Tag Archives: Science fiction

‘THAT Won’t Happen!’

In 1977, Ken Olsen, founder and CEO of DEC, made an oft-misapplied statement, “there is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home”.  A favourite of introductory college computing modules – supposedly highlighting the difficulty in keeping pace with rapid change in computing technology, it appears foolish at a time when personal computers were already under development – including in his own laboratories.  The quote is out of context, of course, and applies to Olsen’s scepticism regarding fully-automated assistive home technology systems (climate control, security, cooking food, etc.).  However, as precisely these technologies gain traction, there may be little doubt that, if he stands unfairly accused of being wrong in one respect, time will inevitably prove him so in another.

So, in short:

  • Yes, he did say that
  • No, that wasn’t quite what he meant
  • He wasn’t (obviously) wrong at the time
  • He is now/will be soon

So what?

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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.

(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!


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!


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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