1980s and 1990s sci-fi movies are lot less fictional than we thought

Ever since 1968’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” science-fiction films and books have carried a similar theme: computers gaining enough artificial intelligence to outsmart human beings.

For the majority of people who don’t live in the computing world, the idea of machines overtaking humans has always been an entertaining premise that’s only somewhat haunting. Because while it seems plausible, we don’t know enough about technology to ever believe it possible.

In other words, we have a hard time processing a threat that our brain doesn’t fully understand.

It’s a reason why few people legitimately fear the scientific dangers presented by global warming. In general, we know that climate change is happening, and it’s bad, but we don’t know why, and therefore we do little to stop it besides complaining about it on social media.

Take the 1983 film “WarGames” starring a young Matthew Broderick. In the film, he operates an oversized computer to discover a backdoor into the U.S. government’s defense systems. Simply by pressing a few buttons — which he thinks are harmless — he accidentally sets our computer systems onto an unstoppable path towards nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

That was 34 years ago.

The reason why this has been such a reoccurring topic in science fiction is because it was only a matter of time.

wannacry

Look how far we’ve come technologically since then. Now in the 21st century, the new arena for warfare is online.

And more people should be afraid. Or at least care.

Russian interference in our elections was not simply a hack, or an inconvenience, or “fake news” — it was an attack. We were attacked by a hostile foreign nation.

And last week, more than 150 countries were victimized by a “ransomware” attack that is believed to have been orchestrated by North Korea.

And this time, they ain’t just trying to stop a movie.

To avoid getting too technical, ransomware is basically a hack that scrambles your files with encryption, and then demands you pay a ransom to unlock the encryption — aided by the anonymity of Bitcoin.

The attack, performed with software by the name WannaCry, may have cost lives. Among the victims was the servers for the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, which relies on IT systems to perform urgent, life-saving operations.

WannaCry targeted Microsoft, taking advantage of a vulnerability that had recently been leaked by a hacker group in April after it obtained hacking tools compiled by the National Security Agency. Before that, Microsoft had released a software upgrade fixing the issue, which most people did not utilize. And now they’re screwed.

This is the era we live in. Everything is automated. And around the clock, hackers are trying to infiltrate these computers. Yes, groups are working equally as hard to safeguard computers simultaneously, but it’s an endless cycle. The fabrics of our world now lie within computer codes and operating systems.

And those who still naively believe that computers aren’t capable of bringing about our downfall, well, I suggest you pop an old Matthew Broderick flick into your VCR.

Then after you’ve watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, watch WarGames.

Is Kendrick Lamar supposed to make me care about rap?

I was watching Saturday Night Live this weekend — of course not actually live, I have a life people — when I saw that Adam Levine was the host. I thought, “Oh cool, so he’s going to host and sing?”

Typically when a musician hosts SNL, they also provide the musical entertainment. It’s a lot of work for one person, but I’ve seen others do it. However, not only was Adam Levine not singing, but the musical guest was somebody that does not even belong to the same genre.

Kendrick LamarThe guest was a rapper who goes by the name of Kendrick Lamar. I’ve heard of him, solely by name, and apparently he is blowing up right now. It seems like he’s the biggest thing in rap. Because, firstly, for a rapper to land a gig on Saturday Night Live, you have to be a pretty big name.

I don’t listen to rap. You won’t find any on my iTunes and I couldn’t even begin to tell you what any hip hop stations are on the radio. It’s just not my thing. At all. I couldn’t care less about “ill beats” or “mad flows.”

I just don’t associate rap with music. Do I think rap is form of art? Of course. Like def poetry or just… regular poetry, it requires talent and skill to be able to recite words in an eloquent way, and to be able to do it alongside a beat obviously takes some ability. However, it’s still not music. Music is formed by instruments, like guitars, or a piano, or that weird wooden fish thing that your elementary school music teacher used to have in her classroom.

But I listened to Kendrick Lamar perform anyway. And I’ll admit that I actually made it to about one-minute in before I fast forwarded. That means a lot, because typically when I listen to rap I have to turn it off after five seconds. I think those 45 seconds of listening to Kendrick Lamar surpasses the amount of time I’ve spent in my entire life listening to Lil’ Wayne. And I’ve actually heard Lil’ Wayne about one hundred times — I just make sure I turn off the volume or change the station within the same second it turns on.

I’ll never be adverse to young talent coming up and making a name for themselves. Kendrick Lamar is just 25 years old, and he’s reppin’ us 1987ers pretty well. In addition, he can only be better than the likes of Kanye West, Drake and the aforementioned Lil’ Wayne, right? Right??

Plus, he took part in a pretty awesome Digital Short that marked the temporary return of Andy Samberg, who left SNL last year because he thought he was ready to embark on a successful film career, but when he looks back on that decision a decade from now he will probably realize that he should have waited at least another year or two. Here is the video, titled You Only Live Once, which we all know what that shortens to.

So to answer the original question posed in the title of this blog post — No. I do not think Kendrick Lamar is going to make me suddenly begin to have the slightest interest in rap. He is not the next Eminem, who aside from Tupac Shakur and possibly Run DMC, may be the only rappers in the history of the world who are universally liked.

However, I figured I should take a moment and acknowledge the newfound popularity of Mr. Lamar since he seems to be making waves in the industry these days. And I should also acknowledge that Kendrick Lamar’s birth name is actually Kendrick Lamar Duckworth.

One can understand why he chose to drop his surname. I don’t think “Duckworth” would have branded him with a ton of street cred.

So what else happened this weekend? Oh, there’s apparently a national controversy regarding whether Jennifer Lawrence’s dress ripped while she accepted her Screen Actors Guild Award yesterday during yesterday’s awards show.

I had absolutely no desire to discuss this at length, but if you Google the phrase “Jennifer Lawrence dress,” you’ll be saddened to see that there are pages worth of articles on the topic. Between this and the Meryl Streep joke during the Golden Globes, J-Law has had a very successful yet controversial awards season. I’d still date her though.

Also, many of you may have seen this new ad by Microsoft, as they are trying to get back in the technological game with brand new phones and tablets. What was their marketing plan? It was to manipulate and tug at the nostalgic heartstrings of all those who were born in the mid-to-late 1980s. And by god did they do it well.

It really brings a tear to your eye. Hungry mother f’n Hippos!

Nokia LumiaIt was a brilliant strategy by Microsoft, who is heavily associated with pioneering the technological revolution in the 1990s. They’ve since been outdone by Apple and Google, but they appear to be making a comeback.

And as somebody who recently purchased a Windows phone in the form of a Nokia Lumia 920, I can vouch that they are officially back in the game. I’ve owned it for a few weeks now and I can honestly say that I love it. it has a very aesthetic and simplified interface that really appeals to me, a lengthy battery life and it fits very comfortably inside my pocket.

It also makes phone calls, and other stuff.

Of course the irony is that Microsoft is playing off their 90s appeal, and yet during the 90s, none of us carried cell phones. Also in the 90s, I didn’t know what a blog was yet. Instead, I actually spent my recreational time going outside and doing productive things.

But there’s still hope for us Generation-Y folk. If a young, nerdy black kid named Kendrick Duckworth, who spent his childhood in the 90s by probably wearing glasses and overalls and looking like Steve Urkel, can grow up to become Kendrick Lamar and perform on Saturday Night Live, then who knows what the rest of us can accomplish.