Author Topic: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show  (Read 6956 times)

NoSleep

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #90 on: May 20, 2020, 09:34:56 AM »
Likewise Altered Carbon.

Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #91 on: May 20, 2020, 01:23:53 PM »
The biggest problem with the ending is introducing something like people actually becoming part of the simulation right at the end, when this has never been mentioned as a possibility before, and also the way it happens with the lift crashing into the gold bit of the machine (not sure I understand why it's possible to cause this by pressing a few buttons on the keypad either). Just feels nonsensical and magical when the rest of the show was reasonably serious and grounded once you get past the believability of what the invention does.

I could see a mile off that she was going to do something different to what they expected as well.

Alberon

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #92 on: May 20, 2020, 02:11:04 PM »
One thing that bothers me about the whole 'digitalising your consciousness' idea - which also bothered me in Westworld and a few episodes of Black Mirror - is that surely it's just a clone of your consciousness and there's no continuity between the real you and the digital you.

Lily and Forest's experience would be exactly the same whether they were reincarnated in the simulation or not - death and nothingness. It's just that new copies of them have been made that think they are the same as the original. So the Forest that worked for years to be able to be with his daughter again...never actually got to be with her. It was just a copy with the same memories. It just seems entirely pointless.

It’s odd that a lot of science fiction (both written and on screen) never deals with this issue. There is no continuity of consciousness, your mind is copied, that’s all. It might be a perfect copy, but it still isn’t you.

Altered Carbon does touch on this slightly in one of the books and in the second season. John Varley’s Eight Worlds stories does deal with this. One story has a character waking up as a clone of a murdered original, for instance.

But most don’t. The main downside to this form of immortality is rarely addressed

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #93 on: May 20, 2020, 02:35:20 PM »
Yeah, the whole idea of a simulated mind is (again) to me not much different from a tragic doppelganger narrative. You carry on living, but you do not have your CURRENT mind, therefore effectively you die.

NoSleep

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #94 on: May 20, 2020, 04:07:37 PM »
The biggest problem with the ending is introducing something like people actually becoming part of the simulation right at the end, when this has never been mentioned as a possibility before, and also the way it happens with the lift crashing into the gold bit of the machine (not sure I understand why it's possible to cause this by pressing a few buttons on the keypad either). Just feels nonsensical and magical when the rest of the show was reasonably serious and grounded once you get past the believability of what the invention does.

I could see a mile off that she was going to do something different to what they expected as well.

That moment could be the focal point for a complete further season and beyond; maybe we don't have the full picture at this stage.

Alberon

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #95 on: May 20, 2020, 04:11:00 PM »
The problem is there is now a near infinite number of parallel Lilys. Which one do you follow?

Also I think the show was conceived as a one and done show. There will be no second season.

NoSleep

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #96 on: May 20, 2020, 04:30:20 PM »
Garland says there is no plan for a second season. I might watch it all again to see if anything becomes clearer.

Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #97 on: May 20, 2020, 09:16:37 PM »
I can't even imagine how anyone would see the end of that and think "Well, there's more to that story!"

I suppose another season could focus on an entirely different set of characters based around the DEVS technology, but I reckon it's probably best left alone. Felt like they were running out of steam pretty early on as it is.

Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #98 on: May 20, 2020, 09:27:00 PM »
It’s odd that a lot of science fiction (both written and on screen) never deals with this issue. There is no continuity of consciousness, your mind is copied, that’s all. It might be a perfect copy, but it still isn’t you.

Altered Carbon does touch on this slightly in one of the books and in the second season. John Varley’s Eight Worlds stories does deal with this. One story has a character waking up as a clone of a murdered original, for instance.

But most don’t. The main downside to this form of immortality is rarely addressed

Well, isn't that sort of the point in DEVS? That there are already infinite "copies" of each of them, with infinite different outcomes, and we're just following one iteration (I don't think it's ever established or even suggested that we're looking at the base reality anyway). When they enter the simulation at the end (which is silly for other reasons), we see glimpses of other versions, but for narrative reasons we focus on the one with the relatively happy ending.

Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #99 on: May 20, 2020, 09:56:16 PM »
It’s odd that a lot of science fiction (both written and on screen) never deals with this issue. There is no continuity of consciousness, your mind is copied, that’s all. It might be a perfect copy, but it still isn’t you.

Altered Carbon does touch on this slightly in one of the books and in the second season. John Varley’s Eight Worlds stories does deal with this. One story has a character waking up as a clone of a murdered original, for instance.

