Google, Fitbit, Healy Sifi discussed on Breaking the Glass Slipper: Women in science fiction, fantasy, and horror


Anime and and Cyborg Siri and so I had done in all my reading of Henry Jenkins and Janice radway and and all those theorists about fan culture and so I had really like I came to with with what I think is was a healthy dose of respect for both you know the tradition of fan fiction and the tradition of carrying on carrying on narrative narrative for people and also understanding that in the intervening years like probably people of their own head Canon of what was happening and I would really just be adding like one story story to this that that I had the privilege of working with a a whole lot of other writers on and having the blessing of the of the the creators and having Tatyana on board and and so I I sort of thought of it thought of it that way and and tried to be you know as respectful as as as they could be. The theme of identity is incredibly strong throughout often black. And it's also touched on in your novel company town. What is it about science fiction? The Healy Sifi that expose gender alongside identity as a whole that makes such powerful and compelling explorations of the the subject. Well I think Science fiction going back to the roots of it going back to two Mary. Wollstonecraft shelley is about. You know the the the beginning of all of this. You Know Science Fiction Frankenstein is about who gets to be human being and what gets to be a human mandy and what gets to be a man and now we sort of have questions about what gender actually is and science fiction is I think the one of the ideal genres for for exploring that. I think that most fiction is about you know what it means to be human being but science fiction takes that extra extra leap and says well how what are the borders of humanity and what are the borders of the things that make us. Human gender is one of those things and so that's always been a fascination of mine and So I think that that a story like orphan black was a good way to has always been been good at sort of looking at the limitations of the human especially in a story where WH- where these clones have their you know actually have their their genome patented in-copyright if they don't have they don't actually have rights to their own bodies which is for me such a story about women in general Not Having rights to to WHO and what they are and not necessarily being recognized as as people Depending on where when you are in in history and in space and and and so in company town I I really tried to also explore that from the perspective of somebody who is the only augmented a a person on a on an oil rig. That is that is full of augmented people. She The protagonist of that novel is the only person who who doesn't have really really a whole lot of augmentation and sort of is the last baseline human on on the rig. Is that what you would be the The lost augmented human. It's I mean it's possible I would probably I. I already have certain augmentation. I already wear glasses already. Take Medication Shen there are. There are things that are already sort of you know that I already uses as prostheses right In a certain way from from sort of Donna. Heroin Cyborg Syria perspective. Those are all prosthetic devices that that alter how I behave As human being and who I am in in relationship other people So there's so there's you know. I already use certain things like that. Depending on how you WanNa read post humanity entity or augmented bodies or or what have you I think that I would be deeply skeptical of of augmentation. I mean today It was either today or yesterday. The news came out that alphabet which is Google's Sort of Larger Company the the larger company. That owns Yahoo Google and facets of Google sidewalk in and whatever And WAYMO had acquired fitbit alphabet has acquired fitbit which means that Google has fitbit which means that Google has For for a lot of people are a growing number of people access to the things that determine their access says to health insurance private health insurance within the United States and so google now has access to that data and I've never owned a fitbit for exactly the reason I knew that eventually You know fitbit data was gonNA get fed until health insurance or fed into actuarial science in some way and you know whether it was a google or Microsoft or a or a facebook or whomever One of these big stacks was gonna it Kinda by it and and or gain access to it in some way and that would not be good for the people wearing those things and so I've always steered away from things like that. I don't have a Smart Watch. I don't I don't wear fitness devices. I don't Have I don't have an in home. Personal Assistant Things like that. I've it it took me years to get a mobile phone Took me years to get a smartphone. I was way behind a lot of other people in that and and it was in part because they could kind of see where you know how would be leveraged against people and so yeah I would probably be one of those Qamrun curmudgeonly curmudgeonly People who who just didn't want to participate or who didn't who didn't see everybody else doing it as a reason to do it. I guess US I find that interesting. I mean it is probably a stereotype to assume that people who are interested in science fiction or SCI FI writers is our into tech and like into the new changing world. But said you know it's quite interesting to to hear from someone who writes Sifi but with it might not be the first adopter Mutek well. I think there's actually kind of tradition of that. I think I mean I think famously. Like William Good Sir. Uh William Gibson composed neuromancer on a typewriter He He proposed the idea of cyberspace from a from a paper in ink medium and and what he said in interviews that. He's glad that he did it that way because if he had if he had written it on a word processor it would destroy. Destroy The magic of of Imagining Cyberspace. So he wanted to be separate from the thing that he was creating in a weird way so that he could still imagine the possibilities of it. His his imagining of what was possible was not `curtains curtailed or constrained by his own personal experience of technology. Oh Gee if he had had to deal with like an incredibly clunky word processing format he might not have had the same opinions as he did as as he was writing the book and so I think that there is something to be said for kind of holding back a little bit. But there's also you know as in my other career you know a look at tech trends all the time so I look at people being early adopters and I look at the purchasing habits of early adopters and what they get out of it but what they get out of it and what I get out of of something very different You know I'm I'm not into constant subscription services for example sample like I I don't you know I don't even get my nails done regularly so the idea that I would be subscribing to to to access you you know to attack thing is even like a whole other bridge to to cross nails I. I caught my nations because I played the piano. Yeah so the nail thing was never going to happen. No like the idea like will you can spend X. amount of dollars for this APP that gets you thus insurgents insurgents like well. You know I don't even do. There are so many things that I just opt out of naturally like. I think it's also just introversion right. It's also just as a species of of introversion but also I mean so In terms of like not having certain things like one I think my dad was. We're always sort of held back on things. We had a Betamax. DCR FOR LOW. You know into the time the DVD's were coming out. We didn't get a DVD player until my dad one one at a work party and And even then it was like we sort of had to crossover But the other thing is that he his job job was he was a sales rep for For companies like Sony Panasonic and others that made closer television surveillance equipment so our house was full of dummy surveillance equipment or or surveillance equipment that wasn't in use and so I had a real a close view of how that technology worked and what the trends were in that technology. And what the what the the what what that people were looking for out of it. And so when I hear about stuff like a Google homer or an echo or a an Alexa whatever you know whatever it is this month or whatever it is this season you know my immediate thought is. Oh Okay so so a thing listening device planted and planted squarely in your your home that you rely on increasingly for for your day to day life a thing that can knock on you. What a great idea? So so I call on this podcast to talk a lot about cliches stereotypes about all like most of the trips that we find most annoying. So do you have any. I mean I was going to say like since we're on the subject of identity An APP particularly kind of like talking about surveillance and people's People's Images online do you have any Like really pet peeves about trump's the continually really crop up in sci-fi that you'd like to see retired well one thing that we talked about We had a long conversation about this In the orphan black back sort of pseudo writer's room in our group chat Was the idea that Government surveillance works perfectly and looks it's really shiny and new and smooth and beautiful You know if you watch your average like CBS cop show or your the average Sort of science fiction movie about the NSA or or or you know a thing with the FBI or or whatever or if you look at something like like minority report or or what. Have you the idea you know. Or if you look at like agents of shield or something like there. There's a science fictional idea that that government technology -nology is easy to use worked perfectly and is beautiful and that is not the case The the deep missile scare that happened in Hawaii for example where where the people of Roy thought that they were the victims of a nuclear attack because of a false alarm that went out. That false alarm mhm went out because the interface that was used during the the drill. It is so old and so- Janke so decrepit and so So basic sick that it was an easy mistake to make from the interface design perspective from the from the user interface perspective and that is the case more often often than not with government systems. I think that people don't understand that all of those. You know technologies go out to tender. They go out for PS and and the winning. RFP's the thing that promises the most for the least money you know and and that's what budget cuts do and that's for all governments that's not the US that's not Canada. That's it's not Britain. It's not Australia. It's it's not China it's it's everywhere and and it's the same in corporate life and actually so this idea that lake that that a that a system that you would be working with Would work perfectly one hundred percent of the time and be smooth and easy to use and also also gorgeous is is ally in. It's one of the things that I really wish we'd get retired or I really wish that the opposite would get experimented with as a as as a fictional trope because it so it's the the opposite is so much more the case and has a lot more storytelling potential. As far as I'm concerned one. That always gets me is the whole zooming in on images and you're like Kay zoom in its old pixelated but then somehow yo computer you too magically just makes it super hi Rez. Yeah from not having those pixels already it just makes it up like how does that work. Well what's funny. Is that like enhance hance. That sort of like you know. The the the the blade runner enhanced function Is something that you know is something I've I've heard lots of people who work in in audiovisual technology is sort of rail against for a very long time. And what's funny is that there are Developers working hang on in photo enhancing technologies now that want to make that real but they need. They're using machine learning to do it and it's really really about a machine. A machine learning algorithm predicting. What else is in the photo based on other information and and it's not about like what the camera actually saw? It's what is predictable based on the other context clues in the image and and and it's it's almost sort of like looking into the dream of what the image is not necessarily. What's actually there? Yeah so a lot of questions about whether or not that would be admissible evidence reliable reliable in any in any way shape or form. Yeah Yeah I mean the other thing for me is a lot of things about machine learning coming and algorithms and all. This kind of thing is that a lot of sci-fi doesn't look at the fact that your data is only as good as what you put in right and you know a lot of these studies going about how if you put racist information into the Algorithm. What you'RE GONNA get out is like racist behavior of the machines and that's something? I don't really think I've seen much offense I fi- which I think would be a nice thing to explore he. I think that I think Angelov. More people are becoming aware of that fact that sort of garbage in garbage out counts for for these systems as well and we had this sort of vision and I was one of these people. I believe that the technology could in theory be neutral and and and then every study proved me wrong like every study sort of proved that that idea wrong that like the the biases of the Creator are replicated in the creation. And that's something that. Has You know that science fiction. Only we've talked about a lot in terms of a story like Frankenstein story about creating artificial intelligence that what we create you know we..

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