Guillermo del Toro will be directing The Hobbit.

Guillermo del Toro has officially signed up to direct The Hobbit, according to reports leaking out from a film premiere in France. The Pan’s Labyrinth creator will oversee a double-bill of films based on JRR Tolkien’s fantasy adventure, which paved the way for The Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson, director of the Oscar-winning Rings trilogy, will serve as executive producer.

Interesting choice. I can actually see this being better than if Jackson was directing, in some ways.

P.S. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles — best new show of the 07/08 tv season? I love me some Pushing Daisies, but Sarah Connor is actual science fiction, so I am biased towards it. Particularly when they have John Connor mention the singularity.

14 thoughts on “Ooh

  1. Terminator: TSCC showrunner Josh Friedman also mentions reading Alastair Reynolds on his blog: extra geek cred.

    Though I think we will need 8 episodes of T:TSCC to compare to PD for a fair analysis.

  2. I’ve been holding my breath since I heard this rumor a few days ago, hoping it’d turn out to be true. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I couldn’t quite love Pan’s Labyrinth because its fantasy segments felt underdone. I think marrying del Toro’s visual sensibility to a stronger story is a really, really good idea.

    Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles — best new show of the 07/08 tv season?

    Potentially? Maybe, though it’d take a lot to top Pushing Daisies. But three episodes in the show still hasn’t produced a genuinely good hour, and the characters are still a little unformed. It could turn out to be a great show, but it’s not there yet.

    Also, I’m not going to call anything science fiction whose writers are still peddling the fallacy that game-playing machines are a stepping stone to passing the Turing test.

  3. My disgust at the idea of these movies has turned into delicious anticipation.

    I read a comment somewhere that if Peter Jackson were to direct The Hobbit, it would end up being all about the Battle of the Five Armies, and I couldn’t agree more. There is so much more to Tolkien than battle scenes. I’m relieved that Jackson won’t direct and that the mantle was passed to someone as brilliant as Del Toro.

  4. the fallacy that game-playing machines are a stepping stone to passing the Turing test.

    This seems to be axiomatic to the idea of the singularity; the singularity is sort of like time travel in the way it gets classified as SF.

    John Connor definitely took a very singularitarian approach when he tried to estimate the sophistication of the chess-playing machine based on how much cooling it required. It’s the “if it runs as hot as a human brain, then it must be as powerful as a human brain” style of analysis.

  5. But John’s description of the singularity is the point at which machines become intelligent (and creative, though he left that part out) enough to create other machines. Chess playing doesn’t lead to that point because it’s not just processing power that’s the issue. Most computers have a great deal more processing power than humans, which is why they can beat us at chess, but intelligence, actual human intelligence, doesn’t enter into it.

  6. it’s not just processing power that’s the issue.

    I agree with you, but I think most singularity believers would not. They believe that chess-playing programs are a stepping stone to passing the Turing test, and that heat output is an indicator of intelligence. But there are lots of tropes that we classify as SFnal even though they have little or no basis in science, and the singularity is one of them.

  7. Imani: Cuaron would have been good, but I think for The Hobbit I do prefer Del Toro.

    Abigail: See, I think all three episodes have been good so far. As for the Turk, it seemed fairly clear that it was the way it had been programmed that was affecting its results as much as the raw processing power, hence its “moods”.

    Nick: But you’ve got to ask yourself, if no-one else on the internet wants a piece of that action, just how far from the pack have you strayed? :p

    Graham: yes, you see where in the bit I quoted it mentions a double-bill of films?

  8. I’ll take a piece of that action, Nick. I don’t think Chuck is better than Pushing Daisies, but it’s certainly as good as The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

    Niall, I guess I just know a little too much (which, for the record, isn’t very much at all) about how computers work to take the notion of a Turing machine with moods very seriously, or as anything but the work of someone who knows nothing about the field. I don’t even think there’s any innovative work being done in chess as a field of AI. The big thing back when I was in university was Go.

  9. Fair enough. The biochemistry hand-waving in episode three was detailed enough to show the writers had actually done some research, and delivered with enough elan that it sounded ok until you stopped to think about it; I assumed the same would be true of the comp-sci hand-waving, since that was more integral to the show. Out of interest, are you saying artificial intelligence as it is commonly portrayed (ie a computer that has independent thoughts) is fundamentally impossible? (Which if you’re being strict would make an awful lot of contemporary sf not sf any more…)

  10. are you saying artificial intelligence as it is commonly portrayed (ie a computer that has independent thoughts) is fundamentally impossible?

    Yes and no. I don’t believe that the Turing machine can allow for comprehension and awareness. The thing about game-playing machines is that, when you strip away the mystique that surrounds games like chess, all they’re doing is what computers do best – making difficult calculations very very fast. If you look at a field that’s closer to human intelligence, like computerized translation, you’ll find that even the most sophisticated models can’t match a human translator, because ultimately computers need a rigidly defined set of rules to guide their actions, and human language can’t be described that precisely – it requires understanding.

    On the other hand, some of the most interesting work in artificial intelligence seeks to emulate not human behavior but that of simple animals – insects or birds. You can emulate swarm behavior very accurately with robots. If there’s ever going to be a machine capable of ‘thinking’ independently, I think it’ll be the successor to these experiments, and thus nothing like Cameron or the Terminator.

    (I should stress that I’m not much more than an informed layman. I took a couple of classes in school but I haven’t kept up with the field since then.)

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