In the future who can stop robots when they break our laws? Tom Selleck stars as Magnum P.I. Sgt. Jack Ramsay, working in the “Runaway” division of the LAPD, leading a squad of police officers who must stop dangerous or out of control robots. Ramsay and his new partner Karen Thompson (Cynthia Rhodes) run afoul of a defense contractor (Gene Simmons) who is using deadly drones to kill his rivals and work his way up the corporate ladder! After the film, we’ll break to talk about the timeliness of the film, considering drone warfare, their domestic application and the ethics of killer technology.
What happens when you mix the Terminator, with Rear Window and the plot to several Phillip K. Dick novels? You get the 1990 film Hardware a cyberpunk thriller set in a post-apocalyptic future (aren’t they all?) where the government conspires to create genocidal robots in order to murder the population of the ghetto. Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly weren't available, so the film stars Dylan McDermott (The Practice) and Stacey Travis (Dr. Hackenstein) as star crossed lovers up against a relentless, violent cyborg. Murder! Sex! Iggy Pop!
“Let us not go to Camelot. ‘Tis a silly place.”
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail
For decades, cyberspace has been heralded as an ideal public sphere, a “home of the mind” where discourse and deliberation can thrive. However, in practice, the Internet is often a “silly place,” a cacophonous collection of conflicting opinions, irrelevant flame wars, pictures of cats, and memes designed to elicit LOLs.
Rather than dismiss the Internet’s predilection for humour as frivolous, this incarnation of the Hacking Reality asks what is gained -- and possibly lost -- by embracing online humour. Can Internet memes foster online community and act as the scaffold for political projects? Are the lulz just a smokescreen for prejudice? What does the success of sites like BuzzFeed, Gawker and the Cheezburger Network mean for online discourse?
Moderated by Luke Simcoe, and featuring both comedian Dan Speerin and satirist Seb Fox Allen, this salon investigates what it means when the Internet is an arena where users don’t speak truth to power so much as mock it.
Join us at the Academy of the Impossible on Thursday, April 18 for the latest in our series examining the Internet and online culture.
Confrontation is inevitable (and arguably necessary) in any engaged community. Conflict is often a catalyst for deepening perspective, but disagreements about values and lived experiences can get messy, especially in the coliseums of social media. The Internet also provides a perpetually and rapidly cycling landscape of events, statements and issues that illuminate (or even stoke) conflict. Can discussion groups with shared/overlapping interests navigate these tensions while preserving solidarity and respect, or are occasional and permanent fissures a fact of community life?
The salon will be moderated by writer, editor and ever-reasonable human Leah Bobet, and is the brainchild of internet feminist Steph Guthrie and comedian and podcaster Dan Speerin. Discussion will touch on the many ways we approach conflict on the Internet, and how these confrontations both express and shape their online communities.
The free event begins promptly at 7pm.
In the interest of honest and constructive conversation, active listening and respect for fellow participants is a must. No sharing of comments on social media will be permitted, and no personal attacks, mocking, or insults will be tolerated.
If Toronto had only listened when they told us “Winter is Coming”.
On March 31st help the Academy of the Impossible and Truth Mashup celebrate the premiere of the Third Season of Game of Thrones! If you find yourself longing to be in Westeros and can’t wait for the new season to start, this will be the place to be. Join us for pre-show entertainment, whether you want to watch the cast of Drunk Feminist Films talk all things Westeros, explore the Game of Thrones universe WesterosCraft with Liam O’Donnell or just joke around with the Truth Mashup guys about the politics of it all, we’ll have you covered. Plus while we all wait for the show, drinks will be provided by the awesome folk at Junction Craft Brewery! Come join us for the best Game of Thrones viewing party around.
February 14th is a day for chocolates, roses and RANTS. Come join Academy Knowledge Professional Orla Hegarty for a discussion on how to remain single and sane on what some singles believe to be the most culturally damaging 'holiday' ever created. Let's share our experiences and help debunk the myths of being 'single and miserable' or 'single and desperate'. Cinnamon hearts and other treats will be available to chew on while we ruminate on the perils and pitfalls of being happily single in our coupled world.
