Tag Archives: Machine intelligence

‘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 …


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:


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

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


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.

‘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.


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)


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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Do Wizards Believe in Magic?

A more-than-somewhat oblique look at the issues of trying to define machine ‘intelligence’

Two hobbits are sat in a tavern in a quiet backwater of The Shire. After a prolonged silence devoted to the appreciation of their mugs of Bucktooth’s Old Tawny, one turns lazily to the other and mumbles …

“I see the Rollyberry Magic Man’s been caught out once and for all!”
“How’s that?”
asks the other.
“Those acorns he was making appear out of thin air … Turned out he had them stuffed up his sleeves all along.”
“So, he’s a fake then?”
“S’pose so. Doesn’t surprise me though. I always had my suspicions about that bloke. Old Bill Gamwise reckons, when he made that fire appear from nowhere, he had a contraption made out of flints in his pocket.”
“Hmm, so probably all the magic he’s done has been phoney then?”
“Yep, reckon so … “

A further period of ‘reflection’ follows … Eventually …

“So, do you think there really IS any magic then?”

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