Hello dear web surfer,

Welcome to 2017! The update of your browser is too old to display a correct and complete version of the POPOUT website that is optimized for the latest versions of web browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer from version 10). Please update your browser to experience all the features of the magazine and live with us an outstanding experience ;)

The Orange Pop team

Hi! Orange Pop news are now online on orange.com
with some hot stuff to read
See you there ;)

orange.com
en fr Search Menu
This week's feature

Orwell Was Right

“Big Brother is watching you.”

Whether or not you’ve read George Orwell’s 1984, you’ve definitely heard these famous words. Big Brother, an all-knowing, all-seeing cyber-surveillance system, is so familiar that many don’t realize it’s the invention of British novelist George Orwell, from way back in… 1949! Fast-forward to 2017: data security, freedom of speech, freedom of electronic information are front-burner issues. More on this in an excellent article by our colleagues at RSE (French advocates for Socially Responsible Commerce).

Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Stumble
  • Mail
  • Fermer

Prescient sci-fi books, films, comics, and video games have predicted many of the gadgets and phenomena that today are just part of our normal lives. This week, Orange Pop’s mag86, Orwell Was Right, is all about how sci-fi’s futuristic visions of yesterday became our world today.

  1. David Bowie predicts the Internet revolution
  2. The Simpsons’ amazing predictions
  3. 3 questions to Agnès Marcetteau, Director at the Jules Verne Museum
  4. You, too, can become Big Brother
  5. Who keeps the robots in line?
  6. Warren Ellis, the eccentric writer who gave us Transmetropolitan
  7. TOP 5 Things the series Black Mirror correctly forecast
  8. 1984: Orwell’s novel is trending on Amazon
  9. Being invisible will (soon) no longer be a super power
  10. Robots: future citizens of planet Earth
  11. Star Trek predicted smart glasses
  12. When technology surpasses Bellamy’s 1887 credit card predictions

Fasten your seatbelts, destination pop culture!

As seminal sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov remarked:

Today’s science fiction is tomorrow’s science fact.

David Bowie predicts the Internet revolution

Music - February 01, 2017

The world-renowned musician, visionary, and fashion icon David Bowie was that rare artist: a man ahead of his time. One of his most astonishing premonitions was the Internet boom. Back in the ‘90s, during the Web’s infancy, Bowie got the scale and the scope of the upcoming revolution. His 1996 single Telling Lies was an Internet-only release, a marketing coup that netted him sales of 300,000 copies of the song.

In 1998, he took it a step further. Wanting “to invest in the Web,” Bowie sold bonds against future royalties, raising a sweet 30 million dollars, which he immediately reinvested in his own Internet provider: Bowienet. For $19.95 a month, fans got exclusive content (songs, videos, photos). And subscribers could create their own website and enhance it by importing Bowie tunes and videos. He dreamed up social media way before MySpace and Facebook!

A year later, during an interview with the BBC, Bowie described his vision of the music industry’s future. He foresaw the end of the artist/audience separation – a new era of direct contact between bands and fans. Right you were, David: with Twitter and Instagram, you can tweet Beyoncé or like a photo on Rihanna’s account!

David Bowie – Telling Lies (an Internet-only release in 1996)

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

Playlist for the futuristic city

Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Stumble
  • Mail
  • Fermer

The Simpsons’ amazing predictions

The infographic - February 01, 2017

The Simpsons predicted the election of Donald Trump and a fair number of technological innovations that are now household items. Here’s a sampling of Simpson fortune-telling:

infographic-simpsons-predictions-innovation-technologies-series

 

ELSEWHERE ON ORANGE POP

Infographic: 5 of sci-fi cinema’s coolest modes of transport

Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Stumble
  • Mail
  • Fermer

3 questions to Agnès Marcetteau, Director and Curator at the Jules Verne Museum, in Nantes

The 3 questions - February 01, 2017

Agnès Marcetteau, Director and Curator at the Jules Verne Museum, in Nantes, is an expert on Verne’s 62 novels, known as the Extraordinary Voyages. She shared insights on this visionary master of the adventure novel.

Orange Pop: Jules Verne is one of science-fiction’s pioneers. This visionary genius’s masterpieces include Voyage to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, and 20,000 leagues Under the Sea. How did he come up with these stories and those extraordinary machines?

Agnès Marcetteau: Jules Verne is first and foremost an author who imagines future worlds, so he’s one of the ancestors of the 20th century’s science-fiction movement. The first sci-fi writers and filmmakers, especially Orson Wells, cite him as their spiritual father,. Jules Verne got his inspiration from contemporary scientific research and technologies, altering and enhancing them for his stories. The submarine is a good example. He didn’t invent it, but he souped up the Nautilus so it almost resembles modern day nuclear subs.

