Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Body of Lies


Oil,  the unstated god of power in the Middle East, plays a true Oz in Body of Lies, a must see film able to depict, in part, the dubious role the US plays in a region of the world we know next to nothing about, a place forever cursed as long as the oil god remains in place, able to support the unelected governing elite who rule in unjust fashion using religion, violence and propaganda as the preferred weapons of choice. As in Enemy of the State, the specter of tech abounds with surveillance and the Net as prime driverss while, at the same time, an arrogant lack of awareness and respect for local customs corrupt human intel in all too familiar ways.


In a very indirect way, Transformers II, Revenge of the Fallen, (A marginal film at best, the first was far better) shows how AI, combined with nanotech, give rise to machines of frightening capability, especially in the areas of surveillance and communications, applications requiring little power to make magic happen. (smart phones anyone?) To this end, the kind of tech seen in this flick is coming sooner than thought possible due to the ubiquity of the net and the unified software set it provides to the world. (The smart marbles sequence, IMHO, is the highlight of the film)


You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something. - Richard Feyman
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