Category Archives: Interesting links

Now | Future | Me | Us

Inventing characters, their motivations and their development in a world that is futuristic takes a bit of thought. As some famous non-science fiction authors have shown when they turn their hand to the genre it takes more than a few bits of wizzy technology and a simple twist of history to create a believable story.

So, it’s always a pleasure to come across new techniques for creating and developing characters and worlds. But, that’s only one of the reasons I enjoyed the “bentoism” of Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler. It’s also a good way of getting perspective on life and its many complex choices.

What is it? Well, in essence you weigh up the pluses and minuses of a decision for the now you, the now us, the future you and the future us.

There’s more about it on the bentoism website and you can hear him being interviewed on the Futures Podcast.

photo credit: Bennilover “Halloween and Vergie’s pumpkins, weird and wonderful and very, very creepy” via photopin (license)

AI reflects the past not the future.

“Big Data processes codify the past. They do not invent the future. Doing that requires moral imagination, and that’s something only humans can provide. We have to explicitly embed better values into our algorithms, creating Big Data models that follow our ethical lead.”

Cathy O’Neil, Weapons of Math Destruction.

This is an easy book to read and it’s a difficult book to read. It’s easy because it’s well written with many real-life examples and extrapolations. It’s difficult because the examples show how pervasive and corrosive big data and machine learning has and can become.

However, the quote I’ve chosen gives an uplift of spirits; if humans take more interest, control and responsibility then the emerging world of artificial intelligence could be a good one.

I recommend this as essential reading for anyone with more than a passing interest in artificial intelligence and who wants to think a bit more about the ethical aspects of big data and machine learning.

After all as you’ve heard me say many times, ‘the future is ours and it’s up for grabs…’

photo credit: György Soponyai The Crystal Ball via photopin (license)