The Machinery – Gerrard Cowan (Review)

41ctGTurmuLThe Overland have just finished conquering the Plateau on which their civilisation exists. No-one else stood a chance; the Overland select their leaders according to the whims of an omnipotent (and titular) Machine, which has given them an edge for the last ten millennia. Hegemony beckons.

But overshadowing all of these achievements is a prophecy that the government have done their best to stamp out. A faction of Doubters claim that the machinery has begun to break down and soon will halt completely. A secret police of hideously-masked Watchers scour the crowds for signs of this heresy, disappearing and torturing anyone they deem guilty. Among all of this a range of viewpoint characters, including Katrina Paprissi, a young woman whose brother vanished in mysterious circumstances, navigate a complex web of power games mediated by the machine’s whims. Continue reading “The Machinery – Gerrard Cowan (Review)”

Give Us Strength, Oh Lord, to Let our Children Starve

I came across this article today. Following on from that, I came across this extremely similar article, but on a much more readable website. Both articles date from early last year, and both concern the same event: a machine has written poetry.

I don’t approve – it is important to me, I find, that there are some arenas in which mankind is not surpassed by machines. I’m happy to concede efficiency, I’m happy to admit that a computer can simulate and calculate far more rapidly and accurately than I could ever hope to achieve. All the privilege I claim for my own species (it is not a very enviable one: you need not covet it), is that of creating: of making something new and original, of infusing ink and dead trees with beauty and meaning, of finding the figure trapped inside a block of stone. Continue reading “Give Us Strength, Oh Lord, to Let our Children Starve”