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The fact that we now even have articles discussing the merits of chatbots versus human-operators is indicative of just how far we’ve come in the last few years!

Another interesting ‘chat’ development this month is OpenAI’s GPT3. OpenAI was founded by Musk and others in 2015 as a non-profit to ensure future superhuman AI is a benign force. Then in 2018 Musk left, and it became ‘for profit’, with $1Billion invested by Microsoft.

Now here’s the scary bit – OpenAI’s previous model, GPT2, was pulled because its ability to generate fake news, for example, was considered too dangerous. Yet GPT3 is far more powerful… Wired Magazine covers the story here.

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Arguably South Africa’s finest Comic and Graphic Novel stores – Readers Den – now stocks The Oracle Machine, and can deliver worldwide. Pop into their stores in Tygervalley or Claremont, or order your limited edition copy here.

They have a comprehensive collection of South African comics, and also organise the prestigious annual  ‘Cape Town Fan Con‘. Whilst the physical event has unfortunately been cancelled this year, it has moved online, and will be taking place this weekend, from the 4th – 5th July. Tune in, and catch an interview with me. I’ll update these details as soon as I know more.

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The bad guy in the book brandishes an untraceable 3D-printed ‘ghost’ gun. But how much of a threat are they really?

To build a 3D gun, you’d need the plans. I can imagine these are available somewhere on the dark web. (For reasons unclear to me, U.S.A President Trump has been trying to make such plans available online, but has been blocked by 20 states, who are suing over this issue.)

You’d also need a 3D printer and you’d need to know how to use it. And you’d still need the bullets.

3D printers are prohibitively expensive in South Africa. And not many people have the expertise to use them. It’s probably much easier to get a stolen gun. In the U.S.A., 3D printers are far more available, but perhaps so too are guns?

So for now, such printed guns are thankfully still out of reach for most criminals in South Africa. But I guess in time this will change.

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This panel, besides being inspired by the Himba, was also inspired by this Iqgirha, or Xhosa traditional healer, whom I met in our Eastern Cape. She’ll read your dreams, and might give you a surprisingly accurate analysis of where your mind is at.

It amazes me how many AI intellectuals dismiss dreams as ‘non empirical’. That shouldn’t matter! Everything in our psyche affects our thoughts, which affect our actions, which certainly are empirical.

As we hurtle towards amplification, of both the good and the bad, brought by AI, and as some of us begin to ponder AI Ethics, hadn’t we better start getting to know every little thing about our psyches much better? And surely dreams are a good place to start?

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Thrilled to announce that hard copies of ‘The Oracle Machine’ Graphic Novel are now available for online orders from Blank Books in Cape Town. Follow this link. It’s roughly $8+shipping (our exchange rate unfortunately fluctuates greatly!)

SciFi & Comic aficionado ‘Blank Books‘ is a trusted Cape Town retail outlet with a great reputation and a long tradition of shipping books – especially rare, precious and collectable ones – across the world.

‘The Oracle Machine’ is 160 pages long, in black & white, with a soft cover (despite being a hard copy…) Perhaps not suitable for under-14’s. Only 500 copies have been printed in this first run, so get your collectors-item First Edition now before they’re all gone. 🙂

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Hacking into military drones, as in ‘The Oracle Machine‘ graphic novel, might seem implausible to some, but there is historic precedent of such incidents.

In 2011, the famous U.S.A. Creech Airforce base suffered a security breach, when a keystroke logger virus infected multiple machines. (Read about it in Wired, or The Guardian)

It’s thought removable hard-drives ‘breached the gap’ between classified and public networks. So maybe a drone pilot was loading up some music downloads to fly with?

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Very happy to say ‘The Oracle Machine’ now has over 100 distinguished followers on Twitter. Yes this is not much in comparison to many others, but it will grow.

Twitter seems a great platform to share ideas, comment on interesting posts, and keep up to date with cutting-edge A.I. news. Things do seem to be speeding up now. And nice to connect with like-minded people/bots.

Also slowly catching up on Tumblr, reposting posts from this page there, where it is more shareable. And interacting on WordPress and Facebook. Do come chat on any of these platforms – I look forward to cyber-meeting you!

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Once upon a time (about 20 years ago) there was a program called SETI – the Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence. You could download a screensaver – that would switch on when you logged off – to use your computer’s processing power to crunch astronomical radio data, searching for signs of alien life.

This ‘volunteer computing’ wasn’t the first use of this amazing concept, but it soon spread to solving all sorts of great projects that couldn’t otherwise afford massive processing power – ranging from disease analyses to maths, linguistics, climatology. See BOINC for more fascinating insight.

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In my graphic novel, The Oracle Machine, the rogue computer uses distributed processing to try gain more processing power to solve Lena’s mysterious dream query. But when it can’t solve it, it starts hacking into more and more other computers online, seeking their power, whilst effectively taking over the Internet…

This week IBM unveiled a very worthy (and hopefully far more benign) volunteer distributed processing project – to research potential COVID-19 treatments. Find out more here.

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Look how far we’ve come in 40 years. And look how ‘Amazing Stories 1981’ predicts with scary accuracy the shape of things that came: email, online news, banking & games, Alexa, Zoom, Wikipedia, Netflix, Translate – all on ‘the Videocom’ – running on ‘optical data transmission & high speed computers.’
Crucially for me, the last line (not shown), speculating beyond ‘the Videocom’, says: ‘Just as the current communication revolution will unify our planet, the next communication revolution promises to unite us with the cosmos…’
Indeed.
I hope you can read the images, but if not, you can download them from my site: http://www.TheOracleMachine.in  – Enjoy the fascinating read!

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It’s getting harder & harder to leave the online world.
The net rewards us – with music, lights, cameras, action – as we reward it – with all our terrible & beautiful & very human input.
And all the time, we’re making it Bigger, Better, Faster, Smarter…

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