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ZombieResearch commentary on fast zombies in WorldWarZMovie

November 10, 2012

Two members of the Zombie Research Society Advisory Board have made early public commentary about the upcoming World War Z movie starring Brad Pitt, based on the book by another ZRS adviser Max Brooks.

Why World War Z scares me — and not in the good way” by Dan Drezner at Foreign Policy, in which Drezner says he asked Max Brooks about the upcoming movie and Brooks responded:

his strategy was to simply sign over the rights and then not pay an iota of attention to what happened. He figured that it was the only way to stay sane.

Drezner also notes:

One of the great pleasures of World War Z the novel was the way in which the degree of threat slowly creeped up, just like the walkers that Brooks used for his zombies. Switching to the 28 Days Later style of ghouls changes the nature of the threat in ways that undercut one of the central pleasures of Brooks’ novel.

Drezner further objects the movie losing some “global perspective” present in the novel by retelling as “standard reluctant-hero-saves-the-day narrative”.

Then there’s “Zombie Neuroscientist Explains the Ant-Like Behavior of World War Z’s Running Dead” by Angela Watercutter in Wired, interviewing Bradley Voytek and embedding Voytek’s recent neuroscience diagnosis of a zombie cartoon. Watercutter quotes Voytek from an email:

““Unlike previous ‘fast zombie’ flicks like 28 Days Later wherein the zombies are basically acting independently of one another, the zombies here are showing what look like intelligent behaviors: clustering, swarming and even coming together to form a ‘zombie ladder,’”

and

“While people might be tempted to say that the WWZ zombies are therefore somewhat intelligent, I’d argue the zombies here are simply exhibiting emergent behaviors like what we see with ants.”

Ok well that’s interesting, so these zombies have emergent powers. Which is sort of like humanity and the human mind – emergence from complex interaction of simple neural activity. So what makes humans anymore than p-zombies? See also work on emergent systems by Keith Sawyer, like Social Emergence: Societies As Complex Systems.

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