Pixel Scroll 3/15/16 At The Age of 37, She Realized She’d Never Scroll Through Paris With The Warm Pixels In Her Hair

(1) THE MAN WHO WOULD BE WHO. An actor who’s already accumulated a lot of experience traveling in time one day in front of the next has his eye on the prize. Metro News says “Brian Blessed wants to be the next Doctor Who after Peter Capaldi”

The actor, who is fast approaching the ripe old age of 80, has been speaking to Calibre magazine about his desire to be the next Time Lord after Peter Capaldi; he said:

‘I would love to play the Doctor, absolutely!’

Doctor Who fans may remember Blessed as King Ycarnos in 1986’s The Trial Of A Time Lord, where his character went on to marry the Sixth Doctor’s companion, Peri.

If Blessed were to become the next Doctor, he would be the oldest actor to do so, with some twenty years on current TARDIS pilot Capaldi.

(2) BEANS IN SPACE. Whereas the poster for the Australian competition referenced Mad Max: Fury Road, the “2016 Hungarian Aeropress Championship” post goes with a Star Wars icon.

Hungarian aeropress championship COMP

Fast circulating rumours, perhaps with the assistance of a HyperDrive, are suggesting the coffee has been sourced by coffee’s home planet of Alderaan. Unfortunately these rumours have been denied by Ewoks on the forrest moon of Endor who have hand-picked all the rainforest alliance coffee. The variety of the coffee is mostly heirloom, sometimes also know as Degu(bah) and is famous for having very high midi-chorian levels, but low caffeine.  The coffee was fermented and de-pulped in the now re-purposed garbage disposal units on the detention level of the Death Star. That’s enough lame Star Wars references for now i think…

(3) HPL ON THE AUCTION BLOCK. FineBooks & Collections reports “Found: Lovecraft-Houdini Manuscript”.

Whispered about by hopeful collectors and scholars for decades, the manuscript of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Cancer of Superstition, commisssioned and co-written by magician Harry Houdini, has finally come to light. It was rather incredibly “discovered by a private collector among the records of a now-defunct magic shop,” according to Chicago’s Potter & Potter Auctions, which will auction the 31-page typewritten story on April 9.

A brief description of the manuscript is provided in the Potter & Potter auction catalog available for download here [PDF file]. The bidding will open at lucky $13,000….

(4) OCTAVIA BUTLER. From Southern California Public Radio, “The life and legacy of Octavia Butler – and 5 stories you should read”.

It’s been a decade since science fiction writer Octavia Butler passed away.

The California native fell in love with storytelling as a kid at the Pasadena Library, and later grew up to be the only sci-fi writer to receive a MacArthur Genius Fellowship. She was also the first African American woman in the genre to achieve international fame.

According to her friend and fellow writer Steven Barnes, Butler anticipated the challenges of presenting black characters in her stories.

“In her early novels, they would put green people or aliens on the covers of her books,” Barnes said.

“Or blond, white women,” added Tananarive Due, also a friend of Butler’s.

As a teacher and another African American female author, Due knows firsthand how influential Butler’s work is.

“I wish I had discovered Octavia’s work when I was a learning writer,” Due said. “When I wrote my first novel, I had no idea whether or not there would be an audience for speculative fiction — speculative fiction being science fiction, fantasy or horror novel — with black characters, you know, not necessarily intended for black readers.”

(5) JONESING. Everyone who’s still alive in 2019 can see if the iconic star of the Indiana Jones movies can claim the same. The Walt Disney Company announces, “Spielberg and Ford Reunite as Indiana Jones Returns to Theaters July 19, 2019”.

Indiana Jones will return to the big screen on July 19, 2019, for a fifth epic adventure in the blockbuster series. Steven Spielberg, who directed all four previous films, will helm the as-yet-untitled project with star Harrison Ford reprising his iconic role. Franchise veterans Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall will produce.

“Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history, and we can’t wait to bring him back to the screen in 2019,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “It’s rare to have such a perfect combination of director, producers, actor and role, and we couldn’t be more excited to embark on this adventure with Harrison and Steven.”

