impossible to get a singular vision film made at that scale because of the financial strictures involved. It just doesn't happen.

            Studios make money off the library and make structured payments on debt. Individuals (executives, actors, etc.) draw individual weath from the system because they are getting paid from those same VC//investment/banking funds. There is little room in this structure for art.

            The system is horribly corrupt and bloated. Since investment funds are being used, everyone in the revenu stream tries to draw the fattest chunk of cash they can, further inflating costs.

            What you mention is actually being done. I'll find the link and post it later, but an arthouse distribution network is being currently designed. Mark Cuban's Landmark Theaters is also considered an arthouse distribution model, andhe's experimenting with day-and-date via DVD and digital distribution.

            The ability to do an artistic film is directly correlational to the cost. A great movie that came out recently is Primer, a sci fi done by some engineer turned filmmaker in Texas, I think. He did it for 7 grand of his own money, shot on super 16 mm. You want to be an artist in the film industry, be prepared to suffer for your art form. He got a film deal out of it, butthe film had made little to no cash - and he'll probably be presented with some hackneyed stuff so he can cut his teeth in a more professional setting. It's the way.

            I personally am using some of the cash from my script consulting to do my own film. The subject: Stanley Kubrick of course. I'm gonna focus specifically on his early years, when he hustled chess in Washington Square Park in New York.

            To belatedly answer your questions. Do I want to "make" art, yes. Do I want Hollywood cash. Yes. Can I do both. Yes.

            Hollywood responds to the critical mass audience, the lowest common denominator.

            • I think films will soon let people express their visual ideas much like blogs let people express their thoughts. However, I hope we end up with a system where independent films can thrive without forcing people to stick with the standard approach used today. In 20 years your cellphone could probably film a few hours worth of 4k*4k video but it's going to take a more complex distribution system to nourish such talent.

              PS: I am starting up a small digital distribution backbone company and would be more t
        • There is a one-liner-guy? I imagine doing small talk with him...

          Me: Hey pal, don't you hate your job, you know, dumbing down good scripts?
          OLG: Yes, it is a dirty job. BUT SOMEONE HAS TO DO IT! *smiles*
        • I work in film and here's the general audience's biggest gripe about sci-fi movies. No one wants to feel dumb.

          I don't watch film because of my biggest gripe about Hollywood movies. Nobody wants a movie to treat you like you are dumb.

          On the other hand, it's easier to make money by aiming regurgitated crap at the mainstream than to aim at the MENSA crowd. But then on the gripping hand, there's a lot less competition up at the top end...

          • On the other hand, it's easier to make money by aiming regurgitated crap at the mainstream than to aim at the MENSA crowd. But then on the gripping hand, there's a lot less competition up at the top end...

            exactly!!!! EXACTLY!!! Now the question is how to effectively tailor to that crowd. It's been neglected for that very reason. It's really hard to consistently put out compelling content for a very discriminating audience.
        • Holy shit, that's about the most god damned depressing thing I've read in months. Look on the bright side, there are worse jobs, at least you don't have to peddle your ass for a hit of crack.
  • Carl Sagan (Score:3, Informative)

    by sbowles (602816) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:06PM (#13890065)
    I wonder what stupid things Carl Sagan said that he wasn't willing to have his statements published without having "editorial control"?
    • It was probably a case of he expected the prologue to explain the rest of the movie. I expect he was trying to guard against his comments being used to justify a bug-eyed aliens movie.

      I'm sure studios must have pitched him a "Carl Sagan's Alien Attack!!!" kind of movie, and he didn't want to be associated with anything he couldn't agree with.

  • by Zevon 2000 (593515) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:13PM (#13890133)
    Cutting edge visuals and cinematography presented with a sweeping score, a healthy dose of symbolism, and slow pacing...all released at a time when a significant proportion of the moviegoing public was experimenting with marijuana and hallucinogenics. Seriously, the word of mouth publicity about what a great movie this was to see while stoned and/or tripping had a LOT to do with its success. I had a professor who claims he saw it two or three times a week when it was out, and then years later saw it sober and couldn't believe how long some of the scenes took to unfold while nothing was happening. You don't need drugs to appreciate the film, but they don't hurt. You also don't need to have read the books to appreciate the film, and in my mind having read them DOES hurt. This is a big example of a movie ignoring a lot of what makes a book good, and it seems to get a free pass because of what it did visually. The movie and the books are both good, but in totally different ways.
    • This is a big example of a movie ignoring a lot of what makes a book good, and it seems to get a free pass because of what it did visually.

