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.

Filed Under: ai, future, future of work, science fiction, speculative fiction, working futures


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2019 @ 7:07pm

    So Techdirt is transitioning into a "teen" like comic book fantasy site?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 12 Oct 2019 @ 7:16pm

      Re:

      Yes. Now please show us your much better site with all the much better news and super fanfic you've been writing since middle school, eh?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2019 @ 7:41pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Gary (profile), 12 Oct 2019 @ 9:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hey, allright, "Gary". Be loud and proud

          Wow. Was that written in English? Right on! You still can't cite your site, right?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2019 @ 9:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: 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".

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Gary (profile), 12 Oct 2019 @ 10:17pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Robots. Sex. "Gary".

              So you are saying that you wrote the Neteflix show about Robots and Sex. right on! Good show. But... Nothing constructive to add. Thanx!!

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 2:13am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              How's that Shiva Ayyadurai election fund coming along, Hamilton?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 3:28am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Obviously better than your sale of T-Shirts and "donations" to the defense of "journalism". Good to see you guys are finally running for the hills.

                Trump 2020! The future of Work! Trump America! Everybody works! 120% Employment! Yay!

                Fuck your robots and your stupid ideas.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 5:23am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  So basically as his Elizabeth Warren campaign, good to know.

                  i.e. Like the shit you took in your bed.

                  Next time try funding for Prenda Law instead.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Dave P., 13 Oct 2019 @ 2:39am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Just what is this guy on? All this pseudo-philosophical nonsense, trying to make out he's some sort of intellectual.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 3:26am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Oct 2019 @ 3:46am

                  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.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 4:25am

                    Re:

                    No one was talking about rape except you, you pervert. Or are you a homophone?
                    Or a homonym? How does the left say it? I forget. Xenophobe? EroticoPhobe? WhiteAssPhobe? What Phobe was it? ARE YOU PHOBIC?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 1:59pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  We get it bro. You’re a closet case addicted to humiliation. By the way are you identifying as today?The toasty toasty closeted Texas rube? Or the effete Masshole? Or the self hating gay Indian?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 1:56pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                He tries to sound profound to cover for his lack of intelligence. But ends up sounding like a twelve year old getting called on in class who didn’t do the assignment.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Dave P., 13 Oct 2019 @ 2:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Wasn't English - it was rubbish!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 3:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Oct 2019 @ 3:47am

                The only child I see here is you.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 4:04am

                  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

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Oct 2019 @ 4:13am

                    You guys all KNOW Trump is going to win, right?

                    Didn’t you say the same thing about Shiva Ayyadurai’s case against Techdirt, and didn’t that case end with Shiva settling with Techdirt for basically nothing worth a good goddamn?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 4:22am

                      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.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 11:40am

                    Re: Re:

                    Who you trying to convince bro?

                    Us

                    Or

                    You?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2019 @ 12:37am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                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?

                Thanks for describing Shiva's model to claim he was the inventor of modern email, champ.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 11:36am

          Re: Only the best projectionists

          “pre-pubescent teen dreaming about an imaginary world while he hides beneath the covers jerking himself off.”

          But enough about your pathetic home life bro.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 4:19am

    huh? what's up with these threads and the hostility? the other ones I get but why the advertisement one?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 5:29am

      Re:

      Hamilton is angry that Shiva Ayyadurai failed to nuke Techdirt with his lawsuit. The idea that Techdirt attempts to make any money triggers him to twist his panties into a knot.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 13 Oct 2019 @ 9:09am

      Re:

      There's one obsessed lunatic who will attack this site no matter what they do, and it's apparently really galling to him that they've published their own original fiction. There's no point in looking for any sanity or reason beyond that, because none is inspiring his posts.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Oct 2019 @ 2:03pm

        There's one obsessed lunatic who will attack this site no matter what they do

        More than one of those exist here, sadly.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 13 Oct 2019 @ 10:45pm

          Re:

          More than one of those exist here, sadly.

          I wouldn't be so sure of that, actually.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 11:14pm

            Re: 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?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2019 @ 8:42pm

            Re: 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.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2019 @ 9:09pm

              Re: Re: Re:

              Aye. Blue, Hamilton and and Jhon boi all have different “voices” as far as I am tell. Though it would be so much more entertainingly pathetic if it were one nutter creating a voltron of crazy.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 9:05pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2019 @ 11:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Wait, are you Adam Schiff?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2019 @ 12:22am

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2019 @ 6:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            We get it. You're high as a fucking kite. You were high since Day One.

            All that Melania/Shiva fanfiction really helped your case in front of the judge, by the way.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Gary (profile), 14 Oct 2019 @ 5:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          And apparently one or more of the obsessed idiots are also failed Fanfic writers. So they blew a fuse when they saw anyone else getting published and recognized.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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