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J
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The #1 light hearted movie with dark moral implications

on Tuesday, March, 11, 2014 10:36 AM
Cracked put out an article of "Five Lighthearted Movies With Dark Moral Implications." They covered how Harry Potter's wizardry could cause upheaval among world religions by explaining miracles, Droid enslavement in Star Wars, James Bond rendering the Carribbean a radioactive wasteland, Midnight in Paris screwing with the timeline...

And Tron made #1

http://www.cracked.com/article_19853_5-light-hearted-movies-with-dark-moral-implications.html
#1. Tron -- If Computer Programs Are Alive, Do They Have Rights?

If the "robots are slaves and nobody cares" element of Star Wars is weird, the treatment of computer programs in the two Tron movies is infinitely weirder.

In Tron, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is a game programmer who basically gets sucked into a computer and interacts with physical embodiments of programs (one of whom is called Tron). In computerland, everything is neon lights and spandex, and programs have thoughts and feelings just like people.


Even your mom's browser toolbars are capable of friendship.

Anyway, Flynn eventually defeats the evil programs -- being a real person in the digital world gives him powers (like Neo) -- escapes the computer world and sets everything right ...

Except for all the living programs that are being tortured and killed every day all over the world, that is. He doesn't seem to care a whole lot about that.

At the beginning of the movie, we see Flynn hacking his way into the software company that stole his game ideas by using a program of his own creation [Clu 1.0] -- at the same time, we see the program in the computer world (who looks like Flynn but talks like he has Asperger's) being chased by anti-hacking spaceships, who capture, torture and kill him. He actually screams in pain as he's being deleted ... the implication being that this happens every time you use your computer.

But the characters in Tron only seem to think that this is a problem while they themselves are inside the computer having their adventures. The moment they leave, they completely ignore the fact that every program in every computer in the world is a living being capable of feeling pain. The film also implies that video games are actually some sort of cruel Roman spectacle where programs have to fight to the death: The Identity Disc battles are basically Pong seen from the point of view of the little bar ...

... and the Light Cycle matches are a game like Snake.

The movie completely ignores the ethical ramifications of all this. Sure, the programs are all eager to serve their masters, but that doesn't make their tears any less real. Not to mention that in many cases, the ones sent to the games are there against their will and only trying to survive. They're working their hardest to sweep our mines and be as angry a bird as they can, and we're deleting them to make room for more porn.

The worst part is that Flynn not only created many popular games, but also owns an arcade, making him one of the biggest genocidal killers in history (after Shigeru Miyamoto). The fact that he knew programs were alive and didn't immediately try to tell people after being released makes him at the very least a terrible person. In fact, he did the complete opposite: He became the CEO of a software company and continued creating and selling innocent programs en masse.


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It's an entire universe in there, one we created, but it's beyond us now. Really. It's outgrown us. You know, every time you shut off your computer...do you know what you're doing? Have you ever reformatted a hard drive? Deleted old software? Destroyed an entire universe?"

-- Jet Bradley, Tron: Ghost in the Machine on why being a User isn't necessarily a good thing.
 
Traahn
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RE: The #1 light hearted movie with dark moral implications

on Wednesday, March, 12, 2014 11:55 PM
Interesting, but a little over-thinking, in my opinion. The movie is only like 96 minutes long; it's not like it's going to be able to address every little point, moral or otherwise.

I prefer to just accept the journey and not worry about every little thing, like: do programs go to the bathroom, and if so, how; do they have sex, and if so, how; do they need haircuts; do they need to trim their nails; do they take a shower under a stream of binary digits every morning; are there baby/infant programs; etc. I just don't care, really. And for any other unanswered questions that I do care about, I like to use my imagination. I don't need everything answered.

I'm okay with not knowing and just accepting the ride... accepting what Lisberger is focusing on and what he wants us to focus on and think about; rather than trying to come up with fringe cases of what the story "doesn't" explain or show us, and what are the implications of that. I don't agree with focusing on twisted analyses of, "Hmm, this gap was not properly closed, therefore it is a plot issue, therefore Flynn is evil and is morally dark."

In the confines of this article, as a fun editorial analysis, it's fine... I'm okay with admitting it's possibly an issue for purposes of the article. But then I go back to: the movie is only 96 minutes long; what does one expect? I prefer the story, scenes and visuals that were shown during that 96 minutes. I wouldn't have wanted 20 minutes of that nixed or abbreviated just to show us 20 minutes of Flynn in the real world shutting down his arcade and initiating a global mandate to unplug every computer from the wall. (Wait, that would kill all the programs. I mean, a mandate to cease all file deletions and gaming, and back up every device with a universal power supply.) Regarding the moral issue at large, what Lisberger tries to show us (and what I've always accepted) is that Flynn is a fun-loving, caring person who would not be one for program genocide; nor would he be someone who would maliciously throw his friends under the bus, as a previous thread aimed to make us think he would do.

