Science Fiction


How AI Is Streamlining Marketing and Sales

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In 1950, Alan Turing, already famous for helping to crack the German Enigma code during World War II, devised the Turing test to define intelligence in machines. Could a computer, Turing asked, fool a human into thinking he was interacting with another person, or imitate human responses so well that it would be impossible for a person to tell the difference? If the machine could, Turing proposed, it could be considered intelligent. Turing's thought experiment spawned scores of science-fiction tales, such as the 2015 hit movie Ex Machina. Now, artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous algorithms are not only passing the Turing test every day but, more importantly, are making and saving money for the businesses that deploy them.


When Your Cool Future Is Obsolete Before You're Even Finished Writing It

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When you decide to write a story set in the near future, or speculating about things that might happen, you're running the risk of looking like a jackass. Nobody expects a science fiction story to predict the actual future--not if they know anything about science fiction, anyway. But given how slowly publishing can move and how fast the world changes, your story can look outdated before it even sees print. I ran into this a bunch of times with my novel All the Birds in the Sky. Because this novel took so long to write, and then had another two years between getting a book deal and actually getting published, there was tons of stuff in there that I had a queasy feeling would be just completely wrong by the time this book saw the light of day.


Why George Orwell is returning to the BBC

BBC News

The BBC headquarters in London is getting a new resident: he's tall, bronze and likes a smoke. From Tuesday a statue of novelist George Orwell is to adorn the exterior of New Broadcasting House, a few minutes from where Orwell worked as a radio producer in World War Two. But what was the author of Nineteen Eighty-four (Orwell's original worded title) doing in the BBC? For decades its staff have delighted in the suggestion Orwell took his notion of absolute hell from two years spent at the BBC. Near the end of Nineteen Eighty-four (1984 is now more commonly used on book covers), Winston Smith finds himself trapped in the Ministry of Love's Room 101, "many metres underground".


An Ex-Google Engineer Is Founding a Religion to Worship AI. He's Decades Too Late. - ExtremeTech

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Science fiction of the time period, however, still expressed considerable unease about various aspects of technology. While some characters, like Isaac Asimov's R. Daneel Olivaw, were portrayed positively, the original Star Trek featured androids or computers as primary or secondary antagonists in 16 percent of its episodes (13 episodes total). Perhaps more significantly, only one episode portrayed a sentient (or sentience-mimicking) machine in a neutral light: "The City on the Edge of Forever." In every other case, androids, robots, and advanced computer systems were depicted as adversaries. I drew a fairly narrow line for this comparison and did not include instances where technology had malfunctioned or created a problem.


Netflix's 'What Happened to Monday' Squanders a Fantastic Premise

WIRED

Maggie Shen King is the author of An Excess Male, a science fiction novel that explores the future consequences of China's one-child policy. The policy was enacted in 1979 in an attempt to curb overpopulation, and even though the country started to phase it out two years ago it led to a huge shortage of potential wives due to so many parents choosing to have sons instead of daughters. "It sounds like dystopian fiction, but in actuality China was the one nation that had the political system and the wherewithal to enforce the policy," King says in Episode 279 of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. "And 40 years of this is very, very scary to think about." Overpopulation has been a popular theme in science fiction for decades, from the movie Soylent Green, based on the Harry Harrison novel Make Room! Make Room! to the Star Trek episode "The Mark of Gideon."


From Science Fiction to the Internet of Things Security - Hortonworks

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The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized how we interact with our devices, companies we buy from, and people we see on a daily basis. Not only that, but smart environments consisting of devices of every kind have created business opportunities for organizations across every industry, but it has also exposed a fear surrounding IoT security. With the Internet of Anything, businesses have found new ways to improve customer experiences for a wide variety of solutions as the smart car, real-time customer recommendations, and optimizing supply chains. No matter the industry or the use case, a plethora of data challenges surrounding IoT devices arise that demand immediate attention. In order to stay competitive, organizations must collect data and strategically use it to continually improve on the products and services that arose from the introduction of the IoT phenomenon.


Your favorite 'Stranger Things' police officer has inspired a line of beer called Chief Hopper

Mashable

You know your pop culture faves have gotten really popular when you can drink them. Chief Jim Hopper is Stranger Things' grumpy but incredibly resourceful police chief and now the character has inspired a line of beers. You can't get drunk with Hopper, but you can get drunk with the help of Hopper's hops. SEE ALSO: Here's what critics think of'Stranger Things 2' A photo of the IPA was uploaded by VinnyChuck to Imgur with the caption, "my local brewery gets it!" Short's Brewing Company in Bellaire, Michigan, created Chief Hopper double India pale ale to celebrate everyone's favorite science fiction Netflix show.


The world's first robot 'citizen' just took a dig at Elon Musk

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From Isaac Asimov to Philip K. Dick and Elon Musk, science fiction and tech have grappled with the implications of artificial intelligence. Now a "human-like" Hanson Robotics robot, Sophia, has crossed a pretty important threshold. Not everyone is comfortable with that fact.


Cuban Investigators Say U.S. Sonic Attack Allegations 'Science Fiction'

U.S. News

U.S. media outlets have cited Washington officials as raising the possibility that sonic weapons were used to harm the diplomats. However, Cuban investigators said the Caribbean country did not possess such weapons and denied they could even have been used by third parties without affecting the health of others or attracting attention.


Retyping the Future's Past

Slate

It wasn't just the way they wrote that spoke to me, though; their puckish spirit also shone through in the things they wrote about. In the issue's book review column, an anonymous critic (its byline: "Ye Olde Booke Collector") sneers at a seemingly proto-fascist and anti-union novel by an editor at Time magazine titled General Manpower. Similarly, in the issue's concluding essay, Wollheim savages the venerable science fiction editor John W. Campbell for "defend[ing] the monopolists of this country," while arguing that capitalism holds back the course of scientific progress. Though they were written decades before Nick Denton was born, the catty snark and often undisguised anger evident in these pieces would not have been out of place in Gawker. Given the role that the Futurians and their fellow fans played in the rise of modern mass culture, their brio feels more prophetic than anything in the genre they loved.