What is the nature of reality? Philosophers, scientists, and religious scholars have debated this question for thousands of years. While the realists have argued that the material world exists independently of our beliefs and perceptions, the idealists have argued that the human mind plays a critical role in the formation of reality. Building upon insights from physics, philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, Professor Jacob Hirsh introduces the notion of the Space-Time-Consciousness Continuum, a model of the universe in which individual minds play an active and participatory role in the construction of reality. Implications are discussed for individual experience, shared reality, and the role of consciousness in the universe.
Dr. Jacob B. Hirsh is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. His research focuses on understanding the neural and cognitive bases of motivation, creativity, and decision-making.
This course on how to get others to value your knowledge and pay you for it will be led by broadcaster, researcher and public speaker Jesse Hirsh. Jesse has spent the last two decades successfully getting paid in the knowledge economy.
The knowledge economy remains a nebulous concept, which makes getting paid in said economy even more difficult. Yet there are growing numbers of people who are getting paid, and not always for the right reasons. In this course we will discuss what the knowledge economy is, who some of the players are, what they do to get paid, and what you can do too.
Did Prime Minister Stephen Harper really choke on a hash brown? On June 7, 2011, his Members of Parliament appeared convinced as they posted the news item to the social media platform Twitter. Or at least they did until their party admitted that a hack of its website circulated the fake news item. More than embarrass the party, the hackers revealed the circuits of its automated communications; a system that exemplifies how campaign management software controls their communications.
Harper’s ‘breakfast related’ incident opens a window into algorithms now possessing our media. Algorithms subtlety shape the way we are approached and interpreted as consumers -- of both products and information -- as democratic citizens, and even as friends. The search results we get from Google, the content we find in our social media feeds, the forms of political engagement we encounter, and even the ebbs and flows of the economy are all influenced by various software algorithms.
Fenwick McKelvey, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Washington, explores our dependence on algorithms through two related case studies. The first examines the issue of ‘network neutrality’ through the lens of Internet routing software. Transmission rates now depend on algorithms that detect and manage certain traffic patterns. They allow Internet Service Providers to tier Internet speeds and require customers pay to access these speeds. McKelvey sheds light on how some of this software works, how it has been employed by Canadian ISPs and how it could alter our very experience of the Internet.
“Mic Check? We Are the Media...” – Truth Mashup Radio LIVE! At the Academy of the Impossible.
Television Producers, Short Filmmakers and original YouTuber’s “The Cynically Tested Channel” (Dan Speerin, Alan So and Vince Kesavamoorthy) will present their weekly comedic current affairs podcast “Truth Mashup Radio” live for the first time on August 16th.
The 30 min humourous week in review, will also give the Academy audience a chance to join the panel as a cohost and shape the conversation. Following the podcast, Truth Mashup Radio will lead the Academy in a Google Hangout on YouTube. They'll be discussing social media and how citizen journalism and even comedy can change the mainstream narrative, from hashtags to viral videos we want your thoughts on how we can take back our media and get citizens more involved in the media landscape.
Join us on August 9th to talk about the contentious relationship between social media and privacy. What sort of balance must be struck between the desire for attention and the need for privacy. When does one outweigh the other? Are solutions to be found in either technology, policy, or culture?
When parliament resumes so too will the committee and their study into social media and privacy. Now is a good opportunity for concerned members of the Canadian public to provide submissions to the committee for further input on their study. We'll talk about how to do this and why we should (or should not).
This fall Jesse Hirsh will be teaching a course on how to get paid in the knowledge economy. Join us for a preview of the course and a chance to give input on what subjects should be covered.
The knowledge economy remains a nebulous concept, which makes getting paid in said economy even more difficult. Yet there are growing numbers of people who are getting paid, and not always for the right reasons. In this preview session will discuss what the knowledge economy is, who some of the players are, and what they do to get paid.
The course itself will be offered this fall, with more information available on our website soon. Or come to this event to learn more!
The year is 2034, and the face of terrorism has changed. No longer restricted to the limits of the physical world, the war on terror has exploded onto the net. In an attempt to confront this new threat, an elite counter-terrorism and anti-crime unit was formed: Public Security Section 9.
Two years have passed since the team's commander, Major Motoko Kusanagi, resigned from her post. After a rash of mysterious suicides, Section 9 is forced to confront the Puppeteer, a dangerous hacker with unsurpassed skills.
As their investigation of this terrorist threat takes them deeper into the bowels of a potential government conspiracy, Section 9 once again crosses paths with the Major, but is her sudden reappearance more than a coincidence, or is she somehow connected to the Puppeteer?
