Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss.

Category: fiblet

—Our Father, Who Art in… But father‘s out of style, isn’t it? They call you The Admin now. The Board. Creation was a group project. I don’t know how they know that, but apparently there are a lot of you. Maybe I should call you Odin, or Thor. Or—Loki, given the way things are falling […]

Continue reading » 27 Comments

An evolutionary biologist and a science fiction writer walk into a bar…

Category: climate, evolution, In praise of biocide, interviews, public interface, scilitics

Last month it was the Atlantic, where I pretended to know something about AI. This month it’s the MIT Reader, and the subject is The Imminent Collapse of Civilization. Honestly, I had no idea I was such an expert on so many things. This time, though, I’m not so much an expert as a foil. […]

Continue reading » 270 Comments

Underdog Overdrive

Category: ink on art, reviews

First, a PSA: In keeping with my apparent ongoing role as The Guy Who Keeps Getting Asked to Talk About Subjects In Which He Has No Expertise (and for those of you who didn’t see the Facebook post), The Atlantic solicited from me a piece on Conscious AI a few months back. The field is […]

Continue reading » 91 Comments

Terry Gilliam’s Air Canada

Category: AI/robotics, legal

Being who I am, I tend to portray my futures in the spirit of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four or Brunner’s The Sheep Look Up. Sometimes, though, reality turns out more like Gilliam’s Brazil: just as grim, but hysterically so. Take my short story “Collateral”: a tale that (among other things) asks about culpability for decisions […]

Continue reading » 30 Comments

You Are All Terminators. (I Am Not.)

Category: neuro, sentience/cognition

Way back in grad school— when VHS was a thing and computer screens were all monochrome and a 20-Megabyte hard drive was the kind of thing only supervillains could afford—a bunch of us rented “The Terminator” for the weekend and watched it between bouts of AD&D. Inevitably we came upon the iconic first-person T-800 view. […]

Continue reading » 144 Comments

A Glut in the Galleries.

Category: ink on art

It’s been a busy couple of years, too busy to squeeze in the usual Gallery Update back at the start of last year. But the fan art and the book covers and the bodily mutilations have continued even as my coverage of them lapsed—and by the time you look in on the backlog you’ve got […]

Continue reading » 35 Comments


Category: climate, In praise of biocide, politics

“We’ll go down in history as the first society that wouldn’t save itself because it wasn’t cost-effective.” — Donella H. Meadows (Or possibly Kurt Vonnegut) Well, what did you expect from a COP held in a fucking Petro State, a COP whose president explicitly denied that science justified a phase-out of fossil fuels, who in […]

Continue reading » 50 Comments

Skin Deep: the Empty, Pernicious Beauty of “The Creator”

Category: ink on art

“We don’t need other worlds. We need mirrors.” —Stanislaw Lem Lers of Spoi. You Have Been Warned. Let’s get the good stuff out of the way first: this movie is absolutely beautiful to behold. The cinematography is first rate; the vehicle designs are perfect. The vistas of robots in rice paddies—corny as that may sound—are […]

Continue reading » 43 Comments

Promos and PSAs

Category: On the Road, public interface

Just a couple of quick announcements while I finish scribbling argumentative notes in the margins of Eric Hoel’s book on consciousness. First, there’s this guy called Guy d’Andigné, runs sfss: a classy, minimalist little site that reprints science fiction shorts from the public domain and the creative commons, ranging from Voltaire to Doctorow. He also […]

Continue reading » 40 Comments

The Worst Fucking Summer

Category: eulogy

I cannot wait for this summer to be over. It sucks so hard. Named for the body shape. And the pinto-like coloration. First it was Bean, way back in March. Never really talked about Bean here on the ‘crawl. Buns were really more The BUG’s thing and they tended to live down in the basement […]

Continue reading » 46 Comments