Hawking 2.0

Well, whaddayaknow? It’s nearly midday and I haven’t written a blog post yet. This is what happens when you go to Sainsbury’s first thing because you’ve run out of soya milk (disaster!) and simply can’t proceed with the day until some is procured: you get out of your routine and forget to do things. Actually it was a delight to cycle down; it’s half-term here so the traffic was light and it was a wonderful sunny morning with a delicious breeze. It still is. I’ve tried working in the garden but I have a tendency to close my eyes and doze off, so back to the study again. I’m going for a shorter bike ride today – I had a rest yesterday, just went for a walk – and I have to say I’m feeling loads fitter. I’ve only had the bike about 2 1/2 weeks but it’s made a real difference, as indeed I hoped it would.

Apparently it’s the Queen’s platinum jubilee this weekend. Who knew? I didn’t. How much longer can that woman keep going? Charles is already 72 so who knows, if she just holds out a few more years he may peg it and then William can take over.

What else is new? At the moment I’m working on a series of linked stories which may end up being a collection in themselves. At the moment I’ve got half a dozen, four written (one accepted though not yet published) and two in embryo so I guess I’ll need quite a few more to make a collection. But we’ll see.

I have a hankering to go to the beach right now. Not surprising; the weather is lovely and I’ve not been anywhere for 18 months. But going to the beach is just not a good idea, not least because everyone else will be going to the beach which means long traffic jams, and when I get there everyone else will be at the beach. Besides, even though things appear to be loosening up Covid still ain’t over yet. The fat lady has not sung. The curtain has not fallen. The trees may be thinning but we are not out of the woods. And so on.

Oo! I know what I was going to tell you. It’s the Hay Festival at the moment – all online and all for free – and so far the videos I’ve watched have been somewhat underwhelming. But last night I saw Stephen Fry interview Peter Scott-Morgan. Peter has motor neurone disease, the same disease that crippled Stephen Hawking, and like Hawking he uses technology to communicate. But he’s gone a lot further than Hawking, because Scott-Morgan is a cybernetics specialist, and in the interview he expounds his theories on the future of robotics and how humans will inevitably become part-robot. That’s simplifying it a lot and I probably need to listen again to get the ins and outs of it, but I found his theories both inspiring and somewhat naive. He was almost messianic in his faith, but what he left out of the equation was the dominant force in the world right now, ie global capitalism. What I see happening more and more is jobs being taken over by robots and the technology used for the benefit of global giants rather than individuals. I may come back to this as there was a lot in the interview – but I have to say it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Stephen Fry doing justice to the subject. Anyway, here’s the link.

And now I’ve exhausted all my topics. I’ll just leave you with a great joke in a Kathy Reichs novel I just read;

‘What did he die of?’

‘Could just be acute numerical ascension.’


‘His number was up.’

I like it. When my time comes I think I’m going to die of acute numerical ascension.

Kirk out

6 thoughts on “Hawking 2.0

  1. LOL! I’ll have to remember that one.
    I want to look up the ages of the Queen’s predecessors because it could give a clue as to how long Charles has got. I seem to remember it works out like this: the Queen Mother died at 101, so the Queen can be expected to die in 2027, but Charles’s male ancestors all died before the age he would be at her death. However, they all died of smoking-related causes and he’s a non-smoker I think.

    It wasn’t clear to me if Stephen Fry was talking to an AI who worked out its replies to him in real time or an avatar which was controlled by the guy’s eye movements. It did, however, remind me of my own ETAION SHRDLU eye movement cube plan, which if I ever end up incapacitated I would appreciate you looking up 🙂 .

  2. I haven’t had my bike out for a couple of months now, and so far, I’m managing to keep the guilt feelings at bay; I enjoy walking, but when exercise becomes an obligation, I’m outta there…….

    I’m a republican [as much as I dislike lazy classifications] so I can’t get excited about anything ‘royal’.

    The stories sound interesting: I hope that all goes well.

    I agree with your reservations about going to the beach; not so much from a health point of view, but simply because I’m something of a misanthrope, so I like to avoid large conglomerations of people. I’m lucky that I can walk a couple of miles and be there, so I can pick my times.

    I try to avoid thinking about technology & the future, because it’s very easy for my negative side to demoralise my positive side, especially where capitalism & the military/industrial complex are concerned; I am, however, reading the best book I’ve read for a long time, which I will have to review on my Wilfred Books blog. It’s by Stephen Baxter [who collaborated with Terry Pratchett on some brilliant sci-fi books], called World Engines: Destroyer, and it incorporates several elements I love in fantasy fiction, including timeshifts & alternate realities, plus something the world is crying out for, IMHO: a resource based economy [think Star Trek, TNG: “Nobody has to work for a living.”. Not everyone’s cup of char, I know, but I love it! Cheers, Jon.

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