"charlie stross"

Ruminations on decades spent writing stories that run more than 1,000,000 words

Charlie Stross (previously) has spent most of his career writing two very long-running series: The Laundry Files, a Cthulhu-tinged series of spy procedurals, like HP Lovecraft writing James Bond, except Bond is a sysadmin; and The Merchant Princes, a tricksy medieval high-fantasy story that's actually an alternate worlds story that's actually a primer on economics, totalitarianism, mercantalism, and theories of technological progress. Read the rest

A history of the sprawling personality clashes over RSS

Sinclair Target's long, deeply researched history of the format wars over RSS are an excellent read and a first-rate example of what Charlie Stross has called "the beginning of history": for the first time, the seemingly unimportant workaday details of peoples' lives are indelibly recorded and available for people researching history (for example, Ada Palmer points out that we know very little about the everyday meals of normal historical people, but the daily repasts of normal 21 centurians are lavishly documented). Read the rest

Elon's Basilisk: why exploitative, egomaniacal rich dudes think AI will destroy humanity

Why does Elon Musk think that AI is going to kill us all? Why do so many "rationalist" techbros assume that he's right? Read the rest

Charlie Stross on the "soft genocide" of eugenics-tainted, alt-right climate dystopia

Right now, the eugenics-happy alt-right are also climate deniers; but climate denial has a short half-life -- its undeniability will only grow, as the world gets hotter, more dangerous, drier, wetter, colder, stormier, more becalmed -- more uninhabitable. Read the rest

When your dental insurer sends you a "free" Internet of Shit toothbrush

Wolf Richter's dental insurer sent his family a free "smart" toothbrush that records how often and how well you brush, using a set of proprietary consumables to clean your teeth. Read the rest

The future legal shenanigans that will shift liability for pedestrian fatalities involving self-driving Ubers

This week, a self-driving Uber killed a pedestrian in Arizona, the first pedestrian fatality involving an autonomous vehicle; in his analysis of the event, Charlie Stross notes that Arizona's laws treat corporations that kill people with considerably more forbearance than humans who do so, and proposes that in the near future, every self-driving car will be owned by a special-purpose corporation that insulates its owner from liability. Read the rest

Empire Games: Charlie Stross starts a new phase in the Merchant Princes series, blending spycraft, Leninist thought experiments, and parallel dimensions

Charlie Stross's longrunning Merchant Princes series are a sneaky, brilliant techno-economic thought experiment disguised as heroic fantasy, and with Empire Games, the first book of the second phase of the series, Stross throws in a heavy dose of the noirest spycraft, an experiment in dieselpunk Leninism and War on Terror paranoia.

Charlie Stross on the sorry state of science fictional worldbuilding

Charlie Stross explains that he's more-or-less stopped reading science fiction, no longer capable of stomaching the paper-thin worldbuilding that refuses to contemplate the profound ways in which technology changes human relations and motivations. Read the rest

Demolition of derelict robotic parking garages reveals entombed vehicles, trapped for 15 years

When the £5m Autosafe Skypark opened in Edinburgh, it was heralded as the UK's most technologically advanced car park, but in 2003, the owners went bankrupt and turned off the computers that controlled the lifts that raised and lowered cars into their bays. Read the rest

South Korea, gripped by suicide epidemic, criminalizes suicide-pacts

South Korea has one of the world's highest suicide rates -- it has steadily mounted since 2000, rising to 25.6 per 100,000. Read the rest

Livejournal's Russian owners announce new anti-LGBT policy, fandom stages mass exodus

Mitch Wagner writes, "LiveJournal is a venerable online community that predates Facebook and even blogging. It got acquired by a Russian company a few years ago, but some of its American and British users hung on, including sf and fantasy writers and fans. Lately, I know one of my friends was scrambling to leave, but I'd been too busy to look into why." Read the rest

2017: the medium-disastrous projection (as told by Charlie Stross)

Charlie Stross has concluded his three-part, wrist-slittingly hilarious projection of the likely (?) outcomes of 2017, which starts with the death of Queen Elizabeth and a massive economic collapse in the UK, and ends when President Pence gets stomach flu and is replaced, once again, by the disgraced President Trump, whose fingers are itching to press the nuclear button. Read the rest

AI Alarmism: why smart people believe dumb things about our future AI overlords

Maciej Cegłowski (previously) gave this talk, "Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People," at Web Camp Zagreb last October, spending 45 minutes delving into the origin of the idea that computers are going to become apocalyptic, self-programming, superintelligent basilisks that end all live on Earth (and variations on this theme) and then explaining why this fundamentally evidence-free, fuzzy idea has colonized so many otherwise brilliant people -- including people like Stephen Hawking -- and why it's an irrational and potentially harmful belief system. Read the rest

Brexit: a timeline of the coming slow-motion car-crash

Charlie Stross is in excellent form this morning about the likely outcomes from last night's Brexit vote, hitting all the highlights: collapse of the finance sector when Euro-denominated derivatives trades relocate to an EU state; collapse of the London property market (a big deal as 40% of the UK's national wealth is property in the southeast); sucession risks for Scotland and Northern Ireland; the increased legitimacy of the reactionary right and xenophobia and racism as the "shy UKIPpers" realise (or claim) that they were more numerous than they had believed. Read the rest

Terrorist who murdered Jo Cox shouts: "Death to traitors" in court

Thomas Mair, the terrorist who murdered a UK member of Parliament last week while shouting "Britain First" (the name of a UK neofascist party), was arraigned yesterday; in the dock, he refused to state his name, shouting "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain" instead. Read the rest

Charlie Stross talks science fiction and policy in DC next week

My former EFF colleague Kevin Bankston writes, "For Boing Boing readers in the Washington DC area, here’s a great event: this coming Tuesday, science fiction writer (and Cory's occasional collaborator) Charlie Stross will be doing a happy hour interview at think tank New America. He’ll be talking about cross-pollination between science fiction and real tech and policy with Kevin Bankston, who runs New America’s tech policy shop the Open Technology Institute." Read the rest

A software developer's version of the CIA's bureaucratic sabotage manual

The Simple Sabotage Field Manual was published in 1944 by the Office of Strategic Services, the agency that came to be the CIA: it outlined simple tactics for putting bureaucratic grit in the wheels of occupied countries, for example, by referring key decisions to committees and then obstructing the work of those committees. Read the rest

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