Writing Prompt: Hack the future!

I’ve been talking about spam and hacking and the future a lot. I’m obviously not alone. But in addition to the really huge ways the world will change (and it will, health care is in for a giant change in the next decade or so), the world will change in a lot of tiny ways.

Automation is going to become a bigger, more powerful, and hopefully…eventually…more intuitive and user-friendly thing. Things like Amazon’s dash buttons will become more common. APIs, workflow, automation, so many components come together to make our lives simpler.

So…what are the small things we’ll see in the future? The things we do now without thinking about? The things that are tedious and dull that we still do like monsters of an old era that we will eventually automate away? That we will glide past without a second thought? What will a day look like in a way we can’t even guess now? What does the future of amazon dash? other automation tools? Physical automation integrated with digital tools?

 

 

S2.5 The Senior Guy Did Not Like Being Alone in the Office After Midnight

The Senior Guy Did Not Like Being Alone In The Office After Midnight by Mary Clemons

 

Mary has spent many years in the software industry watching a great deal of interesting things which are both good and bad.  After the last episode of undesirable activities in the workplace, she decided it was time to leave the office and put her fingers back to work documenting what she’s seen and experienced instead of writing down the steps to enter data into software applications.  She would love to go back to getting paid by a corporation but is very wary of who she will have to deal with this time.  Plus, she’s getting too old for the hijinks and silliness required to withstand an open cubicle plan and next time her cubicle-mates are going to see a slightly more stern version that will say the following “time to work” to others.

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Random Roundup

Mostly not of this earth, but a little of this earth. Just a normal random roundup.

Also humans.

Fire, watch it burn - from Pixabay
Fire, watch it burn – from Pixabay

Not of this Earth

Planetary rings are incredibly beautiful. They may be the remnants of the destruction of dwarf planets.

The rings are pieces of Dwarf Planets that got torn off in passing, which were then ripped to pieces!

Juno – I don’t care how old this is – is out of safe mode and awesome. NASA is awesome. Humans managed to send tiny hunks of metal, plastic, and glass and throw them super hard and whoop they went out into space and made pictures of planets that we can see (and that we can’t) as just little specks of light. Humans. Can. Be. Awesome. Then again, robots are the ones doing the hard work. Packing up, leaving home, journeying through potentially lethal and unknown space to explore the universe. Didn’t humans used to talk about going out and exploring? Now we just let robots have all the glory?

At least that will be another reason for AI to not want to bother to destroy us. If you write about AI I can’t recommend this enough.

The true understanding of natural language, the breadth and generality of human intelligence, our ability to both play Go and cross the street and make a decent omelet—that variety is the hallmark of human intelligence and all we’ve done today is develop narrow savants that can do one little thing super well.

A quick funny – sort of funny?

Whatever public works is important. Or pay the troll!

Spring Roundup

Spring is here and so I’ve done a spring roundup. Well they are vaguely tied to spring in my head. Emotional intensity, sensory experience, creativity, and of course SMBHs. (What don’t you think of Super Massive Black Holes when you think of spring?)

Reading YA and introverts and emotions

Jocelyn at 52 Letters has a great post about seeing yourself in characters, about emotional reactions, and about the way we expect our characters to be. I highly recommend it.

I’m not sure I have all my thoughts wrangled together on this yet so I may end up looping back to it.

Senses

Computer Generated Logos not entirely a creative AI but similar I think. (There is also an Atlas of Potential Nations, which generates country names and flags.)

Listen – Table Top Audio is a cool audio tool for listening to audio with a specific ambience. Designed for tabletop gaming, but works incredibly well for writing too. (I’ve actually been loving Thunderspace an app for the iphone for rainstorm sounds as well.)

