Disruptive Display Technology

Displays made from mass transfered micro-Light Emitting Diodes (uLED) are in the wings, awaiting their chance on the stage.  Ken Warner gave me a shout-out in today’s Display Daily because I shared with him my strong belief that this is the next major display technology.  I will be writing more on this subject, so stay tuned.


Turing Test

At what point does an Artificial Intelligence become “human”?  Does such a question even have meaning?  Many people half-heartedly consider Siri, or the voice of their car GPS to be Artificial Intelligence, but rarely consider it to be human.  If you were having an online conversation with someone and only  later discovered that you had been interacting with a very clever program with a very large database of knowledge and heuristical adaptive to learn and improve it’s ability to converse with people; would you say that it was intellegent?  Sentient?  Human?  Why not?

What if you met someone, went for a walk, talked to her, felt her touch.  What if you saw that someone cry tears at the prospect of loneliness and the loss of loved ones, and only later learned that she was inorganic; would you say then that they were intellegent?  Sentient? Human?  Why?

In my upcoming book, All the Stars are Suns, this question is at the very heart of the matter… at least for that Artificial Intelligence in question!

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All The Stars Are Suns

All the stars are suns.  It is perhaps the greatest scientific truth that we have learned through astronomy.  It was also the truth that contributed to the persecution and execution by conservative religious authority of Giordano Bruno in 1600.  It is also the title of a book that I am writing.

In high school, I was a member of what was then the largest club on campus, the Los Altos Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.  We published a fanzine, a collection of contributed fiction.  It was very low budget, just what we could scrape up ourselves.  However, we did manage to have in each annual issue, one essay or short story by a “real” author.  Since the club was fairly large (as high school clubs go) not every submission was included.  I submitted two stories, one of which was published, with just my first name, “Candice”.  It was my first published short story.

It has been forty years since then.  I’ve been busy “predicting the future by inventing it” as Alan Kay would have said.  Most of my writing in those forty years has been expository: documenting inventions, writing patent drafts, white papers, a chapter of an industry text book, and a few essays in magazines and journals.  But with more time on my hands now, I’ve returned to writing fiction.

In “All the Stars are Suns”, I am bringing together a number of ideas and inventions that rely on technologies that I believe will exist, but are just a bit too far into the future to be worth patenting today.  Some of the ideas are more speculative, but are solidly grounded in science.  Yet, as Arthur C. Clarke noted, sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  Thus, as my future universe unfolds, the story, hopefully to be continued as a serious of novels and short stories, blends elements that would fit into fantasy fiction, if one didn’t know the advanced technology behind it.

If you are reading this hoping for clues of what will be in it, you are in luck.  Just look at some of my previous essays here on my blog regarding going to the stars, psychophysics, biomicry, and futuristics.  In fact, I posted a short vignette titled “The Future in the Rearview Mirror” set in the same universe, but about a hundred years before All the Stars are Suns.

Writing a good book takes time.  I will be posting updates.

(Update 10-28-2015:  I’ve finished the rough draft of Part I of All the Stars are Suns… and sent it off to my editor.  Who also happens to by my husband / ex-journalist / ex-online news editor…  At just shy of 55,000 words, Part I is a novella set in the Solar System.  Part II will be set out in our new (future) colonies.  Stay tuned.)

(Update 7-26-2015:  I thought my concept of having the book in two parts, taking Part I and expanding it a bit into its own full novel, now standing at 75,000 words.  This is a bit short as SciFi novels go, but is now being edited and I sent it to beta readers for their feedback.  I will probably be expanding it further based on that feedback. What I had been thinking for Part II will be a future novel of its own, as a sequel of sorts.  Stay tuned.)


A Rose By Any Other Name…

My professional colleagues know that I follow all developments in the field of psychophysics, especially vision and olfaction. We have a pretty good handle on vision. But olfaction is still a very uncertain field, as this latest paper disputing another recent paper shows. One paper says we can discriminate one trillion different odors. The recent paper shows that the original data and mathmatical technique shows that instead it could be as low as 5,000 odors, which was what most researchers had estimated before the 2014 paper. Science, a brutal contact sport !!!


A Room With A View

About twelve to thirteen years ago, I set down to design my dream house.  Paraphrasing a popular saying, “In one’s life, one should build a house, plant a tree, and raise a child” or “One should build a house, write a book, raise a child”… in my life it has been “Start a company, raise children, and renovate a house”… Oh.. you get the idea.  But seriously, I have started businesses, invented a bunch of stuff, written a couple chapters in a couple books, and had a family.  So, I wanted to build a house.  But not just any old house.  A new house that looked like an old house, a grand house.  You can find the design here:

Click to access housedesign2002.pdf