I disagree with this observation made in the article:

But the characters in Tron only seem to think that this is a problem while they themselves are inside the computer having their adventures. The moment they leave, they completely ignore the fact that every program in every computer in the world is a living being capable of feeling pain.

The moment "Flynn" leaves (not "they," by the way), the next scene (after a printer page view and Dillinger going away) is literally him flying onto a helipad and happily greeting Alan and Lora, and then the credits roll. It is not shown in the movie whether or not "Flynn" ignores every program as a living being. We simply don't know. We can infer what happened, sure, but that's different than saying Flynn for sure "ignored the fact that every program in every computer in the world is a living being capable of feeling pain." That's stretching things a little.

I guess if you take Tron Legacy into account and the related retconned stories (which I didn't feel the author was trying to do at this point), sure, there's more of a leg to stand on there. But then I just go back to: it's over-thinking things. If this is going to be a new alarmist philosophy that everyone is concerned about (I'm not saying you are, "J"), then we might as well kill the franchise off now because it will forever be a moral issue. You can't have a legit Tron movie without humans using computers and playing video games; sorry. And if we take into consideration the past thread where folks are already over-thinking Flynn, in a constructive criticism way, and painting him as some evil guy, well, then it's just, "Game over, man."

Flynn's no villain.


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I'm getting out of here right now, and you guys are invited. -----^
 
KingJ.exe
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Posts: 371
RE: The #1 light hearted movie with dark moral implications

on Thursday, March, 13, 2014 5:13 PM
Agreed with everything above, but even continuing into Legacy, there are some things that are being missed.

First, the Games are implied to have been really just for fun prior to the MCP's twisting them for his own purposes. I believe that implication came out in the Original Film as well, although it may just be me looking at the franchise as a whole.

Next, Flynn 'got' the programs are people too message, somewhat. It's why he started work on a system specifically designed to bring programs and Users together in the digital realm. Now, I put 'got' in quotes because he missed some of it. He didn't regard the programs as equals, but as something sub-human. Like a dog or a cat. They were almost pets, until we get to Legacy where he's been trapped for twenty years (approx. 1000 percieved years on the Grid) and he really understood better what he had done in treating them as inferiors.

It wasn't malicious, he was trying to be a "benevolent god," to borrow the words of a certain green-clothed villain from a recent movie, and by the end of Legacy he realized that he couldn't.

All this just to say that Flynn got the idea at the end of the first film somewhat. Not as fully as he should have, of course, but he didn't start yanking power cables from computer systems because he wanted to bring a union of these two worlds into being.

He just went about it the wrong way.

You shoulda told someone, man. Or left sealed instructions or something at least.


Ironic that such a visionary had such a lack of foresight.buy viagra onlinehttp://www.bilimselbilisim.com/haberler_detay.aspx?id=42 viagra online

Everybody go join End of Line, an awesome TRON Roleplay forum! http://troneol.b1.jcink.com/index.php?
 
Traahn
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Posts: 3,191
RE: The #1 light hearted movie with dark moral implications

on Friday, March, 14, 2014 12:04 AM
KingJ.exe wrote: First, the Games are implied to have been really just for fun prior to the MCP's twisting them for his own purposes.
Oh yeah, interesting point. The MCP did bring a change for the worse, so maybe we're supposed to believe games didn't use to be to the death. Perhaps they even state it somewhere.

Not the best quotes/evidence below, since Ram is an actuarial program and Crom is a compound interest program (both of which seem new to the Game Grid), but maybe a little helpful in deciding whether or not there was program death on the grid prior to the MCP...

RAM:
"That's what you're doing here. Master Control Program's been snapping up all us programs who believe...if he thinks you're useful, he takes over all your functions so he gets bigger... and if he can't use you, he sends you down here to the Game Grid to get the bits blasted outta you."

CROM:
"It's murder out there. You can't even travel around your own microcircuits without permission from the Master Control Program."
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I'm getting out of here right now, and you guys are invited. -----^
 
Kat
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Posts: 2,346
RE: The #1 light hearted movie with dark moral implications

on Friday, March, 14, 2014 11:26 PM
Traahn Wrote:I prefer to just accept the journey and not worry about every little thing, like: do programs go to the bathroom, and if so, how; do they have sex, and if so, how; do they need haircuts; do they need to trim their nails; do they take a shower under a stream of binary digits every morning; are there baby/infant programs; etc. I just don't care, really. And for any other unanswered questions that I do care about, I like to use my imagination. I don't need everything answered.