O. Pop: What did Jules Verne think of progress?

AM: The general public views him as a champion of progress. But when you dig into his works, you start to see a more nuanced opinion. Jules Verne highlights the benefits of progress but ponders its dangers, too. For example, while he portrays the conquest of space as a magnificent adventure, he describes natural landscapes that have been ravaged by industry. Throughout his stories he advocates environmental protection and warns against the dangers of pillaging Earth’s resources.

O. Pop: Do you think man has surpassed the visions Jules Verne dreamed up?

AM: Where Jules Verne remains a relevant visionary is in his environmental awareness and his understanding of our fragile ecosystems. As far as technology is concerned, his wildest inventions have long been surpassed. Mankind has either already made them or his conception was erroneous and hence a dead end. But insofar as a visionary who stretched the imaginations of whole generations, Jules Verne is as relevant as ever. His inspirational force is still very powerful.

Jules Verne with the projectile train for the moon & the Nautilus

Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Stumble
  • Mail
  • Fermer

You, too, can become Big Brother

A picture says it all - February 01, 2017

It seems the imaginary world George Orwell described in his cult book 1984 (way back in 1949) has come true. Not only have many of his predictions come to pass (mass surveillance, artificial intelligence, big data, information overload…), but they are also enshrined in a video game that reflects the world today. In November 2016 the German studio Osmotic released Orwell, a PC game whose title says it all.

The premise is simple: in the wake of terrorist attacks on an imaginary city, the government of The Nation authorizes vigilante good guys (players) to use “Orwell software,” an on-line espionage interface that lets players spy on citizens. This software enables players to snag the attackers by hacking networks, peeking into email, tapping phones, dropping in on chat rooms, searching personal computers, and pirating the municipal video-surveillance feeds.

You gather data, analyze it, then investigate shady characters. Careful not to mistake innocent civilians for miscreants: you could ruin the life of a perfectly nice person. And what if, under the mantle of civil protection and public safety, the Orwell software were conducting nefarious plots?

Orwell is a new kind of game that’s very much in sync with the times, and what’s more, it forces players to consider the pros and cons of mass surveillance and the misuse of new technologies. The player of this game isn’t an adventurer or a victim, she’s the one who controls a system which can spy into every single life. Instead of “Big Brother is watching you,” it’s now, “You are Big Brother.”

Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Stumble
  • Mail
  • Fermer

Who keeps the robots in line?

The killer question - February 01, 2017

In the 1930s, when most of science-fiction accounts of robots were of the Frankenstein variety (an uncontrollable robot who kills his creator), author Isaac Asimov saw the potential benefits of robots for mankind. In 1942, following discussions with writer John W Campbell, Asimov came up with 3 laws to govern robotics, including them in his short story Runaround:

  1. Robots must not harm human beings, nor refuse aide to a human in danger;
  2. Robots must obey all orders issued by human beings, except those that flout the first law;
  3. Robots must defend themselves by all available means unless that jeopardizes compliance with the first or second law.

Later, in the books entitled Foundation and Earth (1986) and Prelude to Foundation (1988), the author added another law – the zero law: “Robots may not harm humanity in any way, nor, by their failure to act, allow a danger to threaten humanity.”

Proving that science-fiction predicts and influences reality, in 2007 South Korea drafted “The Robot Ethics Charter,” aimed at preventing robots from abusing humans and visa-versa. The charter was inspired by state-sponsored European research on robotics as well as by the four laws established by Isaac Asimov 65 years ago. More recently, celeb engineer/entrepreneur Elon Musk, teamed up with astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, to create a non-profit R&D lab called OpenAI. Its mission: develop artificial intelligence that benefits mankind and is guided by moral considerations: You can sense the guiding hand of Asimov, who just happens to be… the favorite author of

loi-robotique-film-irobot-danger-robot-john-campbell

In the film I, Robot, the laws of robotics guarantee human safety © IMDB

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

Shines at parties: Vocoder’s precursor was a gadget with a straw

Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Stumble
  • Mail
  • Fermer

Warren Ellis, the eccentric writer who gave us Transmetropolitan

Who's who - February 01, 2017

warren-ellis-scenariste-futuriste-bande-dessinee-cyberpunk-prediction-popculture

Warren Ellis, maestro of cyberpunk comics © J. Longo

Literature and cinema are ideal media for science-fiction, but author Warren Ellis discovered another vehicle that’s perfect for sci-fi: comics. Of all his books, Transmetropolitan is his crowning achievement. Throughout the 60 issues published from 1997 to 2002, gonzo journalist Spider Jerusalem, avatar of the one-and-only Hunter S. Thompson, chronicles the myriad abuses of power in his futuristic postcyberpunk city. Injustice and corruption flourish in a city drowning in information pollution, personalized advertisements, floating road signs and wall-sized screens. It’s a vision of sensory overload that looks a lot like Beijing, Tokyo, New York, Stockholm, and Shanghai… And Warren Ellis saw it coming, 20 years ago.

