2016-11-06

The Future

Update
Peacekeeper Pathogen is now at 49,343 words. Looking toward the future, I've created a bit of a problem for my characters and right now I haven't figured out how to get them out of issue so the story can come to a satisfactory end. My brain has also been apparently performing internal reviews of the story and has begun pointing out things I missed in earlier chapters. I didn't ask my brain to do this! But, I'm glad it does. I just keep a side-log of things so I can go back and fix them during my first editing pass.

I realized yesterday (which turned out to be a non-writing day) that I have put writing ahead of many things I should be attending to such as: My website is very out of date; Several books require reformatting and cover alterations; Critical off-line backups had not been done; Scanning and filing of household documents had been delayed. I took care of the documents and backups yesterday. The rest will have to wait for when I not only have time to write but time to do other things as well. Prioritizing is often difficult.

The Future
I write science fiction and as such I try to be as up-to-date on all the cool gadgets people are creating these days. We live in an age of ultra-fast advances--often too fast for these advances to be properly integrated into our lives. If our society were different, these advances would be quickly turning our lives into an abundant, thrilling existence. Instead, it often serves a darker purpose.

Take the internet of things as an example. For a disabled or elderly person who finds it difficult to get around, having the ability to remotely control the lights in your house, view what's going on in another room, adjust the thermostat, or see who's ringing your doorbell can make life much better. But when these same devices can be hacked, it can make that same person's life a living hell. Those same devices can also be used by those who really don't need them. Why get up off the couch to turn off the kitchen light when you can pick up your phone, open an app, find the appropriate icon, and flip the light off? These devices, while useful to some, can also end up turning us into couch potatoes of the extreme kind. Too lazy to turn off a light.

Because we have certain types of people in our society, the manufacturers of these devices need to consider what can happen if their helpful devices are exploited by people who have social issues. The devices need to be easy to use but at the same time they need to be secure. But, manufacturers are driven by greed (called profit in social circles) and taking the time and effort to make their devices useful yet secure is not in their business model. Because of that, people suffer. Yet, if the manufacturer does try to do what is right and profits fall, the same people who are demanding they build better devices make the manufacturer suffer by pointing out that their profits have fallen.

We are rapidly moving towards a world where robots will be common, vehicles drive themselves and talk to each other to prevent accidents and increase efficiency, and machine intelligence is used by professionals to make everyday decisions. This is the world of science fiction! But is society ready for this? Have we advanced enough culturally and sociologically to handle what we are now capable of building? Given what I have seen in the news over the past few months the answer is no. After I'm done writing Peacekeeper Pathogen, I'm seriously thinking of writing a darker science fiction story of the near future where people cower in fear of the very machines they thought would free them because others have taken them over for their own purposes.