I daresay this is more of a problem for writers and RPers, who might need to explain how these various things function to make a plot point work.


Traahn Wrote:Regarding the moral issue at large, what Lisberger tries to show us (and what I've always accepted) is that Flynn is a fun-loving, caring person who would not be one for program genocide; nor would he be someone who would maliciously throw his friends under the bus, as a previous thread aimed to make us think he would do.

I've always seen Flynn as one of those guys who's not that responsible... he may have fun, but he's not the type who thinks about how his actions impact others. He may not maliciously throw his friends under the bus, but it may happen anyway because he just blithely goes along his own way and never looks around to see what effect he's having on other people, like that personon the street who has blinders on and drives a straight line down the middle of the road and doesn't notice people leaping out of their way, etc. He would probably be astonished to learn that he inconveniences other people. But that doesn't mean he doesn't, or that it's A-OK.


But really? Once I knew what was going on in there, I'd have a hell of a time deleting a program ever again, or loading it down until it gets sluggish, or letting it run until it crashes, or not updating my system, etc. i don't know how you could NOT think of that.



KingJ.exe Wrote:They were almost pets, until we get to Legacy where he's been trapped for twenty years (approx. 1000 percieved years on the Grid) and he really understood better what he had done in treating them as inferiors.

I'm still not convinced he EVER really "got" it (see: Tronzler)... but I think he at least started to realize what he did to Clu.
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What do you want? I'm busy.


Program, please!


Chaos.... good news.
 
Traahn
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Posts: 3,191
RE: The #1 light hearted movie with dark moral implications

on Saturday, March, 15, 2014 2:19 AM
Kat Wrote:I daresay this is more of a problem for writers and RPers, who might need to explain how these various things function to make a plot point work.
I agree. Writers should probably have some extra stuff charted out (though, probably not so much the examples I gave), to help with understanding the universe. Although, I don't know what an RPer is A role-player?

Like for Neverending Story III, if you ever had the displeasure of seeing that movie... I don't think the writers for the first movie (part I) should have felt the need to chart out what Rock Biter's baby would look or act like if he had a kid, or what type of family life Rock Biter would have, including if they watched TV and if his wife was domesticated. That'd be a little left-field; quite beyond what is needed for the universe. Sadly, Neverending Story III decided to approach those subjects... which resulted in facepalm.

If Tron sequels ever approach the subjects of bathroom habits, haircuts, nail trimming or showers, I will similarly facepalm.

Kat Wrote: I've always seen Flynn as one of those guys who's not that responsible... he may have fun, but he's not the type who thinks about how his actions impact others. He may not maliciously throw his friends under the bus, but it may happen anyway because he just blithely goes along his own way and never looks around to see what effect he's having on other people... He would probably be astonished to learn that he inconveniences other people. But that doesn't mean he doesn't, or that it's A-OK.
What do you have against Jeff Bridges? Lol, just kidding


Kat Wrote: But really? Once I knew what was going on in there, I'd have a hell of a time deleting a program ever again, or loading it down until it gets sluggish, or letting it run until it crashes, or not updating my system, etc. i don't know how you could NOT think of that.
No doubt. I think one of the takeaways from the film for me is that it is something you think about, albeit not in any serious way. Even though you know it's not real, it still is a thought that has crossed my mind...as the movie 'makes you wonder.' Sort of like when you're a kid and watch Star Wars, you wonder if you have Jedi powers to move things with your mind.

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I'm getting out of here right now, and you guys are invited. -----^
 
CardioFunk
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Posts: 19
RE: The #1 light hearted movie with dark moral implications

on Saturday, March, 15, 2014 7:21 AM
I figured that the programs in the Grid had their own AI making them self aware. A system like that would upgrade itself and recover from it's own errors, although sometimes making new ones.

But the morals here to me are only against AI programs like the ones seen in the movies. I have no qualms about deleting any software that would never think high enough wonder about its purpose in the world.buy viagra onlinehttp://www.bilimselbilisim.com/haberler_detay.aspx?id=42 viagra onlineabortion pills how does abortion pill work medical abortion pill online


 
Argent
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Posts: 273
RE: The #1 light hearted movie with dark moral implications

on Sunday, March, 16, 2014 3:33 PM
The biggest problem I have with this reading of Flynn as callous and self-absorbed with respect to his creations is that it misses (or deliberately ignores) the implications of the movies.

