Being Charlie Kaufman

Just watched Adaptation with Claire and Paul. Absolutely fantastic – a post-modern marvel. Put simply, it’s an adaptation of a book entitled The Orchid Thief – a true story about the author, Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep), meeting John Laroche (Chris Cooper), a horticultural specialist who collects endangered orchids, set to the backdrop of Charlie Kaufman, the film’s writer (Nicholas Cage), trying in vain to write a screenplay version of the book, The Orchid Thief. The film spans four billion years, with particular emphasis on the last 17, and, despite the best intentions of the in-film screenwriter, manages to include guns, drugs, and a car chase… and not so many flowers.

I’d never thought that Charlie Kaufman could ever produce anything quite so mind-boggling as Being John Malkovich, but he really has. My mind boggles still. Watch it. And invite me along. <wink>

Artificial Intelligence For Dummies

I’ve just written an artificial intelligence gamebot, designed to pseudointelligently play simple board games which involve a finite upper number of moves and a board of tokens – for example: Connect Four, Noughts & Crosses, Go!, or Othello. It uses the (appropriately-written) rules of the game in order to pre-anticipate a vast number of moves, and select the ‘best’ ones based on the likelihood of them winning. It’s not terribly powerful, but I’d never written such a widely-scoped A.I. before, and I fancied the challenge.

I let it out for it’s first run this afternoon, and started a game of Connect Four with it. Here are the results:

I took the first turn, and put one of my pieces into the first column of the grid.

The gamebot took the second turn, picked up an enormous handful of pieces, and put six of them into the grid (two in the first column and four in the next four adjacent columns). These four-in-a-row, of course, won it the game.

Perhaps I need to define ‘cheating’ for it. Hmm… back to the drawing board…

Pretend You’re A Traffic Police Officer

…and one day, on your beat, you catch a guy driving the wrong way down a residential one-way street. Well; that’s not very good, so you flag him down and investigate. Upon reaching the car, you discover that he is driving the wrong way down the road as a result of a lack of due care and attention – he was using his laptop. Moreover, his pants are round his ankles and he’s using his laptop to look at kiddie porn. As if this isn’t enough, he’d been downloading said illegal porn using an internet connection hijacked using wireless networking gear.

What do you charge him with?

The full story here.