This Week In… Working Futures

from the history-of-tomorrow dept

Order your copy of Working Futures today »

Techdirt is taking a break for the long weekend — and while we’ve still got the comments post coming tomorrow, today instead of the usual history post we’re looking forwards, with our new Working Futures anthology.

For those who don’t know or who haven’t had time to check it out yet, Working Futures is a collection of fourteen speculative short stories by science fiction authors, exploring the question of what work will be like in the future as artificial intelligence and other technologies continue to transform our world. If you want a taste, you can check out the first half of one of the stories, A Quiet Lie in our pre-launch teaser post. Since then, Mike has been sharing summaries and thoughts about other entries in the book: about how AI and humans could keep each other in check, and how private services and social credit could define our lives, and how the lines between human and machine could blur in fascinating and challenging ways, among many other topics.

This week, we also had a special episode of the Techdirt Podcast in which Mike was joined by three of the authors: Katharine Dow, whose story The Funeral Company portrays a society divided by its reactions to both climate change and ubiquitous surveillance; James Yu, whose story The Mummer gives us eerily real characters in a not-too-distant future running up against the darker side of our interaction with robots; and Christopher Hooton, whose story A Brief History Of Algorithmic Life: Introduction closes out the anthology with a moving, lyrical tale about about the first true human-AI friendship.

And of course, Working Futures also contains a pair of stories by Mike himself, who hadn’t tried writing fiction in a long time, but hit the ground running with two engaging possible futures: one in which increasing centralization has put our lives in the hands of a few big companies that compete to offer the services and products for your entire life, and another in which the return to a truly decentralized online world has led to an energetic and anarchic knowledge economy. We’ve also got a story by our own Tim Geigner, who has been at this for a long time (his earlier sci-fi novels Digilife, Echelon, and Midwasteland are available as pay-what-you-want ebook downloads in our Insider Shop) and who went straight for the core of the “future of work” premise with a story about working in corporate human resources for not-so-human employees.

I hope some of that piques your curiosity. Techdirt will be off on Monday, so if you’re looking for something to read, grab a copy of the Working Futures paperback or ebook to see you through! And if you do read some or all of the stories, we’d greatly appreciate a review on Amazon and anything else you can do to help spread the word.

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Comments on “This Week In… Working Futures”

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46 Comments

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Hey, allright, "Gary". Be loud and proud of teen comic book fantasy fun. It was just a little surprising to see this site transition from the likes of Charles Harder (a formidable foe in real life) into the likes of Casper the Friendly "Ghost in the machine". You get my point? One purpose looked like it might be related to the real world (Trump/Harder/Melania/Shiva et al) and the other looks like the fantasies of a pre-pubescent teen dreaming about an imaginary world while he hides beneath the covers jerking himself off.

I guess everyone can see now who really won the actual fight with Harder, and a deep and mistakable level. Wow. That’s clear. Is Shiva/Harder now writing teenage fiction? I don’t think so.

Funny, no? From national politics to fantasy clown world. Well, when you think about it, I guess it makes sense. Trump is about to win, again, and you guys are giving up the ghost (so to speak).

Good for you. Loud and proud. GoForIt! Good luck.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Look, I was only trying to wish you good luck with your new venture. But, since you asked me for advice, I will share a little sage advice I received when I was a young man. Sex.

The problem with pre-pubescent future fiction (like yours) is that no one cares. What do people care about? Sex. That’s what you need to actually sell some books.

I actually looked at your site promoting your book. It’s stupid. Grown men sat around with each other and played a game of cards in order to come up with ideas to write stories so you could sell a book? Are you 12? Sex. Trust me on this. If you want to sell some books, write about robot sex. That’s an interesting topic.

About citing a site, to sighting a cite, or inciting an incident to prove my point, just search the internet for sex. How many hits do you get? Now try searching the internet for "the future of work". None? That seems about right.

Go with sex if you want to sell something. Trust me. Tried and true, proven over and over. AI Porn, that could be interesting. Robots with 3 hands with 10 fingers each and small vibrator on the end of each one. That could work. Robots going at each other while you watch. I think that could work for you. Me, not so much, I like actual ladies. But you, lonely, passionless, sexless, ugly and isolated, you have to reach beyond your actual experience and try to connect with normal people, that would be good.

Robots. Sex. Together. Because hey, that’s likely the only sex YOU are ever going to get anyway, "Gary".

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

What I am on? I am on top. And you are bent over, screaming like a little bitch as I have my pleasure with your soft white little ass, laughing all the while. Writing stories about teen fan fiction? That’s a far cry from challenging the mighty Shiva the Destroyer or Charles Harder and Harder! Run for your lives, you little teeny idiots, try to sell your stupid books that one one cares about.

Anyone who measures their long career by how many years they’ve been practicing since "middle school" deserves a little bent over humiliation.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

Anyone who tells someone else “I’m fantasizing about literally raping you right now” deserves a visit from the police.

