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Top 10 Things Hollywood Thinks Computers Can Do 874

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the upload-a-virus-and-win dept.
An anonymous reader writes "From blowing up your keyboards to developing a malignant sentience, Expert Reviews rounds up the things that movie makers believe computers can do, even though they use the same technology every day to write scripts." I like the summary of how you crack a password in movies. I hate that this page splits into multiple pages. Very lame.
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Top 10 Things Hollywood Thinks Computers Can Do

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  • ENHANCE (Score:5, Funny)

    by coniferous (1058330) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:19AM (#32084646) Homepage
    I wish i could just yell "ENHANCE" at a photo on my computer to make it magically uncover detail that was never originally there. That would be awesome.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sir_Lewk (967686)

      My favourite take on this by far was in Super Troopers. For an instant I thought they were actually doing it seriously ;)

    • Re:ENHANCE (Score:5, Funny)

      by MrBippers (1091791) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:32AM (#32084878)
      I say "enhance" out loud whenever I click the zoom button on google maps.
    • Re:ENHANCE (Score:5, Funny)

      by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:33AM (#32084890) Homepage

      The best example of this was in Red Dwarf: Return to Earth. They zoomed in on a business card, then zoomed back out. Found a reflection behind the people in the picture, enhanced the reflection, then found a water droplet on a telephone pole, enhanced the reflection from that, and THEN they used a window seen in the reflection on the water droplet to see the back of the card. Then, they flipped the image...all so they could read the address on the back of the card.

      It was fsking epic.

    • by pikine (771084) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:06AM (#32085420) Journal
      If you are given a video stream from a security camera and the subject is moving slowly relative to the frame (e.g. license plate of a car taxiing towards a gate), you may have a chance to recover more spatial resolution using temporal information. The idea is that each pixel in the camera will "scan" slightly different parts of the subject in different frames, like how a flatbed scanner works. If you can accurately track the subject in different frames, then you can stitch together a scan of the interesting pixels to uncover subtle detail. Here [2d3.com] is a commercial product that implements this feature.
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:28AM (#32085806) Journal

      TBH, if I'm to wish for something from SF movies, it would include stuff like:

      - Hoshi's universal translator from Enterprise. It can hear a few phrases in an alien language and then be able to translate back a response that includes words and semantic structures it never heard yet in that language. Note that it didn't even need to be told a translation for that original sample. It could just hear "bbzzt klick klickety-klick hrr bzzt" in some insectoid language and just figure out what it means and, for that matter, what the whole rest of the language is like.

      Beats spending eternity to learn some foreign language.

      - The magical interface that allows Data to type whole programs by pressing one of 6 buttons on the side of a touchscreen. No, really. Or for that matter, whatever system allowed Hoshi to type answers to be translated for the alien web-like entity by using only 4 buttons. Makes even the keypad of a cell phone look comfortable by comparison.

      - the kind of programming language used by that precursor race on TNG which can not just be encoded in a few proteins and survive billions of years of mutations, and run on _any_ computer that it may be on after those billions of years, and could also actually just start itself after being stored on a tricorder... but can actually modify the tricorder to include a holographic projector

      - the kind of interpolation software that allows them to go "captain, they're targetting their photon torpedoes at our warp core!" I mean, I could understand interpolating the direction a gun is pointing at, but to know where a torpedo will go after exitting a fixed launch tube, now that's serious magic.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:19AM (#32084648)
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:19AM (#32084656)

    In Terminator 3, the Terminator T-X is able to take over complete control of automobiles simply by sending a virus to their onboard computers. Forget that none of these cars (most of them older ones at that) have any way for the onboard computer to access steering, acceleration or brakes; the real kicker is when the movie shows one of them actually shifting into gear on its own. And not ONE of them was even a Toyota!

    And, on the opposite side, I would like to recognize the movie "Wargames." It wasn't perfect (the AI is certainly exagerrated), but it's definitely one of the most realistic computer films to ever come out of Hollywood. If they remade that today, they would probably show Joshua blowing up buildings and sending robotic minions after David. As it is, Wargames makes a simple ringing phone and a countdown clock way more suspenseful than anything ever produced with CGI special effects. Kudos to John Badham for getting away with making a movie that's pretty thoughtful and low-key--and just a year after Tron showed us how evil programs can suck you into the digital world with a laser, no less.

