Science fiction about a future Thailand. Futuristic, experimental, homo-erotic and with elements of a political essay. With a richness of themes and impressions that wouldn’t get past the censor in Thailand. The maker doesn’t mince his words and isn’t afraid to look reality in the eye.
In a futurist world, the Thai kingdom has been transformed by ‘The Leader’ into ‘the Realm of people who have done good deeds and earned merits’. It’s a nice place to be, even though the inhabitants are plagued by an indefinable nostalgia. In the old days, people could at least touch each other. Although the Realm has reached version 2.0, technical possibilities remain limited.
This wondrous story of the future is interwoven with stories set in the present and past. According to Pansittivorakul, known for his independently-produced and taboo-breaking documentaries on homosexuality and politics, his first feature is science fiction, yet it is about today’s Thailand. For instance he criticises the need for religion and superstition.
But in the end, this very idiosyncratic, homo-erotically charged essay is above all about time: ‘Time influences everything. The past has to do with the present, and the present is linked to the future.’
The technological singularity, or simply the singularity, is a theoretical moment in time when artificial intelligence will have progressed to the point of a greater-than-human intelligence that will “radically change human civilization, and perhaps even human nature itself.” Since the capabilities of such an intelligence may be difficult for an unaided human mind to comprehend, the technological singularity is often seen as an occurrence (akin to a gravitational singularity) beyond which—from the perspective of the present—the future course of human history is unpredictable or even unfathomable.
The first use of the term “singularity” in this context was by mathematician John von Neumann. Neumann in the mid-1950s spoke of “ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue”. The term was popularized by science fiction writer Vernor Vinge, who argues that artificial intelligence, human biological enhancement, or brain-computer interfaces could be possible causes of the singularity. Futurist Ray Kurzweil cited von Neumann’s use of the term in a foreword to von Neumann’s classic The Computer and the Brain.
Proponents of the singularity typically postulate an “intelligence explosion”, where superintelligences design successive generations of increasingly powerful minds, that might occur very quickly and might not stop until the agent’s cognitive abilities greatly surpass that of any human.
Kurzweil predicts the singularity to occur around 2045 whereas Vinge predicts some time before 2030. At the 2012 Singularity Summit, Stuart Armstrong did a study of artificial generalized intelligence (AGI) predictions by experts and found a wide range of predicted dates, with a median value of 2040. His own prediction on reviewing the data is that there’s an 80% probability that the singularity will occur between 2017 and 2112.
The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in the field of human aesthetics which holds that when human features look and move almost, but not exactly, like natural human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers. Examples can be found in the fields of robotics, 3D computer animation, and in medical fields such as burn reconstruction, infectious diseases, neurological conditions, and plastic surgery. The “valley” refers to the dip in a graph of the comfort level of humans as subjects move toward a healthy, natural human likeness described in a function of a subject’s aesthetic acceptability.
The term was coined by the robotics professor Masahiro Mori as Bukimi no Tani Genshō (不気味の谷現象) in 1970. The hypothesis has been linked to Ernst Jentsch’s concept of the “uncanny” identified in a 1906 essay, “On the Psychology of the Uncanny”. Jentsch’s conception was elaborated by Sigmund Freud in a 1919 essay entitled “The Uncanny” (“Das Unheimliche”).
In Supernatural, an episode titled ‘2060’ was not originally in the first draft. The director, Thunska Pansittivorakul, included the episode as a tribute to Attaporn Thihirun, director of Khon jorn (1999), who lost his life in a car accident in the night of July 29, 2012. Attaporn was a pioneer in Thai independent films. Throughout his life, Attaporn, on a budget that came from his house mortgage, directed only one film where he addressed the issues of social class and its consequent oppression. In ‘2060’ in Supernatural, a short story by Phanu Trivej was mixed with approximately 6 lines from ‘Khon Jorn”s script. Also, many elements and styles were also taken from the film, such as point of view shots and use of vibrant colors as can be seen in the following Youtube clips: