As I’ve implied in my twitter feed and on the main blog on this site, I have a novel writing project going on. Actually I have at least a couple. During the shutdown last fall, I got about 50,000 words into what will be the first book in an epic fantasy series. The writing went smoothly, and the story was evolving nicely, but about the time work resumed, I realized I needed to regroup. The world turned out much larger that I thought. I found myself developing a writing system; a set races; a family of languages; a world map; and a long back history full of natural and man-made disasters. If I just kept type-type-typing, I was going to find myself written into all sorts of corners that were going to require major revisions. Coming from the sciences, I know the pain of “major revisions.” Sometimes it's code for "start over."
But that's not the story I'm writing right now. I new story intervened with characters that said "Write me!" The part of me that listens to the productivity gurus that you don't jump ship on your current project every time a new one seems more enticing. You'll never get anything done if you keep doing that. I’ve been trying to cultivate an attitude of telling myself “That’s a great project. I’ll put it into omnifocus and set its status to ‘on hold’ until this project is done.”
This time was different. The new story involves some of the personal challenges we’re going to face when robots come equipped with fully functional AI. Note I said “when.” I think this is probably going to happen, and there’s no way to know if it’s going happen next year, or in a 100 years. I can’t predict it, all I can say is that progress is moving fast and it’s accelerating. That means that the longer I sit on my idea, the more papers and articles I’m going to have to sift through to make it seem plausible. Also, it’s not going to be “speculative fiction” if some research group manages to do it before the book comes out, and it’s not going to be nearly as interesting. Finally, we're all going to be much better off if we start talking about the ethical, political and personal implications before it starts to happen.
So as I work through the my research for the book, I’ll also share some of what I find on neurology, psychology, consciousness, and robotics, and I’ll also try to put them into a broader context which will be sometimes philosophical, sometimes literary, and sometimes a bit out there. I’ll be putting it in a separate section to keep it from cluttering the parenting, making and fun stuff you see on the main blog,
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