The Fermi Paradox is Scientifically Redundant, Right?

© Trevor Barton, May 2018. When someone introduced me to the “Fermi Paradox” several years ago I felt troubled. I remember that, at the time, this weary and confused disposition was, perhaps, interpreted by the third party who dropped this “Fermi bombshell” as me being irrational, or just me “wanting to believe” in aliens – as many of us do – and therefore not wanting to … Continue reading The Fermi Paradox is Scientifically Redundant, Right?

Sunset, beach, horizon

AI product equals evil AI. Discuss.

AI Product Equals Evil AI. Discuss. The wrong AI debate is about whether to have it. I studied AI philosophy at MA level (for a bit) and it concerns me that a lot of the “AI ethics” discussions are framed around “should we have AI, or not?” Today a reader of my Brobots science fiction trilogy asked me if I watch Westworld and (in relation to that) … Continue reading AI product equals evil AI. Discuss.

Street art of two people talking in Dozza, Italy

We Can Stop Feeding the Data Monsters

At the close of his latest book The People Vs Tech (Ebury, 2018), Jamie Bartlett declares, “we can stop feeding the data monsters”. He’s talking about certain social media sites; and I agree with him.   The Vice Chancellor of a world-famous university, in 2006, asked for my advice as to whether one such platform (guess which) would ever take off. (Ooh, get me!) Since at … Continue reading We Can Stop Feeding the Data Monsters

Let’s Be Clear About AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is Presently Ubiquitous, Limited, and Widely Misunderstood The key misunderstanding today is that AI describes one thing, and it doesn’t. There are different strengths of AI. The most flimsy types are great at what they do, but on their own they will never suddenly “wake up” to human-like consciousness. There’s nothing it’s like to “be” them; and there never will be (or … Continue reading Let’s Be Clear About AI

Why Writing Science Fiction Recently got Harder to Do

A number of science fiction writers have recently come out and said as much. Writing sci-fi has recently gotten harder to do. Charles Stross, for example, in a recent talk for the “Chaos Communication Congress” stated: “My recipe for fiction set ten years in the future used to be 90% already-here, 9% not-here-yet but predictable, and 1% who-ordered-that. But unfortunately the ratios have changed. I think … Continue reading Why Writing Science Fiction Recently got Harder to Do

How a Mental Health Breakdown Improved My Writing (Eventually)

I’m re-posting this blog from Medium.com to mark UK “Time to Talk” day. (Originally posted: August 19, 2017.) I remember the day very clearly. Just as with any previous time I’d left an employer to move seamlessly to another, I sat down at my computer to update my CV. But this time was different in many, many ways. I hadn’t left. I’d been politely asked … Continue reading How a Mental Health Breakdown Improved My Writing (Eventually)