Category Archives: Politics

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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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’: Second edition!

The , er …, somewhat ‘unexpected political events’ of 2016 have meant that a few points of detail in the book have had to be rewritten!  But there’s good news too …

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Some, shall we say, not-entirely-predicted elections and other votes have produced a second edition rather earlier than expected!  The storyline’s entirely unaltered and the changes in detail aren’t huge either but were necessary for global consistency.  However, this has now also allowed Amazon’s direct publishing service to be used, resulting in significantly lower costs for both the paperback and Kindle edition.  These cheaper, more up-to-date options can now be downloaded/ordered from:

Paperback:

US: https://www.amazon.com/Conscious-Vic-Grout/dp/1520590121/

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Conscious-Vic-Grout/dp/1520590121/

Kindle:

US: https://www.amazon.com/Conscious-Vic-Grout-ebook/dp/B06X3V8TFG/

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Conscious-Vic-Grout-ebook/dp/B06X3V8TFG/

Full details of all editions and formats can still be seen in The Book.


Is it Time for the ‘SuperApp’?

If our privacy is going out of the window anyway, let’s go the whole hog!  Why let the Big Data/Internet of Things future be a plethora of individual apps/processes when it could be just a simple ‘global identity’ for each of us? [‘tongue-in-cheek mode’ enabled]

Let’s concoct a future scenario (extended from a passage in the book) to work with … You’re out for an urban stroll.  You buy a bottle of orange juice along your way, and drink it as you’re walking.  Half a mile down the road, you throw the empty bottle in a bin.  Not that inspiring?  OK, let’s IoT/big data it up a bit …

Your exercise is being monitored as you walk.  When you buy the bottle, the cost is automatically debited from your bank account.  Also the juice’s nutritional information is fed into your fitness tracker along with your steps.  At the same time, the juice/bottle’s carbon penalty is added to your personal carbon footprint.  If you dispose of the empty bottle in an approved recycling bin, some of that carbon penalty is credited back to you.  The balance is your carbon tax to pay, although this is mitigated by an adjustment against your health tax: calculated from your fitness tracker’s juice and steps data.  The net cost is also taken directly from your bank.

So, how might that all work?

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