My decision to lay off novel-writing, since I could not work out the promotional end of selling the books, has led to a common (and predictable) reaction from many of my friends and relatives, to wit: Since I enjoy writing, I should keep writing anyway, just for my own satisfaction. The idea that creation is its own reward is ingrained in the thoughts of modern society, as well as the essentially honorable concept of the “starving artist.”
And though I, myself, bought into these ideas for years, I find that I can’t get behind them the way I used to. And it’s not because I get no satisfaction from creating; I do, in fact, enjoy the process of writing and creating a good story. But since giving up novel writing, I’ve found that I’ve had to cage up a tiny demon in the back of my head, one that has become a constant distraction to me. He’s not my creative demon. He’s my analytical demon. And he demands to know what I so thoroughly fucked up. Continue reading
Some of you are probably aware that Google has been testing a self-driving car on California streets since last year. (Check out a few videos if you’re interested.) They believe they have progressed far enough in their tests that they have gone to the Nevada legislature to legally allow their cars on Nevada roads… and that they earn an exemption from the law prohibiting texting while driving.
There’s nothing new about the concept of the self-driven car; science fiction has been toying with them for decades, of course. But with the latest in sensor systems being applied to digital roadmaps and image recognition technology, cars are learning to recognize roads and hazards and direct themselves. As a 2010 NY Times article put it: “Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated.”
I’m not sure whether the Google car is really ready for prime time, but I do think it’s a step in the right direction. Continue reading