Saturday, September 08, 2018

"Ready Player One" redux

A very interesting analysis of "Ready Player One" by Canadian vlogger Just Write, whom I've cited before re: the "The Hobbit" movies:

And although I don't watch much Cinema Sins anymore—mainly because it's too smug, and many of the sins aren't really sins—I found that critic's takedown of "Ready Player One" interesting for the holes he pokes in the story's handling of the properties and potential of cyberspace, e.g., the idea that, in the movie, people have to line up to use teleportation portals when, in actual cyberspace, there'd be no need to line up for anything.

In cyberspace, things can move infinitely faster in parallel since nothing needs to occur in series. And when you focus on just that one major distinction between cyberspace and the real world, you begin to realize how much untapped potential Spielberg & Co. missed out on. Widen your horizon from that single difference to the myriad other differences between cyberspace and our regular, three-dimensional meatspace, and you begin to realize that an adventure in cyberspace would look like nothing our current brains could truly understand (consider: a computer can construct a 6-dimensional universe and make it possible for your character to move through it because such spaces are mathematically possible even if not conceivable by the human brain), and you'd need time to figure out what, exactly, was going on before you'd be ready to go adventuring in 6-D space.* I hinted at this problem in my review of "Ready Player One"—to wit, the fact that the denizens of the Oasis don't do or contribute much that seems creative, consistent with the theme of untapped potential.

Anyway, I found the above two videos, both of which are critical of "Ready Player One," to make for interesting viewing. If you have a few minutes, check them out.

*You may recall Carl Sagan's explanation of dimensions in which each successively higher dimension is "at right angles to" the immediately lower dimension. Take a one-dimensional line, put it at right angles to itself, and now you've defined a two-dimensional plane: flat space. Take a two-dimensional plane, put it at right angles to itself, and now you've defined a three-dimensional space (with eight octants). Take the x-y-z-axes of three-dimensional space, put them at right angles to themselves, and you've got 4-D space. But at this point, your brain can't imagine what that looks like, right? Same deal with cyberspace: a computer can plausibly mathematically render a cyberspace avatar's "motion" through 4-D or 6-D space, but your brain won't be able to process exactly what's going on except in the most rudimentary of terms. (Well... that's true of my brain, anyway.)

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