Tag Archives: AI

Shortlisted for BFS award

I’m chuffed. Once Upon A Parsec has been shortlisted for a BFS 2020 award. This Book of Alien Fairy Tales was edited by David Gullen and published by NewCon Press and it’s where Alpha42 and the Space Hermits live.

The challenge was to write a non-human fairy tale or myth and I have to say it was surprisingly difficult. I chose an AI myth which meant I had to think especially carefully about the protagonist. Alpha42 was the result and I have to say I did develop strong feelings for Alpha42, probably because there’s quite a personal angle to the story.

Here’s hoping that Once Upon A Parsec wins this wonderful award.

Once Upon A Parsec: “Have you ever wondered what the fairy tales of alien cultures are like? For hundreds of years scholars and writers have collected and retold folk and fairy stories from around our world. They are not alone. On distant planets alien chroniclers have done the same. For just as our world is steeped in legends and half-remembered truths of the mystic and the magical, so are theirs.”

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)