Author Archives: Stephen Oram

When will humans change?

In the words of Frederik Pohl, my job as a science fiction author is, “to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam.”

I’m sure we all have mixed feelings about the future of robotics and artificial intelligence.  I certainly do and it’s such a broad subject that it’s no surprise emerging technologies and science generates big questions. What human activity we value and what it means to be human might not be new questions, but this could be the moment to assess them again.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been spending even more time than usual thinking and reading about robots and artificial intelligence. I’ve outlined some brief thoughts below, but there’s way too much to put into a short blog post like this and others have written whole books about it, not least Max Tegmark in his book Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Continue reading

Strange Brains, Alien Minds

It’s been a very busy few months, you just need to look at my events page to see what I mean. Guess what? Every time I’ve set aside some time to sit down and write a few words about my experiences something else crops up and the chance slip by.

Although it’s a bit late, here’s a very short reflection on my ongoing collaboration with King’s College London and the Human Brain Project. It’s called ‘Transforming Future Science through Science Fiction.’ Continue reading

Banned Words…

Following on from my post about the Unicorn, here’s another piece of micro-fiction written for a specific purpose, the 7 banned words theme at New Flash FictionI liked the concept of what they were doing – short pieces that contained words recently banned from US government press statements (note: I can’t find the original submission form, but that’s how I remember it).

This was my offering – I’ll let you guess which are the banned words.


AlterNatives

‘A transgender fetus? That’s insane. Impossible. That’s ridiculous.’

‘It’s a science-based study sir. It shows we can determine in the womb if Mother Nature has got it wrong.’

‘So, we’re all vulnerable now, are we? Vulnerable to the crazies before we’re even born.’

It’s an entitlement sir and it could save a lot of money; correcting in the womb would be much cheaper.’

‘Nobody has an entitlement to be “corrected” so that’s a stupid argument.’

‘Imagine how all those so-called evidence-based studies would look though. It’d improve the diversity stats without all the legal fuss and bother we have to put up with now.’

‘I won’t allow it. No. Simple. Got it? No.’

‘But, you could have been a woman. Imagine having the sort of body you crave so much. As your own.’

‘Out. Get out.’

The president sat in his office alone, sad and wishing for a different life.