I know a guy who works at Boston Dynamics. He spends all day fussing over how to get a robot leg to bend the right way. It's kind of boring, but he likes tinkering with things. And hey, it's a job. When he sees people freaking out about whatever new robot they've unleashed unto the world, he just laughs, because he knows how much time he's spent futzing with those stupid joints.
For the most part, he's got a point; we like to freak out about our Terminator future, but mostly it's pretty lame, like that dumb-looking Knightscope mall security guard. The surveillance components are creepy; but the thing itself is hardly threatening.
Except now, Boston Dynamic's trusty robot dog Spot is now actually being used by law enforcement to…well, that part's not clear. From WBUR:
The state’s bomb squad had Spot on loan from the Waltham-based Boston Dynamics for three months starting in August until November, according to records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and reviewed by WBUR.
The documents do not reveal a lot of details on the robot dog’s exact use, but a state police spokesman said Spot, like the department’s other robots, was used as a “mobile remote observation device” to provide troopers with images of suspicious devices or potentially hazardous locations, like where an armed suspect might be hiding.
On one hand, this makes sense; cops have been using robots to take point in potentially dangerous scenarios for years. On the other hand, it's still kind of creepy, and not just because I personally skeptical of Staties in my home Commonwealth. Read the rest
The new Colonel Sanders is RoboCop? I'm not even going to pretend to understand what is going on at KFC HQ but this is really happening.
The campaign starts with a mockumentary video. Something about the Colonel's Secret Recipe needing better protection. Of course, that's where RoboCop comes in. He's been reprogrammed with a new prime directive to protect those precious 11 herbs and spices. It ends with RoboSanders walking the digital recipe in a briefcase to Stockholm's Bahnhof Data Center, a real underground storage bunker "built to survive Armageddon." Apparently, the Secret Recipe is actually being stored there.
"FauxBoCop," as Britt Hayes of AV Club perfectly dubbed him, also appears in two ads. The first one is called "Hungry Boy":
If you're wondering, yes, FauxBoCop is really voiced by the original RoboCop, Peter Weller, according to /Film:
I haven’t been able to confirm if it’s actually the 71-year-old actor wearing the suit in these commercials. I called his agents and confirmed that he was involved in this campaign, but when I specifically asked if Weller was wearing the suit, his agent told me “We have no comment on that.” Uh, okay then? I guess they really want to keep the mystery alive of whether their client got suited up or if he’s just lending his voice and a double is doing all of the physical stuff. Cool.
The second is called "Secret Recipe" and Carrie Brownstein, is that you?
(AV Club) Read the rest
In Patent 10049419, "Mobile law enforcement communication system and method," Motorola engineers describe "A communication system, comprising: a self-driving vehicle within which to detain a detainee by a law enforcement officer" that locks you up, administers a breathalyzer, reads you your rights, figures out who your counsel of record is, conferences you in with your lawyer, consults with a court on your bail, and lets you swipe your cards to bail out of the car.
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1987's Robocop was perfect, its sequels bad, and 2014's remake forgettable. Earlier this year, the original's co-writer, Ed Neumeier, let out that he'd been working on a new sequel, and now it's official. Neill Blomkamp is directing, with Neumeier and co-writer Michael Miner producing. Justin Rhodes is rewriting a script Neumeier and Miner originally crafted in the 1980s for Robocop II that was ultimately rejected; Frank Miller got the job instead.
The original film was a formative touchstone for Blomkamp, whose District 9 grossed $210 million worldwide, got four Oscar nominations and who followed with several science fiction films that carried a polemical message under the surface, including Elysium and Chappie. He has spent the last few years building Oats Studios in Vancouver, where has been producing short form content he has written, directed and self-financed. Blomkamp jumped at the chance to do a RoboCop that harkens back to and picks up the story line from the original film. His own films have highlighted themes like immigration, exclusion and the haves and have nots, and while RoboCop — made in the Reagan era and focused on corporate greed — a different part of the original story has become most important to him.
Hire Peter Weller.
P.S. Read the rest
Ed Neumeier, the writer behind Paul Verhoeven's classic 1987 family comedy Robocop, is working on a direct sequel to it that ignores the poorly-received sequels and the forgettable 2014 reboot. Read the rest
Businesses in Detroit that wish to stay open after 10pm will have to join the city's high definition crime surveillance program. Shop keepers who participate in the program benefit by receiving prioritized Emergency Response Services when calling 911.
Welcome to Delta City, Robocop fans! Install surveillance cameras for the cops or maybe they won't show up.
Crain's Detroit interviewed Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan about the program:
Mayor Mike Duggan's administration is moving forward with a plan to eventually mandate every retail business in Detroit with late-night hours have surveillance cameras tied into Project Green Light, the Detroit Police Department's real-time crime monitoring system credited with a decrease in carjackings and overall crime around participating businesses.
In an interview Wednesday with Crain's, Duggan said he will ask City Council later this year to mandate Project Green Light high-definition video systems for all retail businesses open after 10 p.m.
Duggan said the city will start with requiring the camera systems for bars, restaurants, gas stations and other businesses open between midnight and 4 a.m. during the "highest risk" time for crimes to occur. Then the city will move to businesses open after 10 p.m., he said.
The mandate could affect as many as 4,000 businesses open after 10 p.m., though the mayor said the video surveillance systems would be phased in because the Green Light Program already has a backlog of voluntary participants and a shortage of installers.
The reason for the backlog of volunteers is likely #9 on the Project Green Light FAQ:
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It was RoboCop Day in Detroit yesterday and the man-machine threw the ceremonial first pitch at last night's Detroit Tigers game, although sadly it wasn't Peter Weller in the suit (nor Joel Kinnaman); meanwhile, the city's crowdfunded RoboCop bronze statue is slated for completion later this year. Read the rest
Our standards betray us, leading to action movies (particularly remakes of Paul Verhoeven's) which "trade subversive carnage for sanitized violence that asks fewer moral questions." James Orbesen:
"Research has shown that depicted violence does not necessarily lead to real-world violence. But depicted violence can say a lot about the appetites and attitudes of audiences. The Verhoven approach—bloody, unsettling, and confrontational—seems more and more like a relic. What people want now is violence that is clean and quick, provoking no questions."
Read the rest
watches RoboCop (2014) and remembers RoboCop (1987). The PG-13 remake isn't bad, but has less to say than the original, and, worse, is not as funny.
I'd buy that for a dollar...but you can just watch for free!