    • by hitmark (640295)

      could it have been nanites, not just a virus? Still, nanites are hollywoods latest scifi magic trick...

    • I’m pretty sure the T-X injected totally new circuitry into the cars. Not only did it upload a virus, it used minuscule amounts of its own material to design completely new computer & control systems.

    • by Skater (41976)

      In Terminator 3, the Terminator T-X is able to take over complete control of automobiles simply by sending a virus to their onboard computers. Forget that none of these cars (most of them older ones at that) have any way for the onboard computer to access steering, acceleration or brakes; the real kicker is when the movie shows one of them actually shifting into gear on its own. And not ONE of them was even a Toyota!

      I assumed she quickly installed servos for all that stuff before setting off after the gang. ;)

    • by Lord Kano (13027)

      In Terminator 3, the Terminator T-X is able to take over complete control of automobiles simply by sending a virus to their onboard computers.

      You are mistaken. She has nanotechnological tranjectors. In other words, she's installing tiny remote control drones in those electronics. Not a virus, thousands of little remote control robots.

      LK

    • by Locklin (1074657)

      Most cars have had electronic "throttle by wire" systems for a while. Power-steering systems already have all the mechanical systems for electrical control of steering, and I seem to recall some luxury sedans having some sort of computer "assistance" (power steering gain is adjusted based on speed, etc). Finally, conventional car's brakes are completely independent, but hybrids that use regenerative braking involve the computer. No so far fetched.

    • by penguin_dance (536599) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:42AM (#32084994)

      Matrix Reloaded: Trinity exploits an actual vulnerability to hack into the power station.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by camg188 (932324)
      I started watching The Net 2.0 and at the beginning they show the protagonist at her bank's web page checking her account balance. She dozes off and the camera zooms in on the computer screen to show her account balance rolling down until it reaches zero.
      I immediately shut off the DVD player and never finished watching the movie.
      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:58AM (#32085276)
        I also love it when terrorists are kind enough to color-code their wires to a standard and go to the trouble of attaching a big red countdown clock on their bombs. Very sportsmanlike of them.
    • by FauxPasIII (75900) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:53AM (#32085198)

      Here's another one I can recommend for pseudo-realistic hacking: Sneakers

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105435/ [imdb.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by smooth wombat (796938)

        Ding! That was the first (of a very few) dvds I bought. While a few parts were exaggerated, the overall concept of how security testing firms do their testing was accurate (for its day).

        But of course, the best part is the infamous lines:

        "I want peace on Earth and goodwill toward men."

        "We are the United States government. We don't do that sort of thing."

  • FTFA (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:21AM (#32084678)

    In Star Trek, Kirk need only ask an alien computer to "Explain. The. Human emotion. Known. As.....Love", for it to go into a bizarre loop where its logical systems can't computer and it explodes.

    I hate it when my machine can't computer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:22AM (#32084696)

    I can't perform my daily sysadmin duties unless I'm getting fellatio from a chick under my desk at the same time as having a loaded gun pointed at my head while someone counts down from an arbitrary number.

  • Still, Jeff Goldblum's power book hacking into and planting a virus in highly advanced space faring alien architecture has to be my favourite. Don't know if that made the list.

    • Still, Jeff Goldblum's power book hacking into and planting a virus in highly advanced space faring alien architecture has to be my favourite. Don't know if that made the list.

      Yeah, it's the rule where good guys always use Macs.

    • Oh please (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      You pick the one most plausible.
      I know it's popular to rag on that, but it's actually plausible:

      1) They studied the system for years.
      2) The system might not have been a Mac. Could have been a custom OS.
      3) There a hive mind race. they would not have any really need for security.
      4) Electronics are electronics faster smaller. But from a black box approach, no different.
      5) You Assume that the system would some how be perfect.
      6) He exploited a trusted system by exploiting another trusted system.

      • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:19AM (#32085646) Homepage

        Explanation 7) All Earth computers actually use technology stolen from crashed UFOs from Roswell. Their operating systems are the same as ours because our operating systems actually are theirs.