Taste and Smell? – The future of gardening? I really try to keep myself aware of the range of the future. I know I have talked excitedly about the future of ponytail holders. (Because yes, I am the dullest person ever…shut up.) There seems to be a tendency to focus on some of the big things with technology, but it pervades everything, including gardening. I know there are the fancy indoor gardens (which I’m not convinced I could keep alive) but these little pods seem like another step along the path to the future in another way.

Creativity, the brain, and practice

Creativity and the 10,000 hours thing

So in reading this I’m not entirely sure I understand it. I want to say I disagree but I don’t feel like that’s the right phrase, if this is what the science shows then …who am I to disagree. But it sort of doesn’t seem like what he’s saying is entirely backed up.

the techniques of deliberate practice are most applicable to “highly developed fields” such as chess, sports, and musical performance

But is snowboarding a much more highly developed field than civil engineers? Are musicians not creative?

Supermassives

Supermassive Black Holes are spinning the same way

This was a cool story about the possible reasons that supermassive black holes (SMBHs) at the center of the galaxies appear to all spin the same direction. Early fluctuations of the universe seem entirely reasonable for this, but hopefully this can also give us more insight in the long term into the early universe.

Local Robots

What robots have you interacted with recently? Ever? What are your local robots?

I’ve been talking to people and looking at robots a lot lately, when most people talk about robots they talk about they are thinking of Asimo.

Generic robot drawing
Not your local robot.

 

Your local robots might include

  • Vending machines
  • Roombas
  • Drink vending
  • Car washes
  • ATMs
  • Redbox
  • Self-checkout
  • Which did I forget?

It really seems like once we get used to a robot we call it something else and just assume it is part of our life and always will be. We forget that it is fancy. (Hello cars, nice to see you.) We forget we live in the future. That we live in a world where things that seem like magic happen all the time.

We sort of find those things fading into the background. This will continue to happen into the future too. In 10 years will people even think about the fact that they get into cars that drive themselves around?

I’ve been thinking about the Wonder as a subgenre idea from Writing Excuses (entirely worth a listen). We (humans) loose wonder really fast. I went to the grocery store this morning and used the self-checkout. The regular checkout is sort of magical enough. You wave a bunch of stripes of black over a laser and it tells you how much it costs, tells the store all kinds of information like when it was bought and should they order more. When you are done, you pass a tiny little magnetic strip and the store calls your bank and takes money from your account. And now I can do all that without talking to a person? Bag my groceries and be on my way quickly? (Yes I’m an introvert, was that unclear?) But it doesn’t even seem fancy. We want the self-checkout to always get things right, the roomba isn’t good enough if it had to go back to recharge before finishing the job of robot maiding. Our fancy robots are incredible.

You go to the store through a door that magically knows when you are in front of it an opens for you. You get produce that comes from a really long place away. The produce mister automatically kicks on and off. The self check out. So many things we don’t notice.

Self driving cars, space ships, aliens, all of these can be dull, boring.

(Also this sort of unintentionally leads into my flash fiction piece that comes out on Friday. Tune in on Friday for that!)

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.

Color and Climate Roundup

This isn’t actually about just color and climate, but I they both start with a C? I’m not entirely sure. I just read the whole climate change article and feel overwhelmed.

Colors and words!

Color Thesaurus More words for colors is always a good thing. Plus this is just beautiful.

Nameless colors And taking color in the exact opposite direction is paint that is unnamed.

Writing and AI

Robots Learn Values from Books

Would you want the future of AI to learn from your novels?

The Future of Medicine

Tech and the Future of Medicine

Oh those Canadians! (I love Quirks and Quarks and highly recommend.) Most of these were technologies I’d heard before but it was sort of nice to really have a lot of them in once place and hear some speculation about how it could be used. The future is an amazing place. I look forward to it.

Cli-Fi without the Fi

Millennia of Sea-Level Change

This is not the short version of this. It includes a ton of links and references and charts and all the things.  Which reminds me of the interactive map from NOAA. There are a bunch of other maps out there (I didn’t see any with the brand new data, but it is brand new, if someone did please let me know).