Tag Archive: books


This article from India really got my attention. Quoting it: “The research further revealed that in questions where the CTRL has been asked “what happens to our soul after death,” the users preferred the answer given by the artificial intelligence (23.1%) over the one that is provided by Jesus Christ (20.3%). “

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Just like the research in the article, The Oracle Machine story bravely steps into the world of metaphysics, and rightly asks the important question: Could an A.I. Internet somehow become a type of religious inter-mediary for some, or more?

Whatever one feels about religion, no one can deny it’s played a huge role in humanity over at least the last few thousand years. We cannot now pretend it is not still a major and integral influence for a large part of humanity. And I don’t believe enough critical objective thinking is being done to try understand what it really means to us.

I prefer (my understanding of…) Jung’s interpretation, that religion can also be seen as sign-posts along our own evolution of consciousness. And I see an AI-enabled Internet as the likely next step along this development path.

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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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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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HG Wells, in 1901, published a short story called ‘The New Accelerator’ – about a man who drinks a potion and speeds up.
So to him, everyone else looks like they are in slow motion!
Whilst to everyone else, he is just a blur.
(Perhaps this is how a fly sees us?)
But imagine speeding things up further – and the closer you get to infinity, the more that the rest of the world would then appear to slow to a stop.
So this seemed to be a nice way to draw the Singularity – everything in motion just  freezes to a stop!
Of course, in my graphic novel’s storyline, a special few characters get to witness this.
(And you can too! – if you download ‘The Oracle Machine’ from Comixology.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist the plug. 🙂 )

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The idea that the Oracle Machine would poll people’s opinions and choices, didn’t come from Google or Facebook ad-tracking – because it was first jotted down in about 2003, before those sites existed or became what they are today. Instead, the inspiration was this 1964 classic – ‘Counterfeit World’, by Dan Galouye.
In that book, to escape incessant pollsters pestering everyone, scientists create an artificial simulacrum world, complete with ‘citizens’ who start to believe they are real. Truly great mind-stretching Sci-Fi reading.

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