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)