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7 Sci-Fi Movies To Watch After You See Edge Of Tomorrow

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Edge of TomorrowThis weekend saw the release of mega-star Tom Cruise’s latest science fiction actioner, Edge of Tomorrow. From the box office numbers, not nearly as many of you went to see is as should have since it only managed third place (though it did top $100 million worldwide, so there’s hope). We here at GFR are in total agreement that it is one of the best movies of the summer, a fantastic mix of action, dark humor, invading aliens, and Tom Cruise dying in a many, many ways. Before you read on, you should step away from your computer and go watch this movie. Maybe buy an extra ticket while you’re at it, just to tell Hollywood that they need to keep making movies like this. Doug Liman’s film is one that wears its influences on its sleeve. As you watch, you notice a variety of scenes and elements that definitely call to mind other notable genre movies. In that spirit, we’ve put together a list of movies to watch, or most likely re-watch, after you see Edge of Tomorrow repeatedly.

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Computer Program Passes The Turing Test For The First Time

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eugene goostmanIt was only a matter of time. We say this about a lot of developments here at GFR, but this is one I’ve been expecting to see for a long time: a computer has finally passed the Turing test.

The Turing test, named after computer scientist and WWII codebreaker (and pioneering homosexual) Alan Turing, was initially designed to gauge a computer’s ability to “think.” It involves fooling a human into thinking he’s messaging another human, when actually he’s messaging a machine. Those of us who have corresponded with Cleverbot or other chatbots know this effect, but at most we only pretended to be corresponding with a thinking entity. The Turing test has been so elusive because, even though some machines can fake human correspondence pretty well (LOLs, typos, and swearing help), no machine had yet met the standard set by Turing: fooling 30% of human judges during a five-minute text conversation. Until now.

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Guy Hoffman’s TED Talk Tackles The Task Of Making Robots Seem More Human

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robot and musicianEven though it’s in the title of this TED Talk, “souls” is a bit misleading. What roboticist, musician, and actor Guy Hoffman is actually talking about is imbuing robots with a sense of intuition and adventure, which makes them less the calculating, rational machines we expect them to be, and more like us.

Hoffman was first inspired by Pixar’s short film Luxo Jr., which features a desk lamp. When watching the film, Hoffman says, you actually feel something for this lamp, which blew his mind. So he went to NYC to study animation, wanting to learn how Pixar could arouse emotional feelings for something inanimate and commonplace. While there, Hoffman learned two main rules: first, eliciting an emotional response has more to do with how an object moves rather than how it looks, and second, that animators should be actors — they should use their own bodies to act out scenes and gauge movement, and then use what they find in their animations.

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More Scientists Subscribe To The Idea That Animals Have Conscious Awareness

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dolphinsI’ve been a vegetarian for half of my life. In high school I cut out red meat in response to an increasingly sensitive stomach that didn’t seem to appreciate what I was feeding it, but I didn’t fully commit to vegetarianism until the day I ordered a lobster. The restaurant brought the thing to me whole, along with various tools to start cracking it open. The waitress showed me how to pull it in half, separating the meatiest part, the tail, from the intestines and torso. While I had eaten my fair share of lobster and crab legs in life without thinking twice, this was different. I couldn’t bring myself to smash this creature’s exoskeleton and suck out its flesh. Obviously it was beyond feeling any pain, but I looked around at the tank of lobsters scuttling around in the middle of the restaurant, their claws rubber-banded closed. I thought about the massive pot of boiling water that I knew was steaming away in the kitchen, ready to receive them. Only recently have scientists confirmed that crabs and lobsters do indeed feel pain, but even back then it seemed impossible for them not to. That sealed it for me — I became a vegetarian not because it was better for my gut, but because it was better for my conscience. Now, an international group of scientists has publicly agreed — not just about animals’ capacity to feel pain, but their capacity for conscious awareness.

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3-D Printed Humanoid Robot Demonstrates Advances In Movement And Interaction

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Poppy

Is it getting boring yet? 3-D printing just can’t and won’t stop making news. At this point there’s clearly not much 3-D printing can’t do, but at the same time, I never cease being amazed. Learning about Poppy, a new 3-D printed robot, is no exception. Poppy (those of us in Boston might call him Little Papi) is facilitating studies in bipedal walking, as well as human-robot interaction.

Flowers Laboratory (FLOWing Epigenetic Robots and Systems), a French research group that focuses on robotics, designed, printed, and constructed Poppy for just over $10,000, which is relatively cheap, especially given that includes all the servos and motors. Poppy, who runs on Raspberry Pi, is just shy of three feet tall, weighs 7.7 pounds, and has 16 sensory resistors, a microphone, two HD cameras, an LCD screen face that can register emotion, and the ability to measure its own inertia. They’ll also be making the Poppy’s design open source.