Discover more from Singal-Minded
Win A Copy Of A Reality-Based Technothriller
The world is ending so let's do some fiction for a change
Hello! I hope you are handling these insane times okay. Below is a list of my recent paid content, some of which I now feel like I wrote 10,000 years ago, in the Before Times. Below that you’ll find today’s book giveaway.
Couple things on my radar for upcoming paid posts: I’m really interested in and concerned by what’s going on in journalism (the episode of Blocked and Reported Katie Herzog and I released today, which is free, goes into the basics in consideratble detail), and also in how to maximize the probability of the protests, which seem to have a shocking amount of support among the public, leading to lasting positive change. I also owe paid subscribers a longer explanation of my below-mentioned qualms with individualistic versus structural approaches to mitigating the effects of racism in America.
Some Of The Things I Miss — Siiiiiiiiiiigh, self-explanatory.
Why I’ve Changed My Mind About The Importance Of Ideological Diversity In Academia — The issue isn’t with conservatives being ‘oppressed’ or anything like that, but rather with the groupthink that sets in when everyone views evidence through the same ideological lens. Conservatives are in many ways better-positioned to notice holes in ‘liberal’ theories, and vice-versa.
Why The Hard Age Caps On Youth Gender Transition Being Proposed By Conservatives Are A Very Bad Idea — Actually a free post, but the bills some conservatives have been proposing scare the hell out of me, so figured I would re-up it.
What Should Twitter Do About People Like Candace Owens? — A far-right provocateur’s call for people to defy lockdown (remember, this was in the Before Times) offered a useful case study in the complexities of regulating online content.
Feel-Bad Liberalism And Its Endless Race (Training) To Nowhere — There is an approach to anti-racist training and discourse that seems almost designed to generate guilt and resentment rather than tangible progress.
Conservatives Kinda Have A Point About (Some) Diversity Trainings — I know I sound like Bill O’Reilly, but if you look closely at diversity trainings, you’ll find that some of them are just as much about inculcating left-wing political beliefs as smoothing intergroup relations in work and school settings.
Just Help Me Understand This About Trump And His Supporters — On one of the most insane, inexcusable, Soviet-style things our esteemed commander in chief has done.
Let’s Talk About That Central Park Video — Oh my God this was like two weeks ago…
What We’re Worried About When We’re Worried About Christian Cooper — How many approaches to improving the world involve targeting individual behavior and belief? Is this a realistic approach?
Why Do We Share The Videos We Share? — In which I use the example of one of the worst police-brutality videos to emerge from the protests to try to better understand what the criteria should be for sharing a viral video.
Anyway, on to the main event…
Win A Copy Of Burn-In: A Novel of the REAL Robotic Revolution By P.W. Singer And August Cole
Not going to lie: I am running up an embarrassing book deficit. Between this newsletter, the podcast, and finishing up my own book, the stack of books I really want to read but don’t have time to at the moment is large and growing.
Burn-In is one of them — it just seems like an utterly fascinating concept:
Burn-In: A Novel of the REAL Robotic Revolution is a new form of book, a cross of a novel and nonfiction. It is a technothriller, following a hunt for a terrorist through the streets of a future Washington DC. But baked into the story are over 300 factual explanations and predictions, replete with the nonfiction endnotes to show their source from the real world. Through a vivid story and characters, you also learn about everything from how AI works to its impact on the future of politics, business, security, and even toys. As a parent, it is akin to sneaking fruit and vegetables into a smoothie (except in this case, it is a mix of entertainment and the latest research about important new issues that will soon shape all our lives).
This bold new project has drawn praise from a wild mix that includes the current or former heads of the CIA, NSA, US Navy, Marine Corps, NATO, and LinkedIn to a chess grandmaster and even the writer of Lost, Watchmen and the new Star Trek movies. You can check out more at https://www.burninbook.com/reviews/
Of note to recent events is that the fiction/nonfiction of Burn-In also connects to a number of key issues coming out of the Coronavirus pandemic, which is why the editor of the Economist called it both "Escapist and Relevant." While the trends Burn-In explores were already in play before the pandemic, all the data shows they’ve been drastically accelerated. Much of the population has been instantly thrown into distance learning and remote work, robots have been deployed into roles ranging from policing curfews to serving in hospitals, and AI tracking of society is scaling to whole new levels. After the outbreak is over, it is unlikely that 100% of these new roles and modes will simply return back. But it also means that all the tough social, political, legal, moral, security, and even family issues that its characters experience are going to come faster in the real world too.
The publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, has generously offered three copies to Singal-Minded readers. As always, one is reserved for a paid subscriber. Just send an email with ‘robot’ in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll choose randomly from the emails sent by 10:00 pm Eastern time tomorrow, June 9th.
Stay safe and let’s hope all this chaos leads to something good.