But most don’t. The main downside to this form of immortality is rarely addressed
There's a video game, Soma, that does touch on this and made a decent plot device out of it.

NoSleep

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #100 on: May 21, 2020, 05:04:01 AM »
I can't even imagine how anyone would see the end of that and think "Well, there's more to that story!"

There were unanswered questions; places the story could go that were barely touched upon.

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #101 on: May 21, 2020, 08:48:32 AM »
I enjoyed the show more by the end, but the plot is absolute bollocks and the ending sucked. Garland is a far better director than writer. He can do mood and atmosphere, visuals, integrated score, play around with themes and ideas. But he can’t write a story, characters or dialogue.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #102 on: May 29, 2020, 02:48:23 PM »
Some excellent music choices for this series, indeed.

Yes, hearing the beginning of Come Out actually startled me.

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I, too enjoyed this and wonder if the story has legs for another season or more.

I was convinced that the bit with the senator at the end was to leave open the possibility of a second series, so I'm surprised to hear that there are no plans.

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #103 on: May 29, 2020, 02:54:08 PM »
So the guy outside the door (forgot his name), are we to assume he maybe saw a different future when he looked in the machine, or that he'd seen Forest's predicted future and knew that had to happen, so he had also made a choice, or was his choice then determined by Lily's?

I didn't understand this either. I think he always caused the box to fall and the implication that it was Lily firing the gun that caused it was a bit of misdirection.

But that doesn't explain why he did it. He mentioned that he had realised what it was the team had done and the implication is that he felt it had to be stopped.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #104 on: May 29, 2020, 03:02:56 PM »
Also, chalk me up as someone else who doesn't think that Lily being vacant for intentional but vague reasons worked. Mizuno is no Bowie.

That said, I thought the series was a pleasant change and a decent reply to the abject paranoia of The Matrix, a film I largely blame for much of the lunacy we've seen move from the fringes into the mainstream in recent years.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2020, 04:37:45 PM by Johnny Yesno »

Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #105 on: May 29, 2020, 04:05:44 PM »
Isn't that a fundamental question about the self that scifi explores.

I quite like how Altered Carbon manages to not explore it. Just, yeah our brains are this electronic disc now.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #106 on: May 29, 2020, 04:38:41 PM »
Isn't that a fundamental question about the self that scifi explores.

What is this question in response to?

NoSleep

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #107 on: May 29, 2020, 05:41:35 PM »
I'm not sure that what is being explored in Devs can be compared to Altered Carbon. The central idea of Devs is not to copy the contents of somebody's brain to ponder whether or not it's really the same person. The simulated characters that exist at the end of Devs are not posited as continuations of their consciousness from the "real world", although they might try to change the fate of their simulated world with their foreknowledge.

NoSleep

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #108 on: May 29, 2020, 05:48:48 PM »
If you're living in a simulated universe where you're creating a simulation of that universe, does that mean that whoever simulated your universe is also living within a simulation? Whoever controls the simulation controls the universe; hence the Devs/Deus flip.

Alberon

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #109 on: May 29, 2020, 07:47:59 PM »
I mentioned an old short story a bit upthead which does explore the concept of memory recording, copying and continuity of conciouness, or lack thereof. It's called The Phantom of Kansas by John Varley and was written way back in 1976. The author has put it up on his website.

https://varley.net/excerpt/the-phantom-of-kansas-full-text/

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #110 on: May 29, 2020, 08:14:38 PM »
The simulated characters that exist at the end of Devs are not posited as continuations of their consciousness from the "real world"

I'm confused now. I thought that's exactly what they were.

Alberon

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #111 on: May 29, 2020, 08:20:54 PM »
The show treats them as the same (even though the ones we follow are just one of a near infinite set of parallels all being simulated in the machine).

However, they are exact copies, computer predictions that take off from where the originals died, but still just copies. No continuity of conciousness.

NoSleep

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #112 on: May 29, 2020, 08:53:40 PM »
I'm confused now. I thought that's exactly what they were.

They "remember" their life up to the point of oblivion but they are simulations. If my theory about the circular nature of simulating the universe (if you create a simulation of the universe then you must also be living in a simulation) is the basis of the world in Devs then the point where everything goes fuzzy and disappears is the point where Devs breaks down and the universe is wiped out of existence.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #113 on: May 30, 2020, 10:29:46 AM »
However, they are exact copies, computer predictions that take off from where the originals died, but still just copies. No continuity of conciousness.