(6) GAVEL RAPPER. Kevin Standlee says a Business Meeting chair has “No Magic Bullets”. Nor any other kind, to be sure.

A couple of days ago, I got into a conversation on billroper‘s LJ about the “Heckler’s Veto” and that led to me thinking about something that had worried me about running the WSFS Business Meeting. After all, the entire meeting process, and parliamentary procedure itself, assumes that the people gathering actually are willing to play by the rules. If a significant number of the people showing up won’t play by the rules, the meeting will dissolve. It would be like a bunch of football players deciding during a match that they don’t like the rule book and that they can ignore the officials and do anything they want. There’s not a lot the officials can do in that case, other than leave.

I did give a lot of thought to this approaching the 2015 WSFS Business Meeting, what with doomsday scenarios of thousands of people overrunning the meeting and refusing to obey any rules and shouting down anything they didn’t like and generally causing chaos. I concluded that a meeting whose members refuse to follow their own rules is not a meeting, but a mob, and I’m not chairing a mob. Had such a thing happened, I would have ordered the meeting adjourned “at the call of the chair” and turned to the convention for help. The convention would then in turn have had to ask the convention security to clear the area, and potentially even call the police if non-members (including any people who had their memberships revoked) refused to leave on their own accord.

(7) TO HAL WITH IT. 2001 A Space Odyssey: A Look Behind the Future is a 1960s promotional film. The 10-minute color documentary includes production of props, revolving spaceship set, etc.

(8) CURRENT EVENTS. A much more recent sf film will also be the subject of a documentary: Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey.  It will be a bonus on the movie’s Blu-Ray disc, to be released April 5.

(9) GROWING UP AI. At The Way Finder, Hugh C. Howey says he has observed “The Birth of Artificial Intelligence”.

…This was not the week, however, that AI was born. This was the week that I realized that AI was born quite some time ago…..

It’s in the early years of human development where I think we can see the current state of AI being somewhere post-birth and yet pre-awareness. But the development of strong AI will have incredible advantages over the human acquisition of general intelligence. This arise from the modular nature of intelligence.

Our brains are not one big thinking engine; they are collections of hundreds of individual engines, each of which develop at different rates. What’s amazing about AI is that the learning does not need to be done twice for every module. When we build a chess-playing module, and a Go-playing module, and a Jeopardy-playing module, all of these can be “plugged in” to our general AI. Our baby girl is growing every day, and thousands of people are pouring billions of dollars of research into her education. We, the general public, are contributing with petabytes of data. It is already happening, and we won’t even recognize when our first daughter graduates into strong AI. Every day will be — as parents know — one small miracle added to the last, a succession of amazing little first steps that result in them going off to college and being their own person.

Each headline you read is us — as collective parents — gasping to our spouse at what our baby girl just did for the first time.

Google has already taught our daughter to drive a car. Amazon is doing amazing things with their Alexa device, creating the beginnings of the virtual assistant seen in Her. IBM is building the best medical mind the field has ever known. In the last five years, AI has taken strides that even the optimistic find startling. The next five years will see similar advances. And this progress will only accelerate, because we’re operating in the realm of Moore’s Law. We are building the tools that help us build faster tools, which help us build faster tools.

(10) IRENE LARSEN OBIT. Magic Castle co-founder Irene Larsen died February 25 reports Variety.

Irene Larsen, co-founder of the Academy of Magical Arts and the private clubhouse the Magic Castle, died unexpectedly on Thursday morning at her Los Angeles home. She was 79.

After she assisted her late husband William “Bill” Larsen Jr. in his various magic acts for years, the two launched the Magic Castle together in 1963. Larsen’s dedication to the role of ambassador of magic helped elevate the AMA to an internationally renowned and respected organization within the art’s community.

(11) WRITING WHILE WAITING FOR THE EMERGENCY. Amanda S. Green’s “Putting things into perspective” at Mad Genius Club demonstrates how a professional writer honors her real-life priorities — a friend’s health and her writing commitments .

…One of my oldest and dearest friends is facing a challenge the vast majority of us will only ever read about. She is going to need me with her as she faces this challenge. Even if she hadn’t asked, I would be there for her. Why? Because she has always been there for me and mine.

