Author Archives: Stephen Oram

About Stephen Oram

Stephen Oram writes near-future and speculative fiction. His work has been praised by publications as diverse as The Morning Star and The Financial Times.

detect deceit and delete

I came across these two stories last week – there’s an algorithm that can detect deceit in your social media feed and Twitter has been telling people they don’t exist.

This led me to ponder what it would be like to be in charge of a social media company with a conscience.

Imagine you’re uncomfortable with providing a platform from which people tell lies that are stored for future generations as the accurate record of our social history.

If your algorithms can detect deceit and detect it more effectively than human beings – that’s the claim – then would you consider it your moral duty to find the lies and delete them all? Of course you’d have to trust the algorithms, and their creators, to not deceive you.

Would you delete everything that appeared to be a lie, no matter how big or small?

I wonder if Twitter is temporarily suspending accounts while it cleanses them.

Have you checked your social media history recently?

Maybe you should…

photo credit: 000109 via photopin (license)

Launch event for Fluence

Fluence was published just over a month ago and after a fortnight of interviews and reviews the official launch took place on 21 July in a packed Primrose Hill Community Library.

I was really pleased that people took the time to come along on a sunny evening and I certainly enjoyed meeting them, reading extracts and talking about the inspiration behind the novel. The most enjoyable part for me (apart from the pub afterwards) was the Q&A at the end.

All the questions were thoughtful and wide-ranging, including Continue reading

Penzance LitFest, rail strike and Land’s End

I’ve just returned from contributing to the Penzance Literary Festival, walking beside the sea and visiting Land’s End. I’d recommend the festival and the sea but not Land’s End unless you like car parks and corporate themed shops.

At the LitFest it was great to see the room brimming with keen and focussed folk – quite an achievement as a lot of them had been in the same stuffy room all day.

I really enjoyed the session; hearing intelligent and perceptive questions and the authors’ responses, including mine, helped me take stock of my own journey. And talking about journeys – the rail strike forced me to drive, which irritated me at first because I’d planned to do quite a bit of writing, but time away from a computer proved therapeutic and gave me the space to make some fundamental decisions about the next novel. So all in all a fruitful few days.

In the photo – Helen Hart from SilverWood, Lucienne Boyce, Wendy Percival, me and Jill Treseder with an audience of about forty people (only the front row had the luxury of sofas and comfy chairs).