Technology In Movies: Eye In The Sky

SPOTLIGHTING THE EFFECTIVE USE OF DRONE TECHNOLOGY IN MOVIES, USING THE MOVIE "EYE IN THE SKY" AS A STUDY.

SYNOPSIS

The film opens in Nairobi, Kenya, where Alia Mo'Allim, a young girl, twirls a hula hoop made by her father in their backyard.

British Army Colonel Katherine Powell wakes up early in the morning and hears that an undercover British/Kenyan agent has been murdered by the Al-Shabaab terrorist group. From Northwood Headquarters she takes command of a mission to capture high-level Al-Shabaab militants, who are meeting in a safehouse in Nairobi. These include a British couple, Susan Helen Danford (based on Samantha Lewthwaite[4]) and her husband.

A multinational team works on the capture mission, linked together by video images. Aerial surveillance is provided by a USAF MQ-9 Reaper drone controlled from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada by USAF pilot, 2d Lt Steve Watts. Undercover Kenyan field agents, including Jama Farah, use short-range ornithopter and insectothopter cameras for ground intelligence. Kenyan special forces are positioned nearby to make the arrest. Facial recognition to identify human targets is done at Joint Intelligence Center Pacific at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The mission is supervised in the United Kingdom by a COBRA meeting that includes Lieutenant General Frank Benson of the Royal Marines, government ministers, and the UK Attorney General.

Farah discovers that the occupants have explosives and are preparing two suicide bombers for what is presumed to be an attack on a civilian target. Powell decides that the imminent bombing changes the mission objective from "capture" to "kill". She informs drone pilot Watts to prepare a precision Hellfire missile attack on the building, and solicits the opinion of her British Army legal counsel. To her frustration, her counsel advises her to seek approval from superiors. Benson asks permission from the COBRA members. Citing conflicting legal and political views and contrasting the tactical value of the assassination with the negative publicity of killing civilians and the status of some of the targets as American or British nationals, they fail to reach a decision and refer the question up to the UK Foreign Secretary. Impaired by a bout of food poisoning on a trade mission to Singapore, he does not offer a definite answer and tries to defer to the US Secretary of State (contacted on a cultural exchange in Beijing), who immediately authorises the strike. He then insists on due diligence being performed to minimise collateral damage.

Meanwhile, the situation at the house becomes more difficult to assess. Alia, who lives next door, is now near the target building selling her mother's bread. The lawyers and politicians involved in the chain of command argue the personal, political and legal merits of and justification for launching a Hellfire missile attack in a friendly country not at war with the US or UK, with the significant risk of collateral damage. Watts and his enlisted sensor operator, A1C Carrie Gershon, can see Alia selling bread outside the targeted building, and they seek to delay firing the missile until she moves.

Farah is directed to try and buy all of Alia's bread so she will leave, but in the process his cover is blown and he is forced to flee. Just as the suicide bombers are finishing their preparations, the surveillance video being captured by Farah's stationary insectothopter cuts off when its battery is drained.

Seeking a way to get authorisation to execute the strike, Powell orders her risk-assessment officer to find parameters that will let him quote a lower 45% risk of civilian deaths. He re-evaluates the strike point and assesses the probability of Alia's death at 45–65%. She makes him confirm only the lower figure, and then reports this up the chain of command. The strike is authorised, and Watts fires a missile. The building is destroyed, with casualties in and around it. Alia, who was reselling the bread Farah dropped upon fleeing, is injured and unconscious. However, Danford also survived. Watts is ordered to fire a second missile, which strikes the site just as Alia's parents reach her. Both suffer minor injuries and rush Alia to a hospital, where she dies.

In the London situation room, General Benson says: "Never tell a soldier that he does not know the cost of war." The end credits begin rolling back to the beginning of the movie, with Alia shown twirling her hula hoop.

DRONE TECHNOLOGY

Although the movie lasted for only about 1hr 30mins; what strangely got me interested and inquisitive was the efficient and effective use of drones; It was not even the regularly shaped ones like this one below:

The one used that got my attention was shaped like an insect, an insect guys! So bummer, not every insect flying by you is a mere mosquito or cockroach.

"The insect drone takes on the functions of larger UAVs, but reduces the larger drones down into a miniature undetectable device." This was used instead of the regular drones and controlled into a room to monitor the terrorists as they were about to launch a blast. The obvious advantages lies in the size as opposed to the former, the latter can go unnoticed  while properly performing its function and properly permeate any space, also with the disadvantage that it runs out of power more  quickly than the former as more energy is expended on its flying mechanism. Nonetheless it is perfect for spy and undercover operations; I also highly recommend that it should be welcomed and adopted  by security and safety organizations such as The Nigerian Police as an aerial assistant to combat crimes and maintain law and order in good time and with a high level of accuracy. 

