S1.4 Beyond the Boundaries


Beyond the Boundaries by T Que

Her upcoming short stories include “Back in the Day” and “Where We Are Now”.

T Que is a short story author and aspiring novelist. She is also  a graduate of York University’s  Glendon College Political Science program. Beyond the Boundaries is her first foray into the fantasy genre which has expanded her range of writing. When T Que is not writing she is actively enjoying cultural cuisines within Toronto.

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5 star review on your podcast tool or by becoming a patron.

Creative AIs

I’ve been thinking about the new wave of creative AIs. When will AI be able to take over many of the jobs? It is coming, the question is when. How long until AIs go from iterating (which is primarily what they are doing now) to revolutionizing? That is the real trick with art and creativity in all things. Not just thinking about how to build a better mousetrap, but how to build a house that is mouse proof.

Part of that is you can try a thousand revolutionary things and you’ll be lucky if one of them takes off. Revolution is so much harder, and based on so many other components. But AI might be good at looking at the market trends, at taking in millions of factors, the change in weather, the downturn of the economy, the last revolutionary shift, etc. Take all that into account and it might be able to go, ok here are the 40 potentially revolutionary books that might shift everything. And yes, there might be hundreds of other books or movies or whatever like that, but you just need to be the right one at the right moment to create that entire shift in the way the market is, or to create and entirely new market.

Recently there was the Rembrandt thing, before that the Japanese novel, I was sure that some AI somewhere was creating music.

Emily Howell

This is from 2009 so yeah, that’s been a while. She’s gone on to release more records as well. And yes, Emily Howell is an AI. She builds compositions, takes in feedback and adjusts based on if people thought it was good or bad.

Also every article I read absolutely called this AI by the name the programmer (David Cope) had given her, and also calls this AI ‘her’. Which, yup! I am too.

I don’t think either the Rembrandt AI or the Japanese Novelist AI had gendered names. I hope somewhere out there someone is doing a study about what impact using people names for AI has on our brains and interactions with them. (Bonus Rap Bot)

New Rembrandt

New Rembrandt made by creative AIs and humans. Lots of humans.

MS AI makes a Rembrandt knock off

This doesn’t personify the AI at all, it talks a lot more about the team working with it than the actual AI. It sort of talks about how the team (of humans) uses the AI as a tool. Which is a very different take on the whole thing from Emily.

They really talk about it like they are doing this as an extension of Rembrandt. Would you be comfortable with someone taking what you do now and coming up with what happens next? It does happen plenty now.  (Wheel of Time anyone?)

Is it very different to have someone else finish a work rather than have an AI do it?

Japanese AI Novel

This is another instance of it really being about the human team working on the project.

Though people are calling for the end of authors because of this.

Do you welcome AI overlords?

The basics of this seem to be that the human team did an outline and some basic development and then the AI filled it in. This is sort of like the AI ghost wrote the novel. If you could get an AI to ghost write your idea would you? (Although I don’t think that it “almost” won an award. It got past round one, it was not the runner up.

Resources

When I go looking for information I find I often go back to the same resources. Yes, I mostly start with Wikipedia and Google. But if those aren’t finding me what I want I have a few other places I regularly loop through.

Cracked – personal experience column

I know it is a humor site but it is surprisingly good, especially the personal experience. Depending on what you are looking for it can be a good place to go. There is a lot of adult language. I cannot express this enough. But if I want a little background story on someone who wrote video games or cleaned swimming pools? This is great.

Ars Technica

This is a great site for news. They frequently do a surprisingly good job on the research so I use this on the current stories I want information on.

Mental Floss

There isn’t a lot of original content here but it is a good place to find links to other stuff and they do a very good job of citing sources. It is often a place I stop when I feel like something should exist but I’m having a hard time finding what I want. They do sometimes put together fun lists and posts as well.

Science Based Medicine

This is a site I come to for medical news and when I’m not sure of something. Is this really a thing? Ask SBM. It helps to understand what the science and evidence say about medicine and I am not great at reading medical papers, I can scan them but I often miss stuff. So this is a good tool to get the actual understanding of what is happening.

Scientific American

I’ve certainly linked to this often enough. Good resources, links to the studies, interesting stories. All the stuff you want.What sources do you use that might be unusual to help you find the information you need?

