Sunday, 16 February 2014

Tsundoku


Like most SF fans I have a pile of unread books waiting for me to turn my attention to them, so I found the above amusing.  This week has been a bit rough for me, because it's another birthday, and having to face the fact that I'm not getting any younger really means something as you get older, with the inevitable realization that the time left to live is less than the time one has been alive.  So yesterday when I went into Forbidden planet I bought another couple of books to add to my unread pile.

On a more upbeat note, over on one of the blogs I feature there has been a couple of rather good posts about AIs and the technological singularity, here and here.  The first post gives what I feel is a very cogent argument about the realities of uploading minds, AIs and the advent of the technological singularity.  The second post has graphs to illustrate the first posts points more clearly.  I couldn't have written a better version these posts if I tried.  Recommended reading for those interested in such things.  Also, it made a nice change from some of the recent posts I've read elsewhere on the internet.

Yesterday was the first writers workshop of the year followed by the social, which serendipitously was being held on the same weekend as my birthday.  So all good. Met a new writer, Tim Bateman, and managed to hang out and have some good conversations about writing and stuff.  Next month the group has an agent coming to give a talk.

Work wise this week saw me very distracted by a furore over a hobby related discussion on a forum I frequent, and me feeling miserable etc.  So I only managed to write 2,316 words, bringing the running total for the novel up to 37,970, which isn't too shabby for six weeks work.  More optimistically I managed to really get down to fixing the plot structure and now have an outline for all five acts, whereas up to now I had only managed to work out the first three.  This is something that I find comforting.

Reading wise I finished Spin Control by Chris Moriarty, which I loved more the second time round, and it was a fave rave read the first time I read it.  My only criticism would be that there is enough content in both books that they might have been better split up into three, or even four volumes, though that would have wrecked the plotting.  I'm planning on reading Ghost Spin next.

We are getting through Ashes to Ashes, and started the third season last night.  On reflection some of the story makes a lot more sense once you know the ending, but there is at least one scene where Gene Hunt's reply is slightly off key given that he knows what is really going on.  Still an excellent show to re-watch.  Surprisingly, we had a delivery today from Amazon of Game of Thrones season three, so guess what we will be watching when we finish Ashes to Ashes later this week.  I think the plan is to go back and watch seasons one and two first.  My partner will no doubt tell me the plan in due course.

So I've survived another week, become another year older, and I'm still here and writing.  So all is well in my world.

3 comments:

  1. What interesting time we live in. One the one hand there are the computer geeks telling us that soon computers will be much more intelligent than us, and on the other hand there are biologists telling us that our free will is largely an illusion. Here f'instance http://edge.org/conversation/toxo

    Ho hum

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    1. Glad to see to here reading, and thank yo for the BD card. I in my inimitable manner would ask what is it about something being more intelligent than one, or having one's behaviours controlled that is difficult for you? I infer this from the 'Ho hum' rider, and what would be different if one could prove that you are still you even if you don't have what you consider to be free will?

      Now that's a fun thought for a novel.

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  2. The ‘Ho hum’ was a comment on the paradox of different branches of science having seemingly opposing ideas of what intelligence is. Computer scientist are confident enough in their understanding of it, to be able to say that they can not only reproduce it in silicon but also have their creations exceed human capabilities. Meanwhile neuroscientists admit to being no closer to understanding the mechanisms in animal brains that manifest themselves as intelligence.

    I wouldn't have too much difficulty with either the idea of intelligent machines or of some sort of mind control. I think if either were to be introduced slowly they would be accepted as part of the environment. Of course this presupposes that such changes introductions would not impart levels of fear or panic in the population at large.

    Free will and the idea of the self seem to me not to be particularly related. In my time I have made many irrational decisions, but however much introspection I apply to those decisions I cannot identify their origins. They may stem from original thinking, conditioning or just random neurons firing. However such decisions always seem to reinforce my sense of self rather than diminish it.

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