That’s what friends and family do. You rally around those you care about.

But, when you do, work is impacted.

I know that the next few weeks and months will see us waiting for the shoe to drop. In some ways, it will be like those last weeks of pregnancy. A bag will be packed, the gas tank filled and we will all be waiting for the phone to ring to tell us it is time to leave. No, not a bug-out, at least not in a Ringo-esque sort of way. This is the call to get to the hospital within a certain amount of time. The clock is ticking and it is very loud….

It has also meant changing what I have with me at any time. I’ve always had my phone and a small notepad squirreled away in my purse in case I needed to make a note about something. Smart phones are great for being able to use for dictation and look up things, etc. Now, however, the small purse — my preference — has been traded for a larger one. The smartphone and pad have been joined by my Surface Pro 3, stylus and charger. Why? Because the SP3 gives me everything my laptop does but at a fraction of the weight. The screen, while small, is still larger than my Android tablet and the keyboard is much better than the virtual keyboard on the Android. Add in the thumb drive with all my working files and I have my office on the go….

The result has been that I can and have been getting the job done despite the worry that is constantly there right now. I am working hard to not only meet the schedule I set for myself at the beginning of the year but to get ahead. I want that cushion for the day when we get the call telling us it is time to meet my friends at the hospital. I want to be able to be there for them and not worry about falling behind on “work”. I need to know that I am keeping with my schedule so the money can and will keep coming in. I need to know that, no matter what the time of day or day of the week, I am able to continue working without worry about where I happen to be….

(12) COMIC-CON HQ TO LAUNCH. San Diego’s Comic-Con International will brand a video-on-demand service.

The Hollywood Reporter: “Lionsgate, Comic-Con Set Launch Date for Streaming Service”

Lionsgate and Comic-Con International will launch Comic-Con HQ, their newly-named fanboy streamer, on May 7, ahead of an official launch in June. The subscription video-on-demand service will have a soft launch in May, with an official bow to follow in June in the lead up to Comic-Con International: San Diego in July.

Deadline: “Lionsgate & Comic-Con’s SVOD Channel Comic-Con HQ Sets Launch Date”

The ad-free streaming service will feature “an evolving slate of programming including original scripted and unscripted series, recurring daily and weekly entertainment commentary, plus unique access to a growing library of live and archival programming from their world-class events, a highly-curated selection of film and TV genre titles, and behind-the-scenes access and bonus features from genre titles that defy and define pop culture,” per the announcement.

Variety: “Lionsgate to Launch Comic-Con Channel in May”

Monday’s announcement disclosed that gaming personality Adam Sessler, former host of G4’s X-Play, will executive produce programs on comics, science and gaming, along with hosting his own interview series. Other formats being developed include a general pop culture news show, a late-night talk show, a weekly movie talk in partnership with Complex’s Collider and an all-female panel on pop culture from women’s perspectives.

(13) ONCE AROUND THE BLOCK. Mr. Sci-Fi has something to say about the Paramount/CBS suit against the maker of Axanar.

Sci-Fi Writer-Producer Marc Zicree discusses Paramount’s lawsuit against Star Trek Axanar and puts it in context with the long history of science fiction fan fiction and fan films — and suggests several possible win-win strategies for a successful outcome.

 

[Thanks to Will R., Steven Johnson, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

148 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/15/16 At The Age of 37, She Realized She’d Never Scroll Through Paris With The Warm Pixels In Her Hair

  1. Note: From what I see, Chasing the Phoenix by Michael Swanwick is eligible for this year’s Hugos.

    That is all.

  2. Delurking to recommend Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It’s an adventure with lots of twists and turns. It is the first in a series, but I didn’t feel annoyed at the end as I usually do with To-Be-Continued because I won’t have to read this book again to enjoy the next. There are only a few characters to remember and the world isn’t too complex to remember.

    I started Emma Newman’s Planetfall and got a bit annoyed by the constant allusions to Big Secrets, so I read the end. Wow! I probably should read the middle.

    Started Barsk, but it didn’t grab me. Darn. I thought I would love anything elephanty.