Which Words

Writers and words go together because…duh? But which words?

Call me…a miniaturist?

Maybe? Mental Floss has a list of 14 old fashioned things to call writers.

Someone who writes short pieces of fiction. Yup! (Writrix is also good but mostly because it sounds like someone who stabs someone with old fashioned quills.)

Which Words? Swear Words

How many swear words could you come up with? 400 or more? Mostly we use 10.

No, swearing doesn’t mean you have a limited vocabulary.

Cut words, ruthlessly

Would you be willing to let an app edit you? I mean chances are extremely good you already have auto correct turned on, you use spell check. Why not have an app weed out words you don’t need.

Watch nature

I looked a bit for a site (or better yet an apple tv app) that compiles all the bird/bear/shark/etc cams from different DNRs, park services, and other resources. I couldn’t find one. If anyone knows of one please tell me!

Good cam news? Condors are raising a foster chick

Bad cam news? The PA eagle hatched an egg and the hatchling did not survive. The second egg is unlikely to be viable.

Podcast Recommendations

Yesterday I posted about how to listen to podcasts, today I’m going to share some of my podcast recommendations. This is only a slim selection of what I listen to, but they are some of my absolute favorites.

Podcast Recommendations

Literary

Far Fetched Fables – 1 hour or so fantasy stories, usually more than one per episode

600 Second Saga – 10-minute science fiction and fantasy delivered weekly (I promise!)

Writing

I Should be Writing – Interviews, thoughts, suggestions, support – this is a great podcast for writers who are looking to get encouragement (check out Ditch Diggers for a more harsh get in there and do some work view of it).

Writing Excuses – Billed as 15 minutes long they are usually closer to 20 but entirely worth it. I cannot recommend going back through the entire season 10 enough.

Science-ier (because that’s totally a word)

Quirks and Quarks – Canadians! – This is a great science news show. I really recommend this (and go for the complete show) over some of the other public science news shows.

Astronomy Cast – Everything you want to know about Astronomy. The back catalogue is amazing too.

The Titanium Physicists Podcast – This is several brilliant currently working in the field physicists explaining things to people who do Not Science stuff. It is an amazing example of great science communication.

History

(I would still say I’m not a huge history fan, but I really love both of these podcasts because they are about stories, not here’s a bunch of dates, go memorize them without context.)

Stuff You Missed in History Class – Another podcast with a huge back catalogue. Whenever I need to know a quick and dirty about some historical thing I go look to see if they have an episode on it.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – This is the podcast I listen to when I have a really long travel thing. Most of the episodes are in the 4+ hour range. Generally only a couple episodes a year, but really chock full of information.

Other?

Like knitting? Gardening? Shadowrun? Warcraft? Owning your own business? Elearning development? Other thing?

Yes, there is a podcast for you. I really enjoy podcasts for when going for walks, commuting, and cleaning.

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How to Listen to Podcasts

Don’t know how to listen to podcasts? I’m here to help!

Just make it easy!

iPhone
Android

What are podcasts?

Basically a radio program on the computer. Or like going to the library and picking a series, and then the rest of them are already checked out when are ready for the next one.

If you can think of it, if it is your hobby, something you like, there is a podcast about it. It is the internet, it exists.

Podcasts can be regular, weekly, monthly, daily, or irregular sort of whenever the podcaster puts them out. You can have video podcasts. Most podcasts are audio. They can also range from just a few minutes up to hours and hours.

So how do I listen?

Do you have a smart phone? If you do get an app. For iPhones or iPads I cannot recommend Overcast highly enough. Once you’ve downloaded it, tap the plus in the upper right corner, then find a podcast.

Go ahead and try with my podcast (you knew this was going to come up!) Just type 600 Second Saga into the search directory.

You can add a single episode, or subscribe so every time a new episode comes out it will download right to your phone.

I don’t have an iPhone!

Stitcher is a fine cross platform tool. (Meaning you can use it on your Android phone, or desktop, probably not Blackberry, Windows phone apparently not. Windows phone users might be on your own. I spent over an hour trying to help a friend with this, it was a challenge.)

If you are on Android and use one of the other tools this link (Android) should make it work for you. You can also find me in the Google Play app.

No smartphone

You can listen on the page of the podcast. On the side of the page you’ll see a player, click and listen. You can also subscribe on YouTube if you are a YouTube fan.

