Tag Archives: driverless car

Should we dumb down AI?

An article in Wired magazine – Don’t Make AI Artificially Stupid In the Name of Transparancy – suggests solutions to the governance of machine learning. 

For some reason, it reminded me of a story I read some years ago. In 1968 a three year experiment of not changing the clocks from BST resulted in fewer road traffic deaths; data suggested more people were injured in the darker mornings, but fewer people were injured in the lighter afternoons.

Although I can’t validate it, I was told that the reason the scheme was scrapped was because, despite there being fewer deaths overall, the media focussed on the ones that did happen as a result of the experiment.

It seems to me that we have a similar problem with artificial intelligence – we’re in danger of focussing on the errors not the benefits. Desperately trying to understand what went wrong and limiting its potential as a result. What the Wired article attempts to do is find solutions that mean we can make the most of AI rather than dumbing it down so we can understand it, and hence control it.

One of the major challenges for the media will be to give a balanced view, rather than taking the easy route of selling bad news. And, it’s also a challenge for us science fiction writers to portray nuanced futures that have both hints of hope and words of warning.

 


photo credit: campra Kader Attia, Untitled via photopin (license)

Linux User and Developer

I’ve been itching to go public and tell everyone that Linux User and Developer magazine are publishing a series of my sci-fi shorts on their back page.

They chose Killer Virus? as the first in the series and as you can see from the quick snap I took in W H Smith at London’s Euston Station, it’s on the shelves now.

Shhh… it’s a Library

Yesterday was the launch event for Eating Robots and Other Stories at The Libary Club in central London and what a great evening it was. There’s nothing quite like hearing an audience laugh and gasp at the exact moment you want them to, and they did.

I was really pleased that Christine Aicardi and Laura Prime, both contributors to the expert responses at the back of the book, were able to come along to speak and take questions from the audience. I think there’s something special about collaborating and they epitomised this perfectly.

For me the pinnacle of the evening was Gigi Lynch performing the story US (photo above). It’s not easy to hold an audience for thirty minutes with one story, but she managed it effortlessly.

US was emotional to write and Gigi was brilliant at bringing out the deep sense of loss, loneliness and optimistic hope that I believe is an integral part of the story. In fact she was so good that I was moved to tears (by my own story!) and even people who already knew it came up afterwards to say how captivated they’d been.

You can find out more about the collection at stephenoram.net/eatingrobots


On 22 June 2017, Eating Robots and Other Stories is featured as a part of the Fitzrovia Festival literary event – Collaboration Works