Posted: Thu 20th Oct 2016

Computing Professor’s Sci-Fi Book Based On World-Leading Research

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Oct 20th, 2016

A Computing lecturer has taken a novel approach to public engagement with a new science-fiction book. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Vic Grout, Professor of Computing Futures at Wrexham Glyndwr University, is receiving plaudits for Conscious, a story loosely based on his own world-leading research. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Professor Grout hopes the 125,000-word opus will provide a vehicle for discussing some big technology questions in an accessible form. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The idea is to present a fictional scenario that draws on very real science and sociology. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Emerging issues appearing in the book include artificial intelligence, trans-humanism, the technological singularity, increasing automation, the Internet of Things, ‘big data’ and the future world of techno-capitalism. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Professor Grout is delighted to see the novel published as it was a long-standing project. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“This has been something I’ve wanted to do for several years, but the time just seemed right now,” he said. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We’re heading into such interesting – maybe even unsettling – times. The coming together of increasingly sophisticated AI, a growing robot workforce, the Internet of Things and big data is leading to an uncertain future; one in which the really big questions may be as much social, political, legal demographic and moral as they are technological.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Professor Grout added: “I’m hoping that the book contributes to this discussion because it’s a discussion we really should be having – but I don’t think we are yet. And I’d like to think it’s a fun read as well of course.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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