No one is above suspicion in this action-packed continuation of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex saga!
Note: we're starting at 8pm rather than our usual 7pm.
What is it like growing up in a world surrounded by the online world? How has technology shaped the youth of today? Has it made us a society more aware of social issues, or are we more disconnected than ever?
Three current students from the Media, Information and Technoculture program at the University of Western Ontario — who have acted as interns for Metaviews this spring — will present about their personal experiences interfacing with technology.
* Anais Chin-Bergeron on using the web in the process of pursuing humanitarian aid projects
* Blake Johnston on how personal branding has shaped our perspective of the media industry
* Laurenne Mandel on the experience of being dedicated to staying offline one day per week
Campaign School is concluding its first season after welcoming nine political celebrities to the Academy of the Impossible — and facilitating many more online and offline discussions about how to empower participation in the process.
For a final Thursday night session before a bit of a summer break, new and returning students are invited to take part in an advanced session dedicated to looking back at the semester while setting a course for the next one.
We will also talk about plans for a special event to kick off the second season.
Participation in this session is encouraged for anyone who has attended Campaign School in the past or been enthused by the related content posted online.
While the concept of sharing perspectives online originated with discussion groups, forums or blogs, the evolution of social media, open data and mobile internet has allowed for newer ways to engage with culture, government and society. Projects designed to advance that communication will be featured at the next Test the Impossible, including:
CitizenBridge.org: an online platform allowing Canadians and their elected representatives to have a conversation about issues on all levels of government.
Community Signposts: an animation project that uses interactive signage as real-world access points to empowering community information through open data and more.
Campaign.to: an all-in-one campaigning site on which anyone can launch effective, innovative and low-cost campaigns for any cause.
Barry Wellman, head of the NetLab research network at the University of Toronto, will visit the Academy of the Impossible to discuss the inspiration behind and concepts covered in Networked: The New Social Operating System, his new book co-written with Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
Daily life is connected life, its rhythms driven by endless email pings and responses, the chimes and beeps of continually arriving text messages, tweets and retweets, Facebook updates, pictures and videos to post and discuss. Our perpetual connectedness gives us endless opportunities to be part of the give-and-take of networking.
Some worry that this new environment makes us isolated and lonely. But in Networked, Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman show how the large, loosely knit social circles of networked individuals expand opportunities for learning, problem solving, decision making, and personal interaction. The new social operating system of "networked individualism" liberates us from the restrictions of tightly knit groups; it also requires us to develop networking skills and strategies, work on maintaining ties, and balance multiple overlapping networks.
Rainie and Wellman outline the "triple revolution" that has brought on this transformation: the rise of social networking, the capacity of the Internet to empower individuals, and the always-on connectivity of mobile devices. Drawing on extensive evidence, they examine how the move to networked individualism has expanded personal relationships beyond households and neighborhoods; transformed work into less hierarchical, more team-driven enterprises; encouraged individuals to create and share content; and changed the way people obtain information.
The recent reward of over $10 million in Kickstarter pledges for the Pebble e-paper watch, devised by a Canadian entrepreneur now living in Silicon Valley, was just the latest in milestones for the concept of crowdfunding. But these platforms have yet to gain the same level of traction north of the border — which may continue if a forthcoming U.S. law allowing individual investors to gain equity in a crowdfunded company is not replicated in Canada.
Several creators in Toronto have nonetheless turned to these platforms to raise money for their artistic, cultural or technology ventures. These will be looked at during a session featuring James Cooper, the director of the forthcoming short Elijah the Prophet, who has also written a guide called Kickstarter for Filmmakers. The session will also highlight some recent examples of crowdfunding projects and a chance for creators to talk about what they have thought about introducing to the market one donor at a time.
Those elected to Toronto City Council for the first time in 2010 found themselves under the media microscope more than any of their municipal politician predecessors — while the downtown councillors were also put in a position of being on the opposite side of the mayor.
Kristyn Wong-Tam has successfully navigated these circumstances and more for the past 18 months. For the next edition of Campaign School, the Ward 27 (Toronto Centre-Rosedale) representative will share details of how she ended up in this position after years of experience in both activism and entrepreneurship along with advice on how others can potentially follow in her footsteps.