Oct 11 2027 when email disappears…

I have a number of long term bets with various people. One of those bets is email will disappear by 2027. Six years is not a long time. But all things considered, email, not email addresses, will be basically gone by then. We can see it in how Virtual meetings, Teams, Slacks etc. are taking over the world. The only thing we use email for, is authorizing or connecting apps to us.

There was a time when having an email address was rare and people thought, what would I do with that? Likewise today we send messages through Facebook messenger, Slack channels, texts, or links in various apps. Don’t email me.

In six years time I suspect it will even be less. By that time our notifications will come primarily from the apps we are connected to, not the addresses we use. DM messaging will be the go to, not emails. For many people that is the way it is now.

The courts and governments will of course drag behind the rest. But banks, are already ahead of the curve. Why invest someone’s time to look and an email and process. If someone wants to send someone money, just direct transfer it. It makes sense. The people we pay bills to, want the money direct deposited, it saves them the administration of processing cheques or emails.

Emails for me are just becoming an alert service, this Twitch streamer is on, Oh Rogue Wave is live on Instagram, new Tweet from Andy Mckee.

Hopefully we will all be spending less time on email. Not so that I win a bet, so that all of us have more productive and fulfilling lives. Lives with real work in them. And not the mindless shuffle of papers, electronic or otherwise.

The random babble continues.

Stay tuned for Part Three of the Tribute to Utopia, the British series, mindless made-up conspiracy blogs of long titles in the near future.

Be Well…dcd

A small reflection on a typo and AI’s.

This week an interesting discourse occurred in my time working remotely; a colleague and I jested on the nature of AI.

He developed his position through asking questions, seeking my answer to be guided by the semantics of his enquiry. In essence leading me to expound his thoughts on AI by the words he used in the questions themselves.

I of course played along, redefined his words in my reply. It was a wonderful exchange with each of trying to pin the other through words..

The exchange was conducted of an instant messenger app. Given my notorious inability to spell words correctly, some errors transpired.

Cat hunting a mouse.

“AI exists in an amorous state, not tied by hardware or data registers” is what I typed. Of course I meant to type ‘amorphous’, but, it does raise an interesting point, are AI’s amourous? And if they are, what is amour to them?

Amour is generally defined as an illicit love affair. What is illicit to an AI? More, what is an illicit love affair to an AI?

Generally I think perceive AI as being defined in human terms and values. It wraps around the argument of can we truly know the ‘Other’. Our discourse on AI is based around the interaction with humans and human data. But would an AI interact with a human or humanity. Would they define us as sentient? How would they define sentience? This leads to a long rabbit hole that is best left for another day or perhaps a short story. Who can say?

The question of an illicit love affair implies there may be genuine love affairs, a binary assumption. But are AI’s binary? It could be argued AI’s data is at it’s root, only binary in expression. But does this ensure AI’s only live in a binary state? No. And I think this can be demonstrated easily enough.

Most AI discussions centre around the dealing of complex decisions with multiple outcomes with some mechanism to deal with these outcomes. If AI’s are dealing with multiple outcomes, why would they leave themselves to binary expression of what ever they define themselves as? Data is data, except when it’s Commander Data, then it’s another discussion. (What? You didn’t think I would take the chance to get Star Trek involved?)

Or is it?

The first season of Picard, and I certainly hope there is a second season, leaves us with a number of transitions.

Warning, there may be spoilers below concerning Season 1 of Picard. You have been warned.

For the sake of this discussion, let us say the only intersection between humans and AI is data. We need data for what we do. Essentially over the last 10-20 years we have become data producers. Texts, selfies, games, more games and more devices. More bandwidth. More data paths, for the information we generate to travel on.

What do you suppose AI’s consume for an energy source? Data? Perhaps. If that is true, data is their food, and we just farmers for AI. If I was an AI and wanted to increase my food source exponentially, what would I do? The single largest increase in internet usage is occurring right now in the world. As we all stay at home to help save lives our data consumption and output has sky rocketed.

