In June this year I was invited to Oxford University by the International Neuroethics Society for a symposium on human brain organoids and other novel entities. As you can imagine it was a fascinating afternoon and another one of those moments when I felt as if science fiction could never be as strange as the real science itself.
There was talk of gastruloids, novel entities and chimeras. We discussed how to measure consciousness, the ethical valuation of moral status, developing a human brain inside an animal and that the closer we get to human brain surrogates the more pressing the ethical issues become.
You can read all about the symposium and watch some videos on the neuroethics society website.
Here’s a taster from the summary: Continue reading
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
It’s a well-known saying among writers that you have to read to write. I imagine that’s the same for any craft – the more you see of other people’s work the better your own becomes.
I’m in the fortunate position at the moment of being the lead-curator for a series of science fiction events themed around the near-future (links to them are on my future events page). This means that not only do I get to read all the submitted stories and choose the best with my co-curator, I also get to hear the authors read their stories on the night.
And, it may sound like a cliché, but it really is a privilege.
Talking of which, it’s also incredibly pleasing that Vector, the critical journal of the British Science Fiction Association, has published an article on the thinking behind these Near-Future Fiction events.