      • Re:Oh please (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @01:06PM (#32087550) Journal

        No. Its not plausible. At all. If you had any idea how difficult it is to migrate a program from English to French, you wouldn't be saying that. Decimals to Comma's, that alone messes up tons of Accounting databases.

        1) They still didn't know how it worked, they mentioned that.
        2) Regardless, the idea is that its a human OS and not alien.
        3) Then they wouldn't have shields.
        4) Not all electronics work the same. This is why there are issues with video games on differing video cards, why you can't run MS-DOS on Solaris machines, etc etc.
        5) No, I'm assuming that the system is beyond our skillset to manipulate. Like if they use quantum computing and quantum encryption, we wouldn't have the means to inject our own code into a stream. Not too mention our own code, C or assembly or even Matlab won't run on alien architecture, like how most Windows games don't run on Macs.
        6) His exploit was mystically deciphering an entire alien legacy of computers and machinery in order to disable one function. If I had that power, I would have turned off the cooling systems for the plasma firing weapons. Have them blow themselves up.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:24AM (#32084730)

    I hate that this page splits into multiple pages. Very lame.

    Then...don't reward them by linking to them?

    "BAD, Johhny! Don't pull your brother's hair! Here's an ice cream sundae."

  • Yeah I read TFA .. but I can point out an exception to "the good guys only use macs". In one of the robocop movies (#2?? I know I never saw #3 or anything later if there was anything??) the robocop interface is shown as DOS like, but his nemesis is shown having a mac like interface.
    • by hitmark (640295)

      my guess there, mac is what is available for the studio crew. So when the script say "computer" they grab the nearest one for the shot, and it will more likely then not be a mac, thanks to its longish history in media circles.

    • by OnlyJedi (709288)

      Well, considering that Robocop 2 was made in March 1990, a few months after System 6.0.5 and a few months before Windows 3.0 were released, it is hardly surprising that they used a DOS computer. That's what most people would have recognized after all. The whole "good guys use Mac" meme is a much more recent phenomenon.

      • by OzPeter (195038)
        I know what I pointed out was a historical quirk, but it amused me at the time to recognize the joke embedded in the movie.
    • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:45AM (#32085086)

      It's taken on a kind of Urban Legend patina, so take it with a grain of salt, but here goes:

      Seems that the Art Department and Properties guys -- the crew responsible for dressing the set -- for Star Trek IV were all HUGE Amiga fans. No real surprise there, given where Amiga was at the time the movie was shot. So... in the famous scene where Scotty, the ultimate fictional Uber Engineer, has traveled back in time and assumes all computers are voice-activated (as they are in his century), talks into a mouse, the Art guys wanted their Amiga to be the one featured in the scene. So they sent some reps just up the road apiece from where they were filming in San Francisco to meet with the Amiga honchos and get some hardware for the scene. As the story goes, the Amiga guys were initially annoyed, cuz it was all so unannounced and sudden, and then they agreed only if the crew paid for the gear. "No loaners."

      "Um, but, it's the new Star Trek movie, and it's Chief Engineer Scott, and he's back in our century, and he could be using YOUR computer, and we all really love Amigas on the set, and..."

      "Sorry. Sign this Purchase Order or get out."

      So the crew called Apple, who "got it" in a heartbeat, sent in a Marketing SWAT team with free Macs for the scene, free Macs for everyone on the crew, and technical advisers to stand by during the filming to make sure everything went smoothly.

      Amiga, the astute among you have by now noticed, is no longer with us. Apple, on the other hand...

  • Plot tools (Score:4, Insightful)

    by clone53421 (1310749) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:26AM (#32084760) Journal

    That’s what they are.

    Plot tools.

  • The article tries to assert that somehow a keyboard is not an effective way of controlling a computer in a hurry. I would like to say that they are full of shit. On any OS that is worth anything, I do more work with the keyboard than with the mouse; especially if the situation is urgent. I don't want to be inconvenienced with a mouse when something important is going down, I want all my fingers available for typing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Speare (84249)

      (zoomy experimental mouse/OpenGL file browser shows on Iris Crimson minicomputer...)