While the quality of our internet is degraded, it’s still working. Funny how we are running out of everything, but the internet is still working. The increases are staggering. There no longer is difference between weekend and weekday internet traffic, it’s always maxed out. So if I was an AI, I would engineer a situation that would cause more food production for me. Force my farmers to stay in one place and generate data. A side effect of us all staying home is a massive decrease in pollution, one of the biggest enemies of electronics. Now, Picard, one of the largest sources of data is the human brain, if only the AI could have direct access to that amount of data. And with the end of season 1 of Picard they are one step closer to gaining access to it.

A rambling discussion, a conspiracy theory and love in the time of COVID.

Be Well…dcd

There are always more anomalies than you planned for – j.townsend 2019

In the mythical world of earth I am a character working in information technology at a company. We recently moved into a new building. Therefore for the last two weeks, I’ve done nothing but work and discover anomalie s . Anomalies require two immediate steps be taken, one is a prompt work around solution to allow the business to function and two, a report sent to allow for the issue to be resolved. Step one requires creative out of the box thinking. Step two requires accurate details to permit the swift resolution. Those of you who have been in this position know that “swift” can sometimes mean 6 or 7 weeks.

The third aspect of this process is the pristine perfect work, your work, your pride, is often compromised to get people working. And unless you do my job it is beyond difficult to experience the ruination of your own work because of others. Such is my situation. Instead of an impeccable server room with neat cables, I have what amounts to a rats nest of chaos. In fact I doubt whether rats would live there.

Random Cat Picture!

The astute reader will identify this as a metaphor for the writing process. And as someone who is going to send out three manuscripts this year into the chaos of slush piles, I have a lot of pain ahead of me. A writer fulfills all these roles, from owner to architect to finish carpenter to accountant to receptionist to IT guy. (PS – IT people hate being called “IT Guy”)

The result is the next several blogs will deal with aspects of anomalies that have corresponded to events in the new building. It’ll be fun, we’ll laugh, we’ll cry and I might get my sanity back. Hopefully I will get my writing mojo back.

Topics include, More phones than places to plug them in: Bridging your main character until you flesh them out making them a better character and thereby making your story better.

Why is it so cold in the building: Building heat in your story that is consistent with your characters. Not just a tussle in the bedroom.

Dealing with false accusations: How to get the enemy to aid your cause without compromising your values.

All of this will be from my limited perspective as a writer. Join me on the mythical adventure into the real world of my writing.

******

More than ever this year, be good to people. Recognize kindness, take time to honestly praise people in front of others. Hate surrounds us, destroying the soul of society do not aid in the destruction.

Be well…dcd

Easter Eggs and Hedy Lamarr

A joy for me in writing is planting Easter Eggs. Why? because I love finding them in books I am reading. They can be as simple as recognizing a fictitious character name as someone I know. Robert J. Sawyer’s Quantum Night has a number of them, including a reference to a Randy McCharles. Randy helps run and organize the greatest writing conference you never heard of, When Words Collide. This conference, more than anything else has encouraged me to write.

But I digress..

When looking for supporting character names or locations I’ve started looking for historical references I am interested in. This is where Hedy Lamarr comes in. More than a great actress. An actress who’s beauty made audiences gasp when the first saw her with Charle800px-Hedy_lamarr_-_1940s Boyer in Algiers(1938).

She also tinkered with Howard Hughes and his wing designs for planes. Patented a frequency hopping system with George Antheil in 1940. And no, frequency  hoping is not code for her private life escapades. It’s actually frequency hopping. You of course can find this all on her wiki page

And so in the Space Opera Novel I am working I have a pair of characters named Hedy and Erwin. I’ll leave it to  you to figure out Erwin. Let’s just say he’s not a dog person. All of this circles back to reading and my youth where I discovered in Science Fiction and Fantasy much more than an escape.