600 Second Saga each episode has a link to play right in the browser at the bottom of each post. You can also listen right from my Facebook page.

For other podcasts, most of them will have the ability to listen directly from their webpage as well.

And Overcast has a website too. (I swear this isn’t an ad for Overcast, it is just the best tool I’ve found.)

I did user test these steps with a couple smart but not tech savvy people in my life, but if this still confuses you please comment and I’ll be happy to update it or help you.

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S1.2 Destroyer of Worlds


Destroyer of Worlds by Stefan Budansew.

You can learn more about Stefan at his blog or purchase Immersion on Amazon.

Stefan Budansew has been storyteller his entire life, however he only started writing the stories down in 2013. Initially encouraged by Nanowrimo, Stefan published his first short novel, Immersion, in 2015, and has several other works in progress. He also assists with the 600 Second Saga podcast and encourages others to share all the stories which they keep inside. Stefan has a love of science fiction, old-school tabletop gaming and video games.

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5-star review on your podcast tool or by becoming a patron.

 

The future and the past

I think a lot about the future and the past. Our future is completely informed by our past. If we weren’t who we were we wouldn’t be who we will be.

3D printing clothing

This will of course be coming and I look forward to it. It is important to note that we will absolutely still need designers.

Some day we will have closets with these printers built in. You might go to a store and work with a designer to make the perfect dress for you. Rather than a tailor you’d have a quick 3d video and everything comes out just for you.

The real trick is going to be in recycling them live. Take the fabric, break it down, and reuse it. Then they will be built into home closets everywhere.

Singularity and the Neural Code

Singularity is a term thrown around quite a bit. I don’t really believe it will be soon. I don’t even think I’ll get to see it in my lifetime. I am a little disappointed by that. I would love to be able to upgrade to virtual. And when the end of my life comes around I’m entirely on board with being tested on.

I also think we may end up reverse engineering the brain before we really understand it. Mapping neuron to neuron without quite understanding all of the parts of it, but that will help us understand.

Ancient Trees

I’m trying to get the last of an edit pass done on the My Woods (which does desperately need a new name) short before April (camp nano). This lead to getting lost in the wikipedia about ancient trees and ancient organisms.

Thousands of years? Easy!

The clonal colonies are also fascinating.

The Future of Banks

Uber Banking

How banking and the Uber economy means layoffs. The “uber” economy leaves a lot of questions about our future.

Apple Bank

Would you bank with Apple?

Camp NaNo

Camp NaNo is coming up soon and I’ll be using it as a chance to dig in and focus on a giant monster edit pass of the first in Jenna’s series.

I know that some writers are judgey of NaNoWriMo and the NaNo camps. For me, at least, they are a good opportunity to set my focus on one project and try to carry it to completion. Doing NaNo doesn’t mean I never write for the rest of the year. And for the people who do only write once a year? Good for them for writing once a year! That’s awesome. If you were a full time author and only wrote once a year for a month? You might still be doing fine. If NaNo isn’t for you that’s great too. Do what you need to get the outcome you need. If you need NaNo and the camps? Great! If you need a daily goal, every single day? Great! If you need to go to a hotel in Amsterdam? Good for you.

For me? I work on other projects, editing, flash, podcast. (I have a podcast! You should check it out!) But using NaNo to write novels is really valuable to me.

Now that I just said that I’m going to loop back and say that I’m going to edit this NaNo. (And I’m going to record in the summer camp.) I have partially finished projects floating about everywhere and I want to start moving forward with some of them. For years I’ve been writing things and throwing them out. Writing and moving onto the next thing. Even writing, editing, and then abandoning. I need to move forward with some of these projects.

broken watches

Camp NaNo is about time, and so is Jenna’s second book!

I really like Jenna’s story, I like what I’ve written. I like the second book, but the first needs work. (Though I did have a moment of re-reading it last summer when I did this thing I do when I’m reading a book I really like where I move from spot to spot in the house without stopping reading at all. That was a great moment.) So I need to make some big sweeping changes and that is what I’m going to try to tackle this April.

It doesn’t make me a bad author or a lazy author or a good author. It just means I’m trying to use the tools that work for me. NaNo is a tool that works for me. I’d be silly to not use the tools that work for me.