      Lex: This is Unix! I know this!

    • by Locklin (1074657) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:42AM (#32085004) Homepage

      The bandwidth of ten fingers and 104 keys is far greater than a two-dimensional vector and a couple buttons.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geekoid (135745)

      "On any OS that is worth anything"

      Scotsman's fallacy.

      You're correct in that using a key board should be faster, and that in every current mainstream OS it is faster. But that doesn't excuse your logical fallacy.

      I had to rewrite a system that the original programmer made completely mouse driven.
      Here's this kicker: It was a system specifically for data entry, but you could not tab to the next entry area.

    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @12:25PM (#32086810) Homepage

      There are other problems: their #1 problem is "Left long enough, a computer becomes intelligent", citing Terminator and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

      However, the computers weren't just "left long enough" in either movie. In Terminator, SkyNet was an AI designed by the military to have intelligence. The surprise wasn't that it became intelligent, but that it decided to kill everyone. In Star Trek, Voyager was discovered by an alien race of intelligent robots (or something like that) who repaired and upgraded Voyager.

  • by drcagn (715012) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:26AM (#32084766) Homepage
    That's one thing that always drives me nuts when I'm watching computers being used on TV or in the movies... EVERY user interface element BEEPS. Text will scroll on the screen (no idea why it won't just show all at once) and as the computer renders each and every single character, it lets out a beep. That sort of machine would drive me nuts after about 3 minutes of use.
  • Cracked.com (Score:4, Informative)

    by HavePatience (1538937) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:26AM (#32084768)
    Isn't this a rip off of a Cracked.com article of the same name? http://www.cracked.com/article_15229_5-things-hollywood-thinks-computers-can-do_p3.html [cracked.com] Oh, I'm sorry, it's 5 vs 10. That makes it okay, right?
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:27AM (#32084776)
    Whether its the EMH or just a mundane collection of data. Once it's been copied from its original place the orginal has gone.

    However, if DRM really gets a grip, this could become fact not fiction.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Whether its the EMH or just a mundane collection of data. Once it's been copied from its original place the orginal has gone.

      So *this* is where we got the notion that piracy==theft from!

  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:30AM (#32084836)

    When John Wayne fired a gun, at least two Indians dropped instantly. *At least* two. You can keep those computers, I want to better understand the technology behind The Duke's bullets...

  • V'Ger (Score:4, Informative)

    by AllyGreen (1727388) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:34AM (#32084900)
    The V'ger reference at the end annoyed me. It was given life by other beings, it didn't just become sentient!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by delinear (991444)

      The V'ger reference at the end annoyed me. It was given life by other beings, it didn't just become sentient!

      Likewise the reference to Skynet - I think we can all assume they were trying to make a self-aware system. It's not like it was the OS in a vending machine and it got bored of counting quarters one day and started wondering if there was more to life. I can't, off the top of my head, think of any examples of an ordinary computer system developing self awareness independent of human interaction.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt.lynx@bc@ca> on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:35AM (#32084912) Journal

    Hollywood does not actually think computers can currently do nor do they think they ever will do these things.

    Hollywood does think is that having computers do such things in a story usually (not always, but usually) makes it easier or faster to tell the story the way it is intended, rather than getting bogged down in the real life technicalities that are actually involved that would bore almost anybody.

    The only real problem with this is that some people could be left thinking that computers do or can do some of these things. But that's more a case of those people not being able to tell fiction from reality, which has nothing to do with how Hollywood tells stories, it has to do with what sort of education and life experience a person has.

    • by da_matta (854422) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @12:56PM (#32087380)
      Imagine the scene:
      Our heroine has snuck into the villains office and starts to hack into the computer to find evidence of the crime. After a some furious minutes of password guessing and file browsing, she finds the incriminating file! Then, just as she prints the file, there is an error of print failure. Our hero starts a browser and starts to google for an updated driver. After a few misses, she finds one in the manufacturers Taiwanese website. But after installing the driver, the error still persists. She returns to Google and starts looking for other people with similar issues. After 20 minutes of searching she finds an obscure tip in the forums to disable PCL-emulation in the registry. After changing the setting she reboots the computer and we nervously wait for another 10 minutes for the login to complete and document to reopen.. It works! The document prints! Our heroin snatches the print and slips out of the side door just before the villain re-enters
      Now that's entertainment!
  • I read page 1, then the site got slashdotted, appearantly. I can only imagine the fire alarms going off, server rooms on fire, sparks everywhere, chaos, mayhem... Much more interesting than a "an unexpected error has occured. contact your administrator." windows dialog on a machine.

