Following on from my last post, a few things I’ve been working on are taking shape. The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted the new covers are here, and I’m loving them.
Also, the publication of the first volume of near-future fiction from Virtual Futures has arrived. I’m one of the editors along with Dan O’Hara and Tom Ward and although it’s taken a while to come to fruition the results are worth it. It’s a fantastic volume of eighteen stories from the 2017 series of fiction events, including The Never-Ending Nanobot Nectar from me. As the back cover blurb says, “When tomorrow has become a question mark — filled with as much malice as promise — can science fiction be a means of exploring the answer?”
You can pre-order the kindle version from Amazon up until the 5 March when it’s published, and that’s when the paperback version becomes available too (from all good book retailers).
I fully recommend it (but then I would, wouldn’t I).
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