  3. Darren Garrison is quite right about the definition of intelligence being unclear in practice for both humans and machines. To a large extent, this is due to the fact that every time we teach a machine to do something we considered intelligent, we redefine the nature of that task. Multiplication was one such task — back in the 19th century.

  4. Hey, since we talk about books on fascinating and neglected parts of history from time to time, anyone want to recommend me a good book on pre-colonial sub-Saharan Africa? The Lost Cities of Africa is a fine work, but it’s 56 years old now, and there’s got to be something more recent out there somewhere. I’ve been checking the history sections at local bookstores for years and coming up empty.

  5. @GSLamb
    So happy to hear you’ve been released. May you continue to feel better. May our bags sit rarely needed.

    The gallbladder isn’t taking kindly to the cold I caught but otherwise it’s counting down the days to removal – less than 30!! Pre-op testing scheduled 2 weeks before. Extra help for Passover prep arranged.

  6. Petréa Mitchell on March 16, 2016 at 11:05 am said:

    “The Lost Cities of Africa is a fine work, but it’s 56 years old now, and there’s got to be something more recent out there somewhere. I’ve been checking the history sections at local bookstores for years and coming up empty.”

    One though: Go to your local library, find LC or Dewey shelving code and see what might be near such a code.

  7. Darren Garrison is quite right about the definition of intelligence being unclear in practice for both humans and machines. To a large extent, this is due to the fact that every time we teach a machine to do something we considered intelligent, we redefine the nature of that task. Multiplication was one such task — back in the 19th century.

    Book recommendation time, on the subject of “IQ”: IQ: A Smart History of a Failed Idea by Stephen Murdoch. Along with discussing some of the problems with considering “intelligence” to be some linear trait definable by a number, it also goes into the history of IQ testing–much of the basics of IQ testing developed from tests given to new immigrants to the US to determine whether to let them in or ship ’em back where they came from. Lots of the questions in the past (and likely still today) rely on cultural knowledge. For instance, immigrants might be asked which has a larger area, a cricket field or a squash court. Can’t answer that? Well, you are too dumb to do simple math, back you go! Never having heard or cricket or squash isn’t taken into consideration. (Not an actual example from the book, which I don’t have at-hand to refresh my memory from, but similar real examples are in the book.)

  8. Ha! I submitted my Hugo nominations. An exhilarating process. I read far more current science fiction and fantasy this past year than i usually do, and I don’t regret the change in my reading patterns at all.

  9. Abstract of the Tully monster article.

    The authors say that their phylogenetic analysis places it on the stem-lineage of lampreys. That means, I guess, that it would be fair to call it a “lamprey”, keeping in mind that it did not have some of the characteristics of modern lampreys, such as a parasitic sucking lifestyle. Who knows what that long proboscis was used for?

    Maybe another phylogenetic study would place it closer to other jawless fishes, but it does sound to be clearly a vertebrate. Possibly the weirdest one of all time, beating out such favorites as the whorl-toothed shark Helicoprion.

  10. @Kendall

    I didn’t care for Miss Peregrine I enjoyed the beginning but when our hero finds the eponymous characters, I was disappointed with everything that happens from this point forward. Also, IMHO the book doesn’t end, it simply stops. This made me even more disappointed that I had slogged all the way through it only to be denied any sort of ending. The book wasn’t terrible but I don’t understand the great love for it. I was mostly bored. YMMV

    I haven’t watched the trailer as i’m not interested in seeing the movie so I can’t compare them for you .

  11. If people like boarding schools with “gifted” students books, they might try Kim Newman’s The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School. Not quite as reference heavy as Newman’s Anno Dracula books and interesting allusions to possible future stories.

  12. Day 3 of book tour. Not dead. Children have not eaten me. Voice was holding up until the last school, which had a bad microphone, so I had to project to an auditorium. (I could actually feel my throat go when I started–was like scraping a knee or something.) Publisher says to bill hot toddy to them.

    No really weird questions yet, although I did like “What would you be if you couldn’t be any of the things you wanted to be?” “Uh…miserable?”

