We went LARPing with the Profound Decisions Empire LARP and one of the characters in our Hall, Cadarn, died. It was very dramatic; at one point, we thought three of us had snuffed it, but two of us made it back. Sadly we had to leave Cadarn behind. It really brought home to me how important our characters are at these events.
When we got home, I felt that we'd left it somewhat hanging unfinished, so I wrote this. In the time this is written, we are just in the last stages of packing up our entire village to move to a new one, in Hahnmark, a move that was put forward by Cadarn himself. With him dead, we're left to carry on his wishes alone.
Algar rested his hand gently on the oxen’s neck. “Good girl, Nina. You saw us through the storm.”
The oxen bent her head to the bale of hay at her feet, rumbling appreciatively. He tutted, looking at the mud still caked around her hooves and halfway up her coat, matting her rough hair, but such things could wait until tomorrow.Read More
Last week a new XPRIZE was announced at the TED conference in Vancouver, for an AI to speak at the 2020 conference for 18 minutes and give a TED talk worthy of a standing ovation. There were a few other details, such as it being a competition of sorts where competing teams will be whittled down until there are only three remaining, but I couldn't help but think...
What would the winning AI's speech sound like?
The custom-built auditorium in Vancouver was abuzz with pre-talk excitement as the audience filed in. Behind the stage, Roger Patel fiddled absently with his cufflinks, watching the comings and goings of technicians. The hydra of wires that supplied power to the projectors and sound equipment snaked over the floor, but many more ended at the large black cube. It was almost featureless, save for the slim monitor attached to its front, currently displaying the eMan logo. The little Vitruvian man flipped and rotated on the screen, and as Roger watched it he began to feel faintly sick, as though his stomach were flipping at the same frequency.
“Is it ready?”Read More
The last post I made pointed out that I needed a creation story for the world of Claws of the Chimera. Here it is!
“Come close, Aldo, and I will tell you a tale.”
The boy stood and walked over to where his mother sat. He nestled in the lap of her long embroidered dress, against the smoothness of her pregnant belly, and looked up into eyes that sparkled in the firelight. “What sort of tale?”
Her lips bent into a small smile. “The first tale, my sweet. How the world was made.”
Aldo closed his eyes, fingers wrapped around a lock of her dark hair, twining it over and over around his fingers, as she began.Read More
I mentioned in a previous post that I would share a bit more about the talk Sue gave at the User-Centred Design Conference. The Powerpoint that accompanied the actual talk itself may well be available in the future, but I really found the three models of AI Sue talked about very interesting.Read More
I was part of a talk about 'Sympathetic Machines' and the Internet of Things, together with my wife Sue, and John Aggs, at the User-Centred Design Conference 2015. The general theme of the talk was about three models of artificial intelligence that might link all our physical and digital things together in the near future.
The concept behind the story was one of being able to forgive machines, and to let them into our personal space - mentally and physically. This model of AI would talk to you and react like a person, learning about you over time, but wouldn't try to appear more advanced than it actually is - perhaps presenting itself in a childlike manner, and thus being easily forgivable.
I'll blog more about it in my next post, but to set the stage, and the tone, here's the story that I wrote and read out at the conference.
Son of a Bit
Mike wound down the window, gagging slightly as the chill breeze brought in the smell of car fumes. The traffic was relentless, and in the back seat he could see Oliver’s judgmental eyes peering out from under the hood of his dinosaur onesie.
“Dad, we’re gonna be late.”
“Well, I can’t magic the traffic away.” Mike sighed and ran a hand through his thinning hair. “Look, I don’t know what’s gone on here. Some sort of accident maybe. Bit?”
The eyes on the little bobble-head air freshener that sat on the dashboard lit up, and it looked up at Mike. “No, I don’t think so, sir,” it said. “Traffic is always like this here at this time.”
Mike stared at the little robot. “What?”
“I said, traffic is-“
“I heard what you said. Why the hell would you bring us this way, then?”Read More
I recorded this short story and it's up as a podcast right now! If you'd rather have it piped into your ears, click here!
I was putting the finishing touches to my invention when my guest arrived, accompanied by a wisp of cold air. He didn’t ring the doorbell, or knock on the workshop door. Nothing so practical. He was just suddenly behind me. Looming. Death has a habit of doing that, I suppose.
I lurched upright and yowled in pain as my head made contact with the brassy underside of my latest work. It echoed dully, like a bell. Gritting my teeth against the pain, I turned to face Death, wrench firmly in my grip.
“Who the bloody hell are you?”
I’M DEATH, Death said. His gaze roamed around the garage, gaslight shining off the polished skull. I’M SORRY, YOUR NAME WAS...?Read More