Also:

Shiva the Destroyer

Didn’t he lose to Liz Warren (the so-called fake Indian who “scalped” Shiva by 57 points) and received what amounts to a loss in his case against Techdirt (the site never retracted its articles, never paid him a dime, and never apologized to him for anything) within the space of a calendar year? That doesn’t sound like a “destroyer”. That sounds like a loser who loses.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

No one was talking about rape

You said: “I am on top. And you are bent over, screaming like a little bitch as I have my pleasure with your soft white little ass, laughing all the while.” I mean, not for nothing, but if you’re talking about someone “screaming like a little bitch” (your words) and focusing on your own pleasure during what sounds like a brutal session of anal sex (again, judging by your words), that sounds a hell of a lot like you want to rape someone — or that you already have experience in doing it.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Hey, I have an idea. Why don’t you write a story about how young stupid children with access to sophisticated networking tools tried to manipulate and lie their way into powerful positions in society? That would be interesting. And how the wisdom inherent in the American system eventually rooted them out, exposed them for the liars that they were, and then these same children threw up their hands, surrendered, and said "Ok I’ll write fiction about the future of work". Totally caved, in other words. Watching children as they grow up and learn that no matter how brazenly they lie, cheat and steal, American Society will not reward them. It will punish them. Sue them Then appeal. Attack relentlessly until they publicly humiliate themselves. You could call the story ‘TechDust", blown away into history.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Well, Stephen, your view always has been a little strange, even you would admit that, openly, and in public.

I think it’s great, the whole abandoning the idea of being a political publication and sticking to fiction instead. Really, I like it, you guys always sucked trying to be believable, anyway. I think the "powers that be" (people with money) have figured out that you look so stupid it’s better to spend money somewhere else. All Techdirt does these days is fuel the fire for the right. The public spectacle of your stupid publication is worth being abandoned and replaced with admitted fiction (an upgrade, so to speak), rather than the fiction you have been unsuccessfully peddling for so long.

Good for you for "coming out" and admitting it. Fiction.

"Pure Fiction. Techdirt." I like it. It’s honest, memorable, notable and worthy of maybe a song or something. Maybe a flag waving ceremony. White flags all around. And the American Flag! Yes! Great image! Trump standing on a hill, holding the American flag against a HUGE WAVE OF SURRENDER! Wow. Who wouldn’t like that image. MAGA.

You guys all KNOW Trump is going to win, right? Even the "Trump Deniers" see it coming, right? It the TRUMP TRAIN! It’s UNSTOPPABLE! MAGA

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Oh yeah, nothing happened. But, according to this article, and this thread, and this "news" on Techdirt, and on Amazon, some group of Techdirt guys recently sat around and played cards (something like "D&D") and used those cards to write stories, and those stories are the new future of Techdirt. Because they failed to think of anything better than that. Cards. Game. Future. That’s it.

Right, nothing happened. Thanks for clearing that up. Nothing "worth a good gaddamn". Just Techdirt guys sitting around and changing the course of their business based on some playing cards because that’s their best guess about how to stay alive, financially. Abandoning ship, in other words. White flags. Admitted fiction Publicly, and with all the associated humiliation.

You’re right. That’s actually worth nothing.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Well, I would say that’s a bit worrisome. If you can’t detect different voices in the comments here, something is WRONG with your BRAIN! I would know this, my whole family has been in psychiatry and psychology and the study of sexual fantasies (well, that’s me) for hundreds of years. I know the signs of CRAZY. For example, my dad had a patient who thought people were occasionally ALIENS! He believed it, really. He even thought my dad was an alien sometimes. But after years of treatment, he finally figured it out. HAIR CUTS! Hair cuts freaked this guy out, he couldn’t put together why people changed so he thought they were ALIENS! Wow, he as a practicing doctor at the time too, that’s kind of freaky, huh?

Anyway, back to my point, if all the voices are started to sound the same to you, maybe you should seek treatment. My dad and grandpa, who did a lot of mental health therapy, are both gone, but hey, you can talk to me. I’m a friendly guy, ask anyone. When did all the voices start sounding the same to you?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

if all the voices are started to sound the same to you, maybe you should seek treatment

This coming from the asshole who thinks we’re all Stephen, or Gary, or PaulT, or Leigh, or Masnick.

You literally can’t make this shit up…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It wouldn’t surprise me if Whatever made good on his threat to bombard the site with his 50 IP address’ worth of hate mail, but the prospect is both impressive and bemusing that he’s created so many ridiculous personae for the sake of proving a point.

I don’t actually think he is doing it, to be honest. blue, Hamilton and tp are different flavors of deranged and unhinged. But short of Masnick outing those idiots all we can do is speculate. It’s no more nonsensical than John Smith’s "but muh mailing lists" backstory.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Oh, it gets worse. Shiva Ayyadurai spent thousands of dollars on a campaign to nuke a critic, and said critic not only survived the nuke attempt, it gets to keep the original criticism online for everyone to see, and makes money from T-shirts and card games.

It’s not the kind of ignominy Hamilton can live with, especially after his impassioned defense for Prenda Law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So, I have an admission to make. Trump. Trump is like a drug for me. When I hear him talk, I feel calm, self-assured, confident, happy, satisfied, and ready to do battle with whoever he needs me to do battle with. He needs money? Ok, I give Trump money. Or his friends, on his behalf, that’s fine. He needs me to show up, with my gun, to defend America? I’m there. He needs me to walk out of a rally, 20+ thousand strong, everyone one of us armed and ready for battle, arm in arm with the Police, the Armed Forces, the legitimate President, AND DO BATTLE WITH THE FUCKING LEFTIES?! I’m THERE!

I love him, really. The people’s general. Trump 2020.

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