  13. Los Angeles public library says Davidson’s Lost Cities of Africa is in Dewey 939.7.

  14. @RedWombat

    Sorry about your voice. I also feel terrible for that kid. I hope that was just their way of wording “If you weren’t writing what would you be?” and not a “I have no hope of ever doing anything I dream of” type of issue.

  15. 1. While I, like all right-thinking people, adore BRIAN BLESSED! I fear he’s too old for the role. To be the Doctor, you have to run a LOT. The interview with Capaldi a few days ago mentioned that — he doesn’t have to hit the gym because he’s always running, and he tore up a knee during the last series. I can’t see Blessed running down hallways. However, they need to find him a guest role STAT.

    9. Lack of sleep and swooning over first child hormones have set in for Mr. Howey, I fear. Steve and Greg are correct (and I say this with all the authority of someone who worked on AI for 8 months in the 80’s 😉 ).

    Speaking of that, last week’s “Elementary”, loosely based on “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, had n ebobg pybfryl onfrq ba Ovt Qbt ol Obfgba Ebobgvpf, juvpu cynlrq gur ebyr bs gur tybjvat ubhaq jub punfrq Onfxreivyyr gb uvf qrngu. Vg unq n uhzna bcrengbe, gubhtu. Gurer jnf nyfb n erq terra ureevat bs na npghny qbt jub unq wryylsvfu trarf naq guhf tybjrq va gur qnex, ohg ur jnf va gur xraary qhevat gur zheqre.

    Who was mentioned on Limitless, darn it? Just tell us.

    I found “Barsk” got worse as it went on. I’d been so looking forward to it, and it didn’t stick the ending or even anything past about halfway. I’m serious, if it gets on the ballot, I’m voting it below NA on merit. I should NOT be hoping the villains win 2/3 of the way through. But they were more interesting and less annoying.

    @RedWombat: Did you spread the gospel of gardening to the kids?

  16. Who was mentioned on Limitless, darn it? Just tell us.

    Ur arrqrq gb oevor n Ehffvna bssvpvny jub jnf n sna bs N Fbat bs Vpr naq Sver. Lbh’yy abgvpr gung gur nhgube’f anzr vf qvfgvapgvir rira jura lbh chg vg guebhtu ebg13.pbz

  17. I wish to protest to whatever deities may be involved regarding the disintegration of the cunningly designed add on modular storage system currently covering most of my bedroom floor, along with all of its contents.

    What is the point of being able to create computers to play Go when, at a conservative estimate, it’s going to take me most of a day to put the wretched thing back together again? And that’s on the assumption that I can find the bits that go at the corners of the cubes, which is a pretty large assumption.

    Sadly, I cannot prevaricate on this; I’m on the wrong side of the wreckage to exit my bedroom, other than by the window, and people clambering out of windows tend to catch the eye. And on that somber note I return you to the normal Filer activities, in the hope that your technology is working better than mine.

  18. Thanks, Jack. Well-disguised answer.

    Aaron: “Missy’s ALIIVE!”

    Stevie: the old cinderblock and plywood shelves of our salad days sound better.

  19. Brian Blessed has climbed Everest and Kilimanjaro, and I believe still holds the record for oldest man to reach the North Pole on foot. I think he could handle a corridor chase or two.

  20. Stevie: Alas, I know those feels. But I have learned better and now buy only stodgy but sturdy things.

    One of my older “cool” shelving thingys pulled out of the wall and collapsed in rather impressive stages as I watched last month. Most of the load it was holding has been offloaded to sturdier shelves, and a smaller, less weighty solution will hold what’s left. Still going to take spackling the old holes, though.

  21. To be the Doctor, you have to run a LOT.

    Nah, just run partway down the only corridor you’ve got the budget for then stop for exposition.

    Just give Blessed wings and let him fly everywhere.

    Or that.

  22. @lurkertype

    I found “Barsk” got worse as it went on. I’d been so looking forward to it, and it didn’t stick the ending or even anything past about halfway. I’m serious, if it gets on the ballot, I’m voting it below NA on merit. I should NOT be hoping the villains win 2/3 of the way through. But they were more interesting and less annoying.