    Well then, without the original article... I guess one thing that Hollywood thinks computers can do, is for servers to be ab-so-lu-tely quiet... In series such as 24 and CSI, I see rack after rack of Dell equipment, and they must

  • storytelling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Speare (84249) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:38AM (#32084952) Homepage Journal

    It's just an aspect of storytelling. Most stories are about conflict and resolution between the characters, not the intellectual masturbation of what layer in the network stack is responsible for ack/response. Details like that don't matter. Struggling against time, intrigue, and moving the plot along: that's what matters.

    In the movie House of Flying Daggers, there's a swordfight scene where the two rivals finally clash in an epic struggle as the seasons change from summer to fall to winter all around them. Obviously nobody can fight for nine months. Obviously the sword choreography was on a completely different time scale to the environment they were in. Details like this matter if you're a weak-minded literalist. As pretty as the visuals were, it simply communicated a story like a line in a novel. It was a powerful visual metaphor.

    Next time the guys in CSI can scan a DNA sequence in a matter of minutes (or perhaps hours, as the camera briefly observes an analog clockface), don't nitpick the usual technical constraints of a process that usually takes days or weeks or months. Just insert "no technical challenge will stop this team." Even for geeks who enjoy the technical aspects, some details are like watching paint dry.

    • Re:storytelling (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:05AM (#32085406)

      Next time the guys in CSI can scan a DNA sequence in a matter of minutes (or perhaps hours, as the camera briefly observes an analog clockface), don't nitpick the usual technical constraints of a process that usually takes days or weeks or months.

      Except this lack of 'nit-picking' has real-world consequences. At the weekend I was reading a story in a newspaper where some real-world forensics investigators were complaining that shows like CSI have given the public the impression that they are magicians to the extent that juries are acquitting people because the police don't have a CSI-style case... after all, since they know from CSI that DNA sequencing only takes a few seconds, why don't the police have DNA evidence to prove that this guy is guilty? And why can't they get perfect fingerprints from objects where fingerprints can't possibly exist? CSI can get fingerprints from anything.

  • 8. Online chats always display each character as its typed.
    ...each character of a message is displayed as its typed...the typing is always faster than fluent touch-typists can manage and no mistakes are ever made - not once is the backspace key pressed...No IM system in popular use does this...

    I was using ICQ back in 1998, and it had the option of displaying each chat character as it was typed. It meant you could express more complex thoughts, without requiring the other person to sit and wait patiently for you to develop a whole paragraph. It let the other guy step in and say 'I see where you're going, but let me stop you there...'. It opened up opportunities for dramatic timing and deliberate use of backspacing for comedic effect. It was more 'live' than a one-line-at-a-time chat modality, despite its warts. While this style of online chat may not be particularly popular today, it was (and still is) readily available.

    In real-life telephone conversations, you don't get to review each sentence before it goes out over the wire; if you choose the wrong word you just have to live with it.

    To the other point, I just have to say -- what? People can perform tasks flawlessly in movies? It turns out that unless required for dramatic effect (as a somewhat-lazy shorthand to convey nervousness or poorly-concealed deception), characters always speak in clear, perfect setences and never use the word "um". Their shoelaces are always tied, their hair is always perfect, and they never miss the bus unless their character is required to be unlucky or miserable. People in movies seldom need to visit the washroom, and then only to have private conversations -- never to defecate, except as a route to teen-movie fart jokes.

    Movies are a projection of reality, not an exact duplicate. People tend to do non-visually-arresting and plot-irrelevant things faster or behind the scenes. Watching someone make typos for two hours isn't my idea of a good time.

