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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Intelligence 1.8: Heart of Darkness, Cyberstyle

It was flashback time on Intelligence 1.8 on Monday, with a combination of the least amount of high-tech gadgetry we've seen on the show so far, and the most backstory for Gabriel.

This makes for a nice enough episode, but one which resembles the CBS mega-hit NCIS more then it does the science fiction on Person of Interest, Revolution, Almost Human, and Intelligence.   Still, the developing chemistry between Gabriel and Riley was good to see, as was Gabriel before he had the implant.

And the story of Norris - who partnered with Gabriel in the flashback, and is the crucial character in the present part of the narrative - has echoes of Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Coppola's Apocalypse Now, which is to say, important and moving.   The toll of war on those who survive can make them something less than human - or less motivated by the empathy that most of us have - and Norris provides a powerful contrast to Gabriel on this score.  Both survived.  Gabriel was embedded with a chip which connects him directly with the Internet.   Norris was not.   And who is the more human?   It's Gabriel, despite or maybe because of his techno assist.

This also makes a point which is consistent with my view of technology, and the view of a small number of other academics and theorists.  The Nobel laureate biologist Sir Peter Medawar once said that technologies are what make us human.   You can see evidence of this every day.  When someone puts on a pair of glasses, is she or her less human?  No, they are more human, because by seeing better, they can navigate their world better and more effectively accomplish their human goals.    When someone puts on on Google Glass, are they less human?  No, I would say they are more human, for the same reasons that corrective glasses better enable out humanity.

Gabriel and what he represents are not that big a step beyond Google Glass in its enablement of humanity.  That's one of things that makes this series so good.

See also Intelligence Debuts ... Intelligence 1.2: Lightning Changes ...Intelligence 1.3: Edward Snowden and 24 ... Intelligence 1.4: Social Media Weaponry ... Intelligence 1.5: The Watch ... Intelligence 1.6: Helix meets Rectify and Justified ... Intelligence 1.7: Nanites


Like science fiction about chips in the brain?  Check out The Pixel Eye

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