      I'd grant it a "free pass" since, if for no other reason, the book didn't exist at the time. As others in this thread have pointed out, Kubrick and Clarke co-authored the screenplay for the movie. Afterwards, Clarke wrote the novel.
    • Well, I remember the original (1968) release of "2001," even though I was just a kid. And I think to understand its impact it's important to put it into the context of the late 60s early 70s.

      Lots of people seem to think those were hopeful optimistic times, but my memory is very different. They seemed dark and chaotic times, with on the one hand amazing promise (spaceships to the Moon! transistors! jet airplanes!) and on the other depressing and scarily intractable problems (nuclear war only five minutes a
    • Once in a while they play this movie on TV.
      And every time I try to sit it out.
      And I never get past the point where the flight attendent starts walking upside down.
      It's such a slow movie with such long scenes that mean nothing.
      Can some just tell me how it ends, and put me out of my misery? What is it about? What are those monkeys doing there in the beginning?
  • The article really doesn't tell us much, apart from the notion that ideas about extraterrestrial life project a society's current fears and preoccupations, but then we knew that.

    Perhaps our ideas have changed a bit in the last 20-30 years, though. These days it seems that we are slowly coming round to the notion that extraterrestrial life does exist and is more of a given than a wild speculation, so the next and pressing question is what sort of life?

    You can see the old projections in the popular cove
  • by peter303 (12292) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:31PM (#13890304)
    A few years ago David Stork [ricoh.com] published a series of interviews [ricoh.com] anwith computer scientists about progress in artifical intelligence compared to the movie 2001. Stork is a cognitive scientist based in the S.F. area. Video's of these interviews were shown on PBS.
    This material only looks at the computer side of 2001. Kubrick's interviews also looked at space travel, exterrestial intelligence, and potential social changes 35 years hence.
  • Hmmmm.... (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by 8127972 (73495)
    'My Windows 98 computer tells lies and often forces me to shut down improperly. Such behaviour in a human would be called neurotic.'"

    Hey Stanley, you might want to try Ubuntu. It's behaviour in relation to a human would be called stable.
  • by Darius Jedburgh (920018) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:59PM (#13890554)
    ...days gone by have to say about the future we live in today then I recommend Today, Then [amazon.com], a collection of essays written about 100 years ago about now. It's amazing just how off the mark most people are. But there are some great insights: my favorite being one essay that opens saying something like "All mail will be electronic". Not bad for over 100 years ago! I don't recall reading even the slightest hint that number crunching machines would have any significance in anyone's life.
  • Progress...or not? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:05PM (#13890598) Journal
    You know, this looking back can be facinating. Humankind succeeded in landing on the Moon (granted with effort) in 40 years (counting from pre-WWII to 1969). Thirty six years later we're struggling to go back. Is that a fair description? I think so. While we have progressed in many areas, we are hardly any better at getting off this planet than we were back then. Legend has it that when 2001: A Space Odyssey was first shown to NASA employees, they were awed by the vision of space exploration the movie portrayed. Up to that point, it is said that NASA was thinking in terms of sensor and robotic exploration. Sound familiar? It should, since that is the kind of mission we design today without exception. Apparently, it looks like the vision in the movie failed to inspire a real change. While I think robotic exploration is the right first step, how long does it take to make that second step of sending human explorers?
    • But is it really so? Is human exploration the second step? Looking at history, it was the first step. And the next step was robotic exploration. Also, as some other poster here mentioned, predictions of the future often misses important points. Human exploration is surely more exciting, but perhaps it is not rational compared to robotic in the end. A hundred years ago, people did not predict the computer. What robotics will be able to accomplish in 20 years may boggle the mind, who knows. And if that is the
    • Legend has it that when 2001: A Space Odyssey was first shown to NASA employees, they were awed by the vision of space exploration the movie portrayed. Up to that point, it is said that NASA was thinking in terms of sensor and robotic exploration.

      In some fantasy world maybe. Here in this ficton the NASA of 1968 was deep in getting ready for landing on the Moon, planning manned landings on Mars, and has just completed planning for a manned flyby of Venus. Orion's were still (somewhat) on the table. Unman

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