He made plenty of other predictions, too. In an issue published in 1997, Spider Jerusalem even wrote an article by using a series of tweets. His signature colored glasses have a built-in camera, so he can film and photograph whatever he’s looking at. He’s got a 3-D printer at his pad for making whatever the wily reporter needs.

Our intrepid reporter rubs shoulders with humanoids, robots, mutants, and humans endowed with enhanced technologies. Transmetropolitan is the vision of a cloud-based society where transhumanism and cryonics are the new normal, where science-fiction is reality: a reality that now faces scientists and citizens alike.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Stumble
  • Mail
  • Fermer

TOP 5 Things the series Black Mirror correctly forecast

Gimme 5 - February 01, 2017

Darkly satirical, this British series portrays the anomalies and excesses that new technologies could bring on. Robotics, AI, virtual reality, Pokemon Go… Black Mirror addresses them all; sometimes they get praise, more often, they get a thrashing 🙂

1. Be Right Back (S2 – EP1, 2014): Resurrection via artificial intelligence

Fiction: following the death of her companion, Martha creates an avatar of the deceased, using his cloud content. The app generates conversations from Martha’s boyfriend and she even has a 3-D corporal semblance of him made, an android tailored into a copy of the dearly departed.

Reality: firms like Calico and Hanson Robotics have developed robotics systems and artificial intelligence. Replika even offers you the ability to create and educate your own AI by conversing with it on-line.

2. Playstest (S3 – EP2, 2016): virtual reality

Fiction: to bankroll his trip around the world, a young man agrees to test a new enhanced-reality video game that’s uploaded straight to his brain. Let’s just say the experience was unforgettable…

Reality: some of the heavyweight studios are already on it, offering total immersion in artificial worlds that seem real. A studio called Asobo, with the help of Microsoft’s HoloLens headsets, has developed astonishingly realistic cyber worlds.

3. The Entire History Of You (S1 – Ep3, 2011): bionic eyes that see all

Fiction: a young out-of-work lawyer suspects his wife is cheating on him. He gets a microchip implant and buys some bionic contact lenses so he can film, file, and view the entire adultery investigation.

Reality: the failure of Google Glass is just a momentary hitch. Just look at the enthusiasm for smart glasses by ODG and Vuzix, digitally connected bionic lenses by Google and Samsung, and the eyeborg system by cyborg artist Niel Harbisson.

4. White Bear (S2 – Ep2, 2013): frontier justice, PoGo-style

Fiction: a young woman has lost her memory and wakes up in a dodgy house. When she leaves the house, people track her, filming her with their smartphones. The hunt is on.

Reality: the episode is a critique of our mania for filming everything that moves, the omnipresence of smartphones, and extremes like nomophobia (smartphone addiction). There are also several parallels with worldwide trends like the video game Pokemon Go during the summer of 2016.

5. Nosedive (S3 – Ep1): the cut-throat ratings craze

Fiction: in a society where ratings drive consumers, Lacie tries to get the apartment of her dreams. It’s a ratings war that spins out of control.

Reality: the series denounces the race for favorable ratings, as well as the technological enabling that allows us to grade anything and everything, anywhere, all the time: food delivery services, taxi rides, apartment rentals, restaurants, you name it

Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Stumble
  • Mail
  • Fermer

1984 : Orwell’s novel is trending on Amazon

Stories - February 01, 2017

Originally published in 1949, George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, is often quoted as having the most accurately predicted the 21st century.

The most famous prediction of all is “Big Brother” : the fact that governments keep constant tabs on the population (now thanks to mobile devices). Back in 2013, when Snowden leaked US surveillance documents, people were so worried and concerned to know what would happen next that 1984‘s sales rocketed!

Recently, the British publishing house Penguin Books has experienced the same unexpected rise, and has planned 75 000 copies (and not the usual 36 000) for the coming year. Why? 1984 is trending again on Amazon in the USA!