Tron establishes that programs see Users as deities. Their thoughts on Users parallel mainstream views of God and religion. Users are omnipotent, unknowable beings who are meant to be obeyed, and are assumed to have a master plan for all creation. Yet we see that on our level of reality, Users are just average folks, and that grand and unknowable "master plan" amounts to nothing more than people using computers for mundane daily tasks. One of the big implications of this (and it's an especially subversive one to find in a Disney movie!) is that our deities may be nothing more than Users in the next universe up from ours, just muddling through each day like we are. While we console ourselves with the thought that senseless tragedies may be part of some greater plan we can't understand, that "plan" may amount to nothing more than someone needing to free up some space on his hard drive.

So the question is, What kind of a relationship should a god have with his creations? Should he be expected to treat them as equals? Do the gods of our religions treat us that way? So I don't think it reflects poorly on Flynn if he doesn't. Flynn's a coder, and programs in Tron are anthropomorphized computer code. On one level, he sees them as people, but on another, he's always going to be aware of them as made things. They're constructs whose inner workings he understands intimately, ones he can create, modify or delete at will. They exist because he willed it, and their only purpose is to perform whatever tasks he's created them for. (And if they perform below his expectations, that's a reflection on his skill as a coder - as a creator.)

So to my mind, it's not arrogant of Flynn to see himself as existing on a plane above that of his creations. It's the literal truth. Nor can I fault him (or any other User, really) for not backing away from computers once he realized what goes on "inside" them on a daily basis. We still need to use computers in our world, so programs need to do their thing. This means that they're going to be created and destroyed, sometimes quite horribly, for reasons that might seem incredibly banal to them, if they were capable of grasping our level of existence. And that's okay. Creation and destruction, events moving at the hand of unseen and unknowable forces - it's a fact of their existence, just as some have argued that it's a fact of our own. The fact that Flynn recognizes that the company email needs to go out and the hard drive needs defragging, and puts those things - mundane things from the "god world" - ahead of the convenience of beings that were created specifically to do those things doesn't make him a callous and indifferent god.

(And it's also worth noting that Flynn's relationship with the ISOs, code entities no human had a hand in creating, is distinctly different. Flynn sees himself as the god of things-I-made, and shows something almost like reverence towards these beings that came into existence without his help. Even his attitude towards Tron, a program he didn't have a personal hand in creating, seems a bit less cavalier. I attribute that to a few things - their shared experiences, the way he sees echoes of Alan in Tron, and the simple fact that the Tron program is not thing-I-made for Flynn.)

This isn't to say that Flynn didn't make mistakes (boy, did he!) or that he couldn't have handled certain things far better (Dyson's face comes to mind). There's no arguing that the man had his flaws, but his overall approach to programs in the "computer realm" isn't one of them, IMO.buy viagra onlinehttp://www.bilimselbilisim.com/haberler_detay.aspx?id=42 viagra online


 
J
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Posts: 247
RE: The #1 light hearted movie with dark moral implications

on Sunday, March, 16, 2014 7:40 PM
This universe is just dying for an Alan Moore (Watchmen) or Chris Avellone (Knights of the Old Republic II) style deconstruction. Mercilessly pull a bunch of loose threads, watch it all fall apart, and then very carefully see if it can be put together .

Some ugly implications to think of on that universe:

1. Discovering we created not just an artificial life form, but a whole damn civilization? And we're the Gods there? That would trash our understanding of "science, medicine, religion." It would be all too easy to picture religious violence, fatwas, Vatican statements, new readings of the Talmud. It would be WORSE than finding alien life in the universe.

2, Cyberterrorism and cyberwarfare are already a nasty new way for countries to wage war on each other and on their own citizens (just look at Wikileaks). Now, we just added a whole new world to fight over. Worse, a world where we get unlimited power!

3. Our history of colonialism and imperialism. What does humanity always do with a new frontier? Make peace? Learn? Hell no. We send a shitload of mercenaries, enslave/kill/exploit the natives, strip anything we deem "useful" (usually natural resources) and use what we looted to dominate our rivals. The DataWraiths are EXACTLY what governments and corporations would do. The Shiva laser would be a weapon of war that makes John Sheridan's nuke arsenal pale by comparison.

4. One malicious user can destroy entire companies, entire civilizations, invade the open Internet, and threaten the whole of cyberspace. Thorne caused massive damage. Jet condemned at least two servers and thousands of lives trying to stop Thorne and F-Con. You think some jerk on a power trip won't find the idea of godhood way too appealing?

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It's an entire universe in there, one we created, but it's beyond us now. Really. It's outgrown us. You know, every time you shut off your computer...do you know what you're doing? Have you ever reformatted a hard drive? Deleted old software? Destroyed an entire universe?"

-- Jet Bradley, Tron: Ghost in the Machine on why being a User isn't necessarily a good thing.
 
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