Oh, yes, I did realise that. I thought NoSleep meant that the simulation continued from where the original consciousness ended. And it turns out he did mean that kind of continuation. The language is tricky in a discussion on this subject.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #114 on: May 30, 2020, 10:40:28 AM »
They "remember" their life up to the point of oblivion but they are simulations.

Ah, that's what I thought. Just a language confusion.

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If my theory about the circular nature of simulating the universe (if you create a simulation of the universe then you must also be living in a simulation) is the basis of the world in Devs then the point where everything goes fuzzy and disappears is the point where Devs breaks down and the universe is wiped out of existence.

This, on the other hand, I can't follow at all. Stewart, I think, even said at one point that Devs would contain a simulation of Devs, which would contain a simulation of Devs, and so on to infinity. There's no suggestion of circularity.

But even if that wasn't the case, why 'must' the creators of a simulation be living in a simulation? There's still the possibility of living in the original universe, whatever that means.

Sin Agog

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #115 on: May 30, 2020, 10:41:24 AM »
It%u2019s odd that a lot of science fiction (both written and on screen) never deals with this issue. There is no continuity of consciousness, your mind is copied, that%u2019s all. It might be a perfect copy, but it still isn%u2019t you.

Altered Carbon does touch on this slightly in one of the books and in the second season. John Varley%u2019s Eight Worlds stories does deal with this. One story has a character waking up as a clone of a murdered original, for instance.

But most don%u2019t. The main downside to this form of immortality is rarely addressed

Loads of science fiction does address it, too.  And their answer is usually, well, we can't let a little mind-death get in the way of the shit we gotta do.  In Way Station, for example, which is about little out of the way hubs like earth where people are 3D-printed as they materialise through space, the main character's job is to get rid of the bodies after they zap to their next destination.  I think even a couple of Treks may have briefly addressed the possible consciousness-death that could theoretically occur as your atoms are disassembled and reassembled.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #116 on: May 30, 2020, 10:45:37 AM »
I think even a couple of Treks may have addressed the possible consciousness-death that could theoretically occur as your atoms are disassembled and reassembled.

Yes, in one of the lectures on my degree discussing the nature of consciousness, McCoy's fear of using the teleport was mentioned with reference to him understanding what really happens when you use one, i.e. you are completely destroyed and then an exact copy is made at the destination.

Some people talk about it here: http://m.byrnerobotics.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=20369&PN=0&TPN=1

NoSleep

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #117 on: May 30, 2020, 11:01:50 AM »
This, on the other hand, I can't follow at all. Stewart, I think, even said at one point that Devs would contain a simulation of Devs, which would contain a simulation of Devs, and so on to infinity. There's no suggestion of circularity.

But even if that wasn't the case, why 'must' the creators of a simulation be living in a simulation? There's still the possibility of living in the original universe, whatever that means.

It's why he was was so committed to simulating the exact universe he existed in (determinism) as opposed to allowing the multiple universes into Devs; to have power over this particular universe. The simulation becomes that universe.

There's no "must" here, but I think it explains the reason nothing could be seen after the date of the "incident".

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #118 on: May 30, 2020, 11:19:51 AM »
It's why he was was so committed to simulating the exact universe he existed in (determinism) as opposed to allowing the multiple universes into Devs; to have power over this particular universe. The simulation becomes that universe.

Oh, I see what you mean. Forest was wrong, though. Nevertheless, I'll have to go and have a think about what the implications would have been if he was right.

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There's no "must" here, but I think it explains the reason nothing could be seen after the date of the "incident".

That's one explanation but it's an explanation that relies on Forest's ideas being correct.

The explanation they gave in the show for the limit was that the future was uncertain beyond the point at which Lily broke the chain of determinism and therefore it couldn't be modelled. I'm not sure what I think of that, tbh.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Devs (2020) - new Alex Garland show
« Reply #119 on: May 30, 2020, 11:27:32 AM »
So, I still have two questions:

(1) Why did Stewart crash the box?

(2) Why can the simulation only be run up to the point at which Lily exercises apparent free will? (The bigger question being: on an entire planet, why is there only one example of free will during the period Devs is up and running? Is it because the only free will that mattered had to be exercised inside Devs? Why? In fact, why didn't a cat accidentally exercise free will instead? Wait a sec, is the universe human-centric?)

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