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Tagged with “book:author” (34)

  1. Psychohistory: Isaac Asimov and guiding the future

    100 years on from Isaac Asimov’s birth, Matthew Sweet looks at one of the bigger ideas contained in some of his 500 books; Psychohistory.

    The idea, from Asimov’s Foundation series, was that rather like the behaviour of a gas could be reduced to statistical probabilities of the behaviour of billions of molecules, so the history of billions of human beings across the fictional galactic empire could be predicted through a few laws he called ‘Psychohistory’.

    The idea inspired many to think that social sciences and economics can really be reduced to some sort of idealized set of physics principles, making future events completely predictable. It and similar ideas are still breeding enthusiasm for such things as data science, AI, machine learning, and arguably even the recent job advert by Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings for more ‘Super-Talented Wierdos’ to work for government. But how do we see what is real and what is not, what is Sci-Fi and what is hype, what is reasonable and what is desirable, in the gaps between innovation and inspiration, restraint and responsibility?

    Jack Stilgoe of University College London has a new book out ‘Who’s Driving Innovation?’. Science and Tech journalist Gemma Milne’s forthcoming book is called ‘Smoke and Mirrors: How hype obscures the future and How to see past it’. Una McCormack is an expert on science fiction writing at Anglia Ruskin University, and Alexander Boxer is a data scientist who’s new book ‘Scheme of Heaven’ makes the case that we have much to learn about human efforts to deduce the future from observable events by looking at the history of Astrology, its aims and techniques.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p080lvrb

    —Huffduffed by neil

  2. Marcus du Sautoy and James Bridle – books podcast

    On this week’s show, we’re exploring infinity and beyond with artist and writer James Bridle and mathematician Marcus du Sautoy.

    Through his visual art and writings on technology and culture, James Bridle has been at the forefront of our understanding of tech for the last decade – and from his perspective, the view of our future is both exciting and gloomy. He sat down with the Guardian’s technology reporter Alex Hern to talk about his book, New Dark Age.

    Limits are grist to the mill for Marcus du Sautoy, professor of public understanding of science at Oxford University. His mission is to explore – and if possible, explain – the unknown, so following hot on the heels of his bestselling book What We Cannot Know, is How to Count to Infinity. Meeting with Richard Lea at the Hay festival, Du Sautoy explained how a German mathematician first proved the existence of infinity in 1874, and what the concept means for our understanding of the universe.

    —Huffduffed by neil

  3. James Bridle: The nightmare videos of children’s YouTube — and what’s wrong with the internet today | TED Talk

    Writer and artist James Bridle uncovers a dark, strange corner of the internet, where unknown people or groups on YouTube hack the brains of young children in return for advertising revenue. From "surprise egg" reveals and the "Finger Family Song" to algorithmically created mashups of familiar cartoon characters in violent situations, these videos exploit and terrify young minds — and they tell us something about where our increasingly data-driven world is headed. "We need to stop thinking about technology as a solution to all of our problems, but think of it as a guide to what those problems actually are, so we can start thinking about them properly and start to address them," Bridle says.

    https://www.ted.com/talks/james_bridle_the_nightmare_videos_of_childrens_youtube_and_what_s_wrong_with_the_internet_today

    —Huffduffed by neil

  4. BBC Radio 4 - Great Lives, Series 26, Philip K Dick

    Michael Sheen champions Philip K Dick who has had an influence on his production of Hamlet

    Actor Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon; The Queen; Midnight in Paris) explores the life of Philip K. Dick with Matthew Parris, and explains why he had such a big influence on his recent production of Hamlet.

    Michael first discovered Philip K. Dick through the film Bladerunner, and moved onto his short stories which got him thinking about science-fiction in a new way. Whilst reading about philosophy, quantum physics, and comparative mythology, it struck him how Dick was intuitively weaving narratives around all the most interesting elements that these fields were throwing up.

    He talks about Philip K. Dick’s innate interest in multiples realities, and how they overlap with Sheen’s own family experiences of mental health issues. In fact the more he found out about him, the more he was drawn to this enigmatic writer.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b017wyyc

    —Huffduffed by neil

  5. Ursula Le Guin & Margaret Atwood - Literary Arts

    Ursula Le Guin begins her lecture with Margaret Atwood by saying, “I emailed Margaret about six weeks or so ago and said, ‘What are we going to talk about?’ and she replied, ‘I expect we will talk about 1) What is fiction?; 2) What is science fiction?; 3) The ones who walk away from Omelas—where do they go?; 4) Is the human race doomed?; 5) Anything else that strikes our fancy.’” The two women proceed to examine these questions and talk through their answers. They delve into their writing processes and motives, creating many humorous analogies for the act of writing, whether they connect it to naked chickens, salted slugs, or dark boudoirs.

    Margaret Atwood is a poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, and environmental activist. She has written over 40 books and is best known for her fiction, including The Blind Assassin, which won the Man-Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood has used her public profile to advocate for human rights, the environment, and the welfare of writers. She has been president of PEN International and helped found the Writer’s Trust of Canada. As a public intellectual, Atwood is known as a brilliant thinker on a huge range of subjects who has a wry and ironic sense of humor and who is willing to call out platitudes and other forms of lazy thinking.

    Ursula K. Le Guin sold her first story over 50 years ago and has been writing and publishing ever since. Tackling various modes, including realistic fiction, science fiction, high fantasy, children’s literature, screenplays, and essays, her work has challenged traditional understandings of gender roles, politics, race, and identity. She is best known for her fantasy series Earthsea and her science fiction novel The Left Hand of Darkness. She has influenced several generations of writers, including Junot Díaz, Kelly Link, David Mitchell, and Jonathan Lethem. Throughout her career, she has continuously met criticism with courage, causing one critic to note, “It’s been hard for reviewers to cope with Le Guin. She’s often seemed like a writer without a critical context. But that may just mean that the context is still to come.” Among her many honors, Le Guin has received a National Book Award and, most recently, The National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

    If we knew everything ahead of time, we wouldn’t write the book. It would be paint by numbers and there wouldn’t be any discoveries.” – Margaret Atwood

    “Rereading a book is much better than reading it. A good book reread is better than a good book read.” – Ursula Le Guin

    “All doors are doors to the future, if you go into them.” – Margaret Atwood

    https://literary-arts.org/archive/ursula-le-guin-margaret-atwood/

    —Huffduffed by neil

  6. The Literary Imagination: Jonathan Lethem and Kim Stanley Robinson on the influence of Philip K. Dick - UCTV - University of California Television

    University of California Television provides informational, educational, and enrichment television programming to the public and draws upon the vast intellectual, scientific, and creative talents of the University of California.

    http://www.uctv.tv/shows/The-Literary-Imagination-Jonathan-Lethem-and-Kim-Stanley-Robinson-on-the-influence-of-Philip-K-Dick-25439

    —Huffduffed by neil

  7. The Future: History that Hasn’t Happened Yet - SXSW 2017

    Bruce Sterling - author, journalist, editor, critic, theorist, futurist, and blogger – rattles the future’s bones in his annual SXSW rant. He’s the legendary Cyberpunk Guru. He roams our postmodern planet, from the polychrome tinsel of Los Angeles to the chicken-fried cyberculture of Austin… From the heretical Communist slums of gritty Belgrade to the Gothic industrial castles of artsy Torino… always whipping that slider-bar between the unthinkable and the unimaginable.

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    Original video: https://m.soundcloud.com/officialsxsw/the-future-history-that-hasnt-happened-yet-sxsw-2017
    Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/ on Sat, 18 Mar 2017 16:44:34 GMT Available for 30 days after download

    —Huffduffed by neil

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