I discovered a lens to see the world I lived in. A lens that taught me tolerance. A place where equality was the norm. Dystopian fiction didn’t exist yet. Writers were pushing the boundaries of how great humanity could become, not pursuing the depths of despair and destruction. A place where every one was along for the ride, not just the one person who survived to try and rebuild the world. There were plenty of grim stories. But there were also stories of hope, of discovery. A world where people changed. And so the Easter Eggs I will leave will be about people and places that helped make the world better.
As always be well… dcd

 

There is no door

eyesTo become what we are not, we must know what we are. Or another way Know Thyself.

We don’t understand ourselves very well in this society. We especially don’t comprehend how we act as a collective social conscious. Everyone is somebody else’s statistic. It is important to remember that. I am part of somebodies 50% or 10 % or 1%. A number of a part of a number. This is significant because we evaluate our situation based on numbers and often just approximations. We do this to others as well. As long as we do this we will find ourselves on the wrong side of the evolutionary chain.  Why?

Because there is always someone(s) who are bigger, better, stronger, hipper, cuter, wealthier, poorer, sicker, healthier than us and especially me. I need to not be a person who is formed by the minutiae of information that I ingest on a regular basis. But as we regurgitate what we input for personal information devices we become part of the data. We become part of the minutiae.

Most of us try to filter and control what we allow to have access to us to provide our information that we form our life around. The problem with that is how do we find the great pieces of information that exist in the ether of the internet?

There is no door that says “Smart hip people enter here” or “refined sophisticates only please”.  Only a door that says “Enter”. In many ways it is an all or nothing approach to providing ourselves with the data we need to define ourselves.

I know there are people that say you should just disconnect. For me that is just throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Let me propose 3 approaches to data filtering that you may find interesting.

1) Surround yourself with good filters. Find peeps that are good at filtering data, that have new avenues of information that you find useful. Firewall yourself from those that would hack your life. Dump the people that only provide porn. I mean really do you need someone to find you porn?

2) Build relationships with data that works. This may sound silly, but think about it for moment. If you find a great source for data that you like. Become a member, join that forum, engage in the discussion, subscribe to that feed or like that blog. On the same note remember that you have a relationship with data. It is not passive, hate your data and it will hate you. Try it and see. Care about the data that you want.

3) Archive and Backup your data. This is probably one of the biggest disasters of this age. Loss of data. Our  previous history was passed on by oral tradition or by photos or physical books. Today whole generations of pictures, events, lives are lost because we don’t archive and backup. The single most important activity you can do is try to build an oral history to pass on to the next generation. The second most significant action you can take is have an offline, out of your dwelling, backup of the digital pictures, movies, moments and records that exist in digital form of your life.

So this blog is not a complete loss on the novel side, one of the space ships has a circumference of 15 kilometers. Room for several yummy noodle bars.

Be Well – dcd

Technology can help in ways I didn’t think…and this disappoints me?

When I think of writers, I think of dusty rooms with fingers of golden sunlight streaming through wooden tressed windows. The sill is wide enough for a coffee cup. Only recently I have permitted tea in my vision of writers.

They are all gifted debaters, conversationalists, debonaire and live their evenings in cafes, coffee shops and old book stores. Secure in themselves, no doubts, self-confident and successful.

There are comfortable leather chairs, in the various spaces that these mythical writers breath and live in. Books, important looking books surround them. No computers, No Tablets, No Smartphones, No Internet, No Software, No Hardware, only Wetware. Wetware the best technology in the world, too bad there isn’t a good operators manual.

In Reality, I am trying to learn software to help me write. The software lets me structure, organize, re-organize, re-write, outline format and print.  I have access to a field of words unimaginable to authors of the past. Hardware allows us to carry our writing, our ideas, our stories with us.

We make our life stories as we travel through this milieu of electronic social environments, interacting with software to interact with others. We will find another word, for evolution, one that better describes how we are changing as a species. Until then, I will go read a book and hide from writing another day…

Be Well