Category Archives: Industry

Good Robot? Bad Robot?

It’s 2030 and you’re not doing your old job any more because an AI machine can do it faster, cheaper and safer. How’s that working out for you?

But, first of all, let’s deal with some basic logic.  How fair is this?

  • Gavin: “Steve, what’ll we do for tea tonight if Mum’s not there to cook?”
  • Steve: “Dunno. Ask Dad? Or make it ourselves? Or go down the chippy?”
  • Gavin: “Steve, you’re an idiot. We won’t have do any of that because Mum will be there!”

Bit harsh on Steve, yes?  He was only answering the question that was put to him.  If their Mum wasn’t there, he had an idea of what could happen.  He wasn’t asked whether he thought she might be.

Silly?  Maybe.  But that’s exactly what the economists and the right-wing press did to Professor Stephen Hawking a while ago on the subject of robot automation and unemployment.

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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)

hiresfront

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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New Novel: ‘Conscious’ by Vic Grout

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: http://tinyurl.com/VicGroutConscious

hiresfront

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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Technocapitalism

We could be well-advised to take note of this word.  We may be hearing a lot more of it …

Actually, in truth, we’ve already used it a few times before in this blog but perhaps now might be a good time to have a closer look at what it is and what it might mean?

Technocapitalism1

It’s always dodgy making claims like this but the term technocapitalism was probably effectively coined by Professor Luis Suarez-Villa in Technocapitalism: A Critical Perspective on Technological Innovation and Corporatism (2009) and developed further in Globalization and Technocapitalism: The Political Economy of Corporate Power and Technological Domination (2012).  [Yes, it may have been used before this, but it gets very hard to track these things down accurately.]

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