CNN put Donald Trump’s presidential election as the first reason for this. But, if it is so, his senior adviser Kellyanne Conway’s interview on NBC should come second. She talks about “alternative facts” instead of “falsehoods”. This slight change is a direct reference to Orwell’s idea of “Newspeak” – the fact that politics engage in euphemisms and political correctness because they are both persuasive and pervasively derided. Terms are sometimes so ridiculous that George Carlin even made a sketch out of it 😉

Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Stumble
  • Mail
  • Fermer

Being invisible will (soon) no longer be a superpower

Stories - February 02, 2017

What if you could be invisible for a day? Sounds unreal right! Well not for long… 😉

Just like with time travel, Humans have always been fascinated by the idea of being invisible – to disappear, enjoy life, and who knows maybe save the world while you’re at it! Considering that your imagination is the limit, it quickly became an endless source of inspiration for writers such as Plato and the Marvel genius Stan Lee.

It has also become a recurrent theme in sci-fi films and series, since The Invisible Man’s first film adaptation in 1933: The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland (the invisible Cheshire cat), Hollow Man, and – more recently – the first VR scripted TV Show Invisible.

Has science caught up with our imagination? Well, so far, the University of Rochester has pinned down the « how » (what technology will make it possible), and the US army has been working on invisible outfits for its soldiers.

But lately two universities have published findings on how to reach invisibility. On the one hand, researchers at the Public University of Navarre have developed the concept of « bending light » to « work around difficulties » – giving the illusion of being invisible. MIT researchers, on the other hand, have developed an invisible soft robot fish claw.

We ­can’t see it, but invisibility is close!

Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Stumble
  • Mail
  • Fermer

Robots: future citizens of planet Earth

Stories - February 03, 2017

We often say that Dog is Man’s best friends, but we might have to rephrase the saying with the word “Robot“…

The idea of making our lives easier with technology, and to further extent with robots, has always been on our minds. But coexisting with them as equals is a whole other matter!

As of 1927, with the release of the sci-fi classic Metropolis, coexisting with robots became a foreseeable future. Harrison Ford in Blade Runner, and later Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator, depict it a hazardous scenario. Star Wars, on the contrary, shows that robots and humans can live in harmony (C3PO, K2SO 😉 ).

Although we may not have yet reached the final stage of coexistence, there is no denying that science is getting a little closer every day! We are so close that politicians have even started discussing what juridical personality robots will have.

Apple is upgrading Siri’s AI voice, Boston Dynamics are working on smoother operating robots, RoboThespian are creating human-like “charisma droids”… Soon we’ll be able to have a thoughtful dialogue and walk with an emotional android – like Arthur (Michael Sheen’s character) in Passengers 😉

Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Stumble
  • Mail
  • Fermer

Star Trek predicted smart glasses

Stories - February 06, 2017

1966: Star Trek aired for the first time. 6 TV shows, 13 films, hundreds of books, comics, video games and fanfictions later, Star Trek is still as famous (even more maybe)!

Besides being an addictive sci-fi series – following the interstellar adventures of Captain James T. Kirk and his crew aboard the starship USS Enterprise – Star Trek has withstood time because it predicted it: tablets, video chatting, mobile phones… And connected glasses! Remember Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge? Blind since birth, he wears a visor that allows him to see.

Researchers may not have gone with the “visor look”, but they sure have come up with numerous smart glass projects. Following the steps of Google Glass, the University of Utah recently released a pair of autofocus glasses – a “solution to eyesight problems without the hassles of always changing prescriptions”.

EnChroma chose to tackle another disability, and came up with a pair of glasses to help color blind people see life in color. As for those with reading disabilities, OrCam is working on a small camera – attached to glasses – which would recognize text and read it out loud to the user.

No pun intended but… Star Trek had seen it coming 😉

Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Stumble
  • Mail
  • Fermer

When technology surpasses Bellamy’s 1887 credit card predictions

Stories - February 07, 2017

Cash or by card? You might have gotten used to the question but two centuries ago having ‘’the choice’’ was unimaginable, for the simple reason that debit/credit cards did not exist!

Yet, although they did not exist, the American Edward Bellamy did predict them, in his utopian novel Looking Backward (1887). Set in the year 2000, the American society creates a card with an allotted amount of credit, which citizens use to make purchases.

However, what Bellamy did not predict, was that society would go a step further with contactless cards, and now phones! This evolution has been possible thanks to microchips using Near Field Communication technology. NFC was invented in 1980, and first used in Star Wars toys in 1999. Orange is the one to have initiated NFC mobile payment (“mobile money”) in December 2008 in the Ivory Coast. Since, it has become a growing market.

But what would most surprise Edward Bellamy is that scientists are giving NFC payment a summer twist. Next time you go to the beach, don’t bother taking your phone – a pair of tap-to-pay Inamo WaveShades will do the trick 😉

Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Stumble
  • Mail
  • Fermer

See you next week!

To be continued - February 01, 2017

Next week, focus on soccer in Africa with some of its best success stories!

 

Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Stumble
  • Mail
  • Fermer