Yesterday Winter bestowed its final insult on my household: It took out the cable.
And I have bundled service, which means I’ve lost television, internet and the land-line phone. If my cellphone didn’t work in the house (and some days, that’s a close thing), I would have no communication at my home.
So, I’ll be taking off on Thursday to wait for the cable guy to come and reconnect my home with the world. Continue reading
I’m shocked and sad to hear about the passing of Aaron Allston yesterday, from heart failure. I personally loved his Doc Sidhe novels (I’m a big Doc Savage fan, on which the Sidhe books were based), and was looking forward to seeing them released as ebooks; but he was better known for his Star Wars novels, set in the SW Extended Universe.
A publisher I’ve recently connected with had a working relationship with Aaron, and I’d hoped it would mean a chance to meet him some time in the next few months. Now, not only am I sad that I missed him… but I’m slightly alarmed, as he happened to be the same age as me (something I’ll unfortunately be thinking a lot about, as I shovel the latest batch of snow from my driveway today).
My thoughts are with his friends, family and colleagues. Sorry I never had the chance to meet the guy.
I’ve pontificated on robots as tools, slaves and devils. I’ve discussed the possibility of robot sentience. Now it’s time to talk about the real issue: Whether robots will ever become satisfactory replacements for humans… including as companions, and even love interests. Continue reading
This weekend, I finally had the chance to see American Hustle, which I greatly enjoyed. (Yes, my movies don’t all have to have robots and alternate universes in them.) The movie featured a gross ton of class acting, even in the bit parts (De Niro! Zerbe!), and the story was a lot of fun all around.
But when it was over, it occurred to me that one of the reasons that so many of these actors (and the movie) were on the short list for Oscars this year, was the preponderance of over-the-top characters. And I wondered if that was something I needed to think more about. Continue reading
Robot. Sentience. They are two words that, when considered at the surface, don’t seem to be able to go together. After all, a robot is a mechanical creation, generally considered incapable of sentience, or full self-awareness. We specifically use the word “robot” to imply that the machine cannot have sentience; a robot is a clockwork thing.
When we try to suggest that a mechanical creation has sentience, we tend to immediately rename it. Cyborg. Android. Replicant. Synthezoid. We distance ourselves from the word “robot,” and seek to redefine the creation to stand for something beyond its mechanical parts.
Is it because we want to keep the concept of “robots” as simple things? Or is it because we see sentience as being beyond mechanical creations? Do we see sentience as requiring some special spark that robots are incapable of? Continue reading