The relation between this first of two Terry Gilliam films and our first week in lab is one of mistakes. The film answers the question, What happens in a critical situation when a combination of random events leads to what we now call a "computer error"?

Orwell's famous novel is brought out in depressing detail. The film relates to our work in portraying how information can be made into power over the way people think and feel. If computers hold all history, they then can be used to alter history and dictate the future. Can it happen with the "electronic patient record"?

Arguably the best of all science fiction films, this presents for us stunning examples of a computer that can carry on diagnostic conversations with humans. It relates directly to the ups and downs of using a computer to make medical decisions using artificial intelligence provided for it by human programmers. The final trip into and back from death is an all-time classic in cinematography.

We see this film by the popular demand of previous ID-251 students who wanted a pragmatic explanation of the heavy symbolism used in 2001. It relates to our work by illustrating how politics, nationalistic intelligence, and humans can lead to a nasty combination of paradoxical events that cause an artificially intelligent device to kill, first others, and then itself.

Michael Crichton strikes home with his screen play of Robin Cook's book on organ farming for profit. At one time it was far fetched. Now, in some countries, it apparently is a reality. The film dramatizes the question of whether such base activities could be done without the massive and efficient medical record keeping done with computers in hospitals and clinics.

Michael Crichton again provokes us with a question about the reliability of robots used to service humans in pleasurable ways. Today we work with lab robots, and surgical robodocs. While these kinds of robots are successful realities, what about the next generation of devices that will be able to operate on their own, or be physicians assistants, or nurses? Will they be trustworthy? And if not, what could happen to patients placed in their care?

Being a visually stunning and imaginative portrayal of the ultimate use of virtual reality to record a near death experience, with side excursions into militaristic abuse of VR combined with lots of artificial intelligence and robotics. Natalie Wood’s last film.

You might like to read a bit about Natalie Wood. I know I did.

Time Bandits
Being a delightfully surrealistic presentation of how technology in the clever hands of mischievous or naive people leads to the fall from Grace, capture by Satan, and final rescue from eternal damnation by God in person. This film ties together all the ID251 films. It also offers up my thoughts on the dilemma of technological dominion over humans; God alone is the answer.