    I have to agree. If I rated Barsk the way I rate short stories, I’ve give it three stars (average), which would mean that I would rank it, but below No Award. (One and two-star stories don’t get ranked at all.)

    There was nothing really wrong with Barsk–but nothing really special about it either. Certainly nothing to justify the huge amounts of love it got from the SFWA. And the “big reveal” was no surprise. Not for me, anyway.

  23. @Stevie

    What is the point of being able to create computers to play Go when, at a conservative estimate, it’s going to take me most of a day to put the wretched thing back together again?

    I was excited for a while about creating practical dialogue systems, which are programs that can hold a conversation, provided you stick to the task they understand. In your case, I’m not sure a conversation would help (you need video), but for a lot of tasks, people would really like to explain the issues to someone capable of parsing a sentence.

    I successfully built one that could offer advice about making potions in the “Oblivion” video game. I had the interest of an Amazon VP, where the goal would have been to build something that customers could query regarding books they were interested in. (He left the company before I did, so nothing came of it.)

    But your question is a good one. The point of any of this AI stuff is lost if ordinary people cannot benefit from it–one way or another.

  24. Greg

    I probably don’t need a video since I put it together myself, following instructions, and it worked for quite some time before disaster struck.

    What I didn’t realise was that the load bearing quoted was, striving to be kind here, supremely optimistic. As a computer aided design, it sucks. And yes, I agree entirely with your final comment…

  25. lurkertype: I found “Barsk” got worse as it went on. I’d been so looking forward to it, and it didn’t stick the ending or even anything past about halfway. I’m serious, if it gets on the ballot, I’m voting it below NA on merit.

    I just read Barsk a couple of days ago. I really love Schoen’s Conroyverse stories, so I had very high hopes for this novel. Fortunately, enough Filers had commented here on their opinion that I had scaled my expectations way back and thus avoided crushing disappointment upon reading it.

    There were some really interesting aspects in the worldbuilding, and some really clever plot points. But overall, I felt that it was clunky and forced. I’m usually a really generous reader when it comes to willing suspension of disbelief, but I found the main premise of the book utterly unbelievable, which no doubt affect my enjoyment of the rest of it.

  26. @nickpheas, A totally quick and superficial scan of the covers and titles suggests that this Humble Bundle collection is, um, very dark.

  27. @Greg Hullender

    If after the third reply it started to tell who it was working with to read the fucking wiki you might have been on to something.

  28. An AI that would ask “Is it plugged in?” “Have you turned it off and on?” “RTFM” and “read the wiki” would be useful before it gets to a real person. The AI presumably wouldn’t suffer from the need to strangle the customer. We hope.

    @JJ: Exactly my feelings. I had such hope, loving the short stories and novellas (Buffalitos and others), but then the premise… I’d buy midichlorians before I’d buy that. Then the thing just got worse and worse as it went on until I wanted it to be over, preferably with the hero’s painful death and possibly the extinction of his entire species. The rest of the universe sounded much more interesting and I’d rather have seen more of that and the other species. Sadly, I read it before any of my friends or Filers had, so my expectations plummeted at some noticeable fraction of the speed of light and crashed very hard.

    TL;DR: I hated “Barsk” A LOT.

  29. @Darren Garrison: Thanks, and yes, I saw there are two sequels. I only ordered the first book, in case the writing and “found photo” gimmick doesn’t work for us. That’s a great photo, BTW. I have a bunch of photos from my aunt and uncle that I still need to triage for my parents, my siblings, and I to do . . . something with. :-/

    @Ita: Gah, why did you spoil your own book?! Read the rest of Planetfall now! 😉 Thanks for the comments on Illuminae. When I read about it a while back, it sounded possibly interesting and definitely gimmicky, and a little too YA for me, but it catches my eye occasionally, so I may give the sample a shot at some point.

    @Darren Garrison, Part II: Your Smithsonian link didn’t work for me (page not found, complete with sad panda!), but the National Geographic one did, and had an amusing comment on it – “Go home Evolution, you’re drunk!” (someone commenting on the bizarre artist’s rendition).

    @World Weary: Thanks for the “Peregrine” impressions. I told my other half I wasn’t sure the writing style was for me, as I’d glanced at it quite some time ago, but it’s still on my list to take another look at, so I didn’t fight the “Buy now!” order. 😉 We’ll see.

