I'm calling this update #7a instead of #8 because, even though it has been a week, I haven't finished anything I was reading at this time last week! I'm still reading Ceres Storm by David Herter upstairs, The Forest of Peldain by Barrington J. Bayley downstairs and A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain at work.
I did however finish A History of the English Language by Michael Drout, in the car. As I said before I'm going to listen to this again when we drive to Asheville for Thanksgiving as I think my wife and daughter will get even more out of it than I did.
Since then I've been listening to Super Crunchers : Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart by Ian Ayres. The neat thing about listening to this book is that while I am coming up with ideas for the company I work for on how we can use our customer data more effectively; more importantly I am getting ideas for stories!
The first one he hand feeds the listener. He talks about how the IRS has so much information about us that if they decided to start super crunching and then providing that data to us, they could become the Information & Revenue Service. Imagine getting a letter in the mail from them telling you that couples with your income and your amount of consumer debt are 57% more likely to get divorce in the next two years than couples with no debt. The possibilities are endless. Or perhaps a story where the government secretly compiles all this data and uses it to finally figure out how to effectively govern. I'm sure I can find a moral dilemma or two in there somewhere.
I wrote about a story idea before, with computers predicting the future (just not in real time so far) but as they get more data, and faster processors they get better and better at it until they can see the future completely. Things in this book have been tickling at the edges of that story idea. Whether it's just providing some of the details along the way, or actually changing the story remains, to be seen.
Unfortunately listening to this in the car means I didn't write down a couple of germs of ideas it gave me. Hopefully they will come back to me as I listen to the rest of the book.
Not surprisingly I get most of my ideas for science fiction stories, when I read about science, not when I read fiction. You'd think I would read more science books because of this...
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2 years ago