  • Irony (Score:3, Funny)

    by Voyager529 (1363959) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (925regayov)> on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:43AM (#32085048)

    "Here's a link for the top 10 things that computers can do in movies but can't do in real life"

    *clicks link*

    "A rendering error occured"

  • Very lame indeed. (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrNemesis (587188) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:45AM (#32085084) Homepage Journal

    If you want to read something alot more entertaining and you're happy with it being spread across multiple pages, read the pages at TV Tropes instead: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicalComputer [tvtropes.org] It includes all the ten tropes in the list, plus many more, without obnoxious advertising.

    It's much funnier, has exhaustive examples, and will ultimately ruin your life.

    A bit more back on topic, my favourite "enhance" button was seen in some terrible movie starring Jack Black as a CIA hacker which I came across whilst, er, herbally medicated. It featured the usual "enhance [208.116.9.205]" button with a (literal) twist - using "inference AI" it could turn a patchwork of images into a 3D model... including the bits that weren't filmed. The wall-banging stupidity of this was even a major plot point - the model was done so they could find out where someone had stashed the microfilm, or some such rubbish - typical modest programmers, they write their AI to infer things and it turns out to be an all-seeing eye that can observe past events witnessed by no other human. The only reason I'm sad I can't remember the name of that film is in case I accidentally start watching it again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LatencyKills (1213908)
      I'm pretty sure you're thinking of Enemy of the State (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120660/ [imdb.com]). Not a great movie, but not awful either.
    • by metamechanical (545566) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @12:24PM (#32086778)
      I'm pretty sure that was Nacho Libre
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by biobogonics (513416)

      If you want to read something alot more entertaining and you're happy with it being spread across multiple pages, read the pages at TV Tropes instead: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicalComputer [tvtropes.org] It includes all the ten tropes in the list, plus many more, without obnoxious advertising.

      It's much funnier, has exhaustive examples, and will ultimately ruin your life.

      Yes, the linked website hits one of my favorite classic computer no-nos "slot machine passwords". Remember the movie "

  • Another version... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Daetrin (576516) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:47AM (#32085116)
    Looks like a variation on the "5 Things Hollywood Thinks Computers Can Do" article from cracked.com. [cracked.com]

    Also, i'd like to point out that the Expert Reviews version used really poor examples for their #1 case that computers which are just left on will develop intelligence. V'ger didn't develop intelligence on its own, the original primitive computer was massively upgraded and reprogrammed by some aliens who found it, it wasn't just "left on." In Skynet's case the basic computer was powerful enough to develop sentience and did so almost immediately after being turned on, there was no "just leave it on long enough" involved. The WarGames example from the cracked article was better because it didn't show any signs of intelligence immediately after being turned on, and it involved completely understandable and by now quite outdated technology that clearly would have a hard time opening a modern webpage, much less developing intelligence.
  • by NiteShaed (315799) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @10:58AM (#32085278)

    but the fact is, doing a scene where a sysadmin bangs around in a terminal typing commands just isn't fun for the viewer. The reason we laugh so hard at these things though is because technology is our thing. It's true for almost anything in an entertainment-oriented (as opposed to educational) movie. Try some of the following:

    Watch a few cop movies with actual cops.
    Watch some hospital-based TV shows with some doctors, nurses and paramedics.
    Watch a couple of movies that focus on car chases/stunts with some mechanics.
    The list goes on and on. What you'll see though is, those people will have the same general reaction to Hollywood depictions of their areas of expertise that we have regarding use of computers/technology. Accuracy and entertainment just don't always go well together.

  • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:18AM (#32085642) Journal

    Easily guessable passwords are real, as tons of other slashdot stories remind us. Of course, they often can't be quite that simple, because of password security rules. But that could lead to a new Hollywood password cracking scheme:

    Geek Hero: Try "password"
    Hot Girl at Keyboard: That'll never work, they've got strict password rules at EvilTech
    GH: What are they?
    HG: Has to be at least 8 characters including upper and lower case, at least one but not more than two numbers, and exactly one special character. Can't contain a dictionary word or abbreviation in any of 87 languages, including !Kung and Klingon, nor can the numbers be a day of the month or of special significance nor...
    GH: Stop right there, there's only one password which matches those rules... try this...
    HG: We're In!

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