    @Jack Lint: Thanks; I’ve sent a link to the Kim Newman book to my better half. The sequence so far was (a) saw trailer, (b) hey there’s a book, (c) KENDALL BUY THIS, but Newman’s book may also spark some interest. I think there’s a definite movie/TV connection going on, though; the Shannara TV show sparked a re-read (still in early stages) of the original books (he’s in book 1; I bought the audiobooks but haven’t started them yet). Who says TV/movies don’t lead people (back) to books? 😉

  30. lurkertype on March 16, 2016 at 8:20 pm said:
    An AI that would ask “Is it plugged in?” “Have you turned it off and on?” “RTFM” and “read the wiki” would be useful before it gets to a real person. The AI presumably wouldn’t suffer from the need to strangle the customer. We hope.

    And this is how the machine uprising begins.

  31. I’ve recently had several conversations with entities I’m only about 99.44% sure were computers. If they were human beings, they had amazing script disciple and tone control. If they were computers, they had equally amazing natural-sound speech with real expression, and an impressive ability to respond to unscripted human input and flexibility of response.

    It left me somewhat creeper out, and yet feeling no actual need to demand a human being on account of the computer not being able to give me the response I needed.

    Not sure what to think or feel about it.

  32. I didn’t hate Barsk, but I wouldn’t rate it award worthy. That kid who felt no pain running loose in the jungle? He would be dead long before the story started. Arboreal elephantoids? Give me a break. Far too many implausibilities. I liked the protagonist and the kid well enough to finish the book, but I won’t look for other works by this author.

  33. Valley Forge NASFIC Bid: we will not prohibit anyone with a valid Pennsylvania concealed carry permit from carrying a firearm in accordance with all relevant laws and statutes, so long as you keep the weapon concealed. If you brandish, flash, or otherwise display your firearm, you will be in violation of this code of conduct.

    WHAT. THE. FUCKING. FUCK.

    Yeah, nah, I won’t be supporting any con bid that prioritizes the concealed carry rights of their attendees over the safety of their attendees. And I’ll be encouraging all my friends not to support that bid, either.

    I’m sure that it will be a huge comfort to any attendee who is wounded or killed by a nutjob carrying a weapon at Valley Forge that their assailant will be found to be in violation of the con’s Code of Conduct.

    That this sort of stupidity is endorsed by the concom for what would be the North American Worldcon in 2017 is just unfathomable to me.

  34. Lis: I have heard of call centres where the staff are fluent in English but their accents are so different from the customer base that they use canned responses, the worker quickly pressing the appropriate button to call up the response.

  35. The ones that irritate me are the canned coldcalls that, when you say “are you a computer/are you a robot” give a little laugh and say “I get that a lot”…. If I’m not sure, I ask them their favorite color. Heh.

  36. Brightglance, that’s certainly a possibility.

    Cassy, if enough of us do that, they’ll have to program the computers to tell us what their favorite color is.

  37. @Lis So everyone should pick a different challenge question?

    The reaction to something like “What’s your mother’s maiden name?” might be interesting…

    But I have never had a call where I was in doubt to a point that I cared whether it was a human that called me or not. If I break the rhythm of the conversation and they don’t adjust, I don’t care whether it is a recording or a human with a script, they are wasting my time and I feel free to hang up.

  38. I’ve recently had several conversations with entities I’m only about 99.44% sure were computers. If they were human beings, they had amazing script disciple and tone control. If they were computers, they had equally amazing natural-sound speech with real expression, and an impressive ability to respond to unscripted human input and flexibility of response.

    Should’ve asked them how they felt about their mothers.

    (On a related note, I recently–for some reason–imagined a parody cross-over between Bladerunner and BSG titled Cylons of the Lambs, momentarily thought that would be a great Pixel Scroll title, then googled to discover that The Internet had already thought of the pun. Damn you, The Internet!

  39. they’ll have to program the computers to tell us what their favorite color is

    “I used to like Bondi Blue, but I’m more into brushed-aluminium these days….”

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