Computers Are Not Your Friends: the Iowa Caucus, the Shadow App, and the End of Faith

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said AI could be racist, it almost burned down the internet. Smug dudes in baseball caps were hooting and hollering and falling over themselves to laugh at the ridiculous idea that a computer system could hold human values. AOC was right. It’s one of the predominant issues in AI right now—an artificial intelligence is built from human datasets, and the selection of those datasets is done by a human, and that means there’s a chance to program human biases into an AI.  In 2018, researchers at MIT created a “psychopath AI” called Norman, named after Norman Bates. They exclusively fed Norman horrifying data: car crashes, dead bodies, mutilation and destruction. Norman came out fucked up. Not everything is as dramatic as turning[…]

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How to Pick the Right Comp Titles (for Science-Fiction and Fantasy)

For many of us, comp titles are one of the hardest parts of pitching. You’re trying to find titles that: Match aesthetically with your MS Match thematically with your MS Are popular enough that the agent has heard of them  Aren’t so popular that you look like you don’t know what you’re doing  And that’s hard. So I’m going to break this down into two parts:  The Great List of Swamps, wherein I go through all the things you shouldn’t do with comp titles.  The Little List of Lights, where I talk about the rationale behind making good comp choices.  But before we begin, the most important thing to remember:  Rule #0: any rule mentioned in this article may be broken, but breaking it must[…]

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MY DEBUT NOVEL IS OUT: The Dawnhounds

I can’t believe I forgot to put this on the blog. I got a bit swept up in all the madness of it, but my debut novel The Dawnhounds came out in November 2019 and it’s … actually selling. I’m still a little bit speechless. I expected it to just drop off the world, but—much like its protagonist—it refuses to die pretty. I’ve written about it (and Gideon the Ninth, and others) for The Spinoff, and there’s an upcoming review in Landfall for y’all to look forward to. If you’re in NZ, you can order it much cheaper and faster from Unity or Arty Bees, but Amazon is available for international readers. Readers have described as “Ankh Morpork meets Ambergris”, “Disco Elysium meets Ambergris”, and[…]

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