Category Archives: General

Can Futurology ‘Success’ be ‘Measured’?

Passions run high among sci-fi fans: never in this blog’s history has it been so necessary to note ‘this is only a bit of fun‘ in advance of a post!

How ‘good’ are we at predicting the future?  More precisely, how could we measure how good anyone is at it?  Well, we’re going irritate some straight away here by treating ‘serious’ academic researchers, professional ‘futurists’ and science fiction writers as doing essentially the same thing.  Perhaps, on that basis, we should narrow our notion of science fiction to ‘hard’ sci-fi loosely set somewhere in humanity’s future; but, that aside, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

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Reset?

Has this blog been looking a little stale of late?  Does it need a change of focus or direction?

[XKCD, https://xkcd.com/1854/]

Thoughts welcome: comment, reply, message Facebook, Twitter, etc. …


(Ghosts of) Christmases Past, Present and Future

There’s no CS-based Christmas story this year (boooooo!) because most of the year has been spent finishing, publishing and promoting the (CS-based) novel (hooooray? – maybe not!).  So instead, here are some links to previous years’ offerings and an entirely unsubtle suggestion for a Christmas present!

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In 2014, we first encountered the Travelling Santa Problem, in which Father Christmas was introduced, by his ‘decision elf’, Boz, to the magic (non-deterministic) reindeer, Rudolph.  Together they figured out the best way to deliver presents to all the children in the world.

Then the following year, 2015, Father Christmas was given a whole load more (in fact, an infinite number of) planets to deliver to and he needed the help of Rudolf’s ‘countable’ Russian cousin, Nureyev, in Santa in the Continuum.

If you haven’t read them before, or you fancy a bit of light relief, give them a (re)read!

On the other hand, if you’re looking for the perfect Christmas present for that certain someone who likes their science fiction with a bit of substance (and a touch of ethics, social awareness, environmentalism, politics and spirituality too), then perhaps the book itself is what you need?  (Which is, itself, set over the Christmas and New Year period, by the way!)

There are various places to get it from, depending on personal principles and requirements.  It can be ordered:

But whatever you choose to read or not read, MERRY CHRISTMAS!


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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