If you are curious, here is how the insect drones work: According to RoboticsTomorrow, in trying to mimic nature to produce robotic facsimiles, the term—biorobotics—is applied. Referring to drones, biorobotics’ goal is to harness nature’s unique ability to fly through all environments while avoiding obstacles, and ultimately have these insect drones fly without human control. Scientists are using high-speed cameras to plot the movement of insects in nature and create autonomous insect drones. Honey-comb carbon fiber bodies and silicon joints are used, costing around 10 cents to construct. The power supply is a battery pack rechargeable through solar panels on the exterior body. The sensory system consists of two eyes and multiple temperature, wind, and speed sensors. The wings are connected to respective actuators, while an internal network of algorithms and sensory signals gives the drone the ability to communicate. Unlike other UAVs, the insect drone must have an autonomous computer system because it is too small to be controlled by a remote. Once the action has been decided, the signal moves on to the inertial system to distribute the specific functions in respect to the action of the wings. The wings then use several sensors to deliver the most accurate wing thrusts to fulfill the action. 

The All So Black Golden Globes

THE GLORY OF BLACKNESS

Tracee Ellis Ross became the first black woman in 35 years to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Comedy or Musical for her role on ABC’s Black-ish; coincidentally her mom won a golden globe at the same age, Diana Ross.

TRACEE ROSS AND HER MOM, DIANA ROSS

TRACEE ROSS AND HER MOM, DIANA ROSS

The legendary singer and actor won the Golden Globe for Best New Actress in 1973 for her role in Lady Sings the Blues… “It’s nice at 44,” the younger Ross said during her acceptance speech. “I like it here!”

Tracee Ellis Ross accepts the award for Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

After 5 nominations, Viola Davis finally wins her first Golden Globes Award  for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for the Movie Fences, it also happens to be the first time a black woman will take the award home in 18 years, amazing feat!

“It's not every day that Hollywood thinks of translating a play to screen,” 

Viola Davis accepts the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

In somewhat related news, Donald Glover's Golden Globe Winning Series has been postponed till 2018. 

Glover was completely surprised by his double victory, saying, "I was just trying to figure out what kind of whiskey I was going to drink tonight. I was like, "You know, we'll lose and it'll be great."After scoring two Golden Globes wins, the multi-talented actor was speechless. "I'm in shock...There's no words for it. I'm truly excited and happy that I'm being recognized," Glover told E! News.

Donald Glover accepts the award for Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards. 

Atlanta is an American comedy-drama television series created by and starring Donald Glover. The series is about two cousins navigating their way in the Atlanta rap scene in an effort to improve their lives and the lives of their families. The series follows Earn (Donald Glover) during his daily life in Atlanta, Georgia, as he tries to redeem himself in the eyes of his ex-girlfriend (the mother of his daughter), his parents, and his cousin, who raps under the stage name "Paper Boi". Having dropped out of Princeton University, Earn has no money and no home, and so he alternates between staying with his parents and his girlfriend. Once he realizes that his cousin is on the verge of stardom, he desperately seeks to reconnect in order to improve his life and the life of his daughter, Lotti.

The movie won in the same category as everyone's favourite comedy series, Black-ish

Creator Donald Glover accepts the award for Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards. 

Why Hollywood’s Race Seclusion is a Problem

Today, the average child aged 2-5 years, spends 32 hours a week watching tv (read more here)

Now, it should be common knowledge that children pick up a lot of things in their formative years; now if a black or mixed child grows up watching only white casts on every of his favourite tv shows and watch only these cast win movie awards, while he might look like he is just going with the flow and having a good time while at it; it registers somewhere in his head that maybe black actors are no good or not even in existence. To further buttress my point, ever notice how overly excited even you as an adult get when you see a black actor in a movie? Why because something inside of you needs to associate with successful people of your kind as a sort of encouragement and support especially if you are or want to go into that field.

It isn’t even just the lack of nominations in a particularly strong year for actors of colour, because there are just few of them who even make it onto our screens at all; it is Hollywood’s unrepentant lack of representation across all of its films. Have you listened to Dylan Marron’s Every Single Word Tumblr, where he has edited together all the lines spoken by characters of colour in dozens of films from the past 50 years? In the entire Harry Potter film series, nearly 20 hours in total, only six minutes are spoken by characters of colour. Most of that six minutes is taken up by a mini Ian Wright commentating a Quid ditch match. Birdman? Fifty seconds. American Hustle? Forty seconds. Fault in Our Stars? Twenty-eight seconds. Black Swan? Twenty seconds. Frances Ha? Eighteen seconds. Midnight in Paris? Nine seconds. The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy? Forty-seven seconds, but only if you count the orcs as black.

Even when they are eventually cast, say among white actors, they get a stereotypical role; Some truly believe that Hollywood has changed with directors such as Spike Lee and Tyler Perry who cast all African-American films, and who have become such household names paving the way for the rest of the African-American community. Though both directors have significantly different ways of portraying the African American community, the popularity of both directors seems to signify to some that the racial tension in Hollywood has ended. Adding to the movement, Disney introduced the first African-American princess, Tiana, in 2009. People felt that "the color barrier is breaking down in Hollywood". A majority of people may still see the thin line between Hollywood's "new" attitude toward race and their "old" attitude toward race. “The consolidation of a black presence in the movies and television did not signal the arrival of a post racial Hollywood any more than the election of Barack Obama in 2008 spelled the end of America’s 400-year-old racial drama.

Now I’m not here to say black actors should get more awards, if they do deserve it, please by all means! I’m only saying there should be no racial segregation in movies, the future of this industry certainly lies on inclusion of all races.