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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‘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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(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!

xmas2016

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!