Category Archives: Computing

Fake News Had to Happen; But Why?

The following conversation, set in an executive boardroom – around ten years ago, may or may not have taken place …

  • Rupert: “G’Day Cobber. How’s it hangin’?” (You’ll have to imagine an appropriate accent.  Also imagine him sitting in a large black chair, stroking a white cat, if it helps.)
  • Bruce: “G’Day Boss. Bit of a bugger, tell the truth!” (Same accent; no cat)
  • Rupert: “Whassa problem, Bruce?”
  • Bruce: “It’s this ‘social media’, Boss. I dunno what we’re going to do with it.”
  • Rupert: “No worries, Bruce. I’m the most important man in the world. I can do anything to anything. What do I need to do to this ‘Media’ drongo? (Where’d he get a funny name like that?) And just what makes him such a sociable figjam, anyway? (Burp) I’m the cultured one around here. (Fart) Just ask Bushie and Blarie: they always said so.”
  • Bruce: “It’s not a fella, Boss; it’s a thing. Like Facebook and Twitter and stuff like that?”
  • Rupert: “Why should I be worried about that crap? Doesn’t make me any money.”

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‘CONSCIOUS: The Movie’!

Don’t get excited: it’s only a publicity video!

Here’s a short ‘trailer’ interview for the novel.  About ten minutes: the first part discusses the book itself; the second, some wider issues.

Huge thanks to the Glyndwr student magazine, Egwyl, editors, Emma, Kara and Jade (with assistance from Tom) for putting this together.

See The Book for details of how to get it.


Abstract Data?

The arguments about ‘abstract art’ (compared with ‘real’ art) rage on.  But could we soon be having similar debates about data?  Or has it already happened?

(The first part of this post is deliberately written from the point of view of an analytic treatment of art.  If you’re going to scream, ‘No, you can’t reduce it to that!’, then it’s not aimed at you – but ‘sorry’, anyway.)

‘Abstract art’, sometimes ‘modern art’, divides people.  To some, it’s the pinnacle of human achievement, the height of our civilisation; setting us spiritually apart from the functional necessity of other species.  To others, it’s a pointless diversion; an excuse for people who can’t read, write or add up to feel worthwhile about themselves and give each other awards and qualifications.

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Conscious

Now available as eBook and paperback

What makes something sentient?  What does it take for an entity to be aware of its own existence and to want to interact with the world of its own accord?  Is it a gift from God or hard science?  Is it something fundamentally human or animal in nature or is it a simple technological principle based on brain size?  There are many models, of course.  But, if consciousness is simply a natural product of neural complexity then eventually, in theory, we might build something – a computer or a machine – that was actually big enough to wake up!

Oh, wait …!

The widespread ramblings, which have appeared on this blog over the years, now make a partial contribution to a novel.  (See http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/vicgrout)

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Vic Grout’s Conscious is set a year or three into the future.  The ‘Internet of Everything’ is making the world a more connected place than ever before.  People’s lives are becoming increasingly automated.  But something odd is happening … ‘Things’ are beginning to misbehave and no-one can work out why.  What starts as an amusing inconvenience quickly becomes very serious indeed!

A ragged bunch of academics, scientists and philosophers are on the case – and may know the answer.  But now they have to convince people that their crazy explanation is true.  And that’s only the start.  Against a backdrop of a world suddenly beginning to fall apart, they’re in a race against time to get someone to do anything about it.  And not everyone is on their side!

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