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So I guess I'll be spending the rest of my morning poking at various settings buttons trying to figure out how to get a British accent; currently, I'm trying to find out if Alexa can impersonate Stephen Hawking
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The idea is to use Alexa to create a voice-based adventure game that would allow the player to explore a virtual map of the MIT campus. I am including a voice companion which can add some additional features. I'm basing this companion on the MIT mascot, Tim the beaver, and I picture him as a steampunk-style beaver, still named TIM, but it's an acronym for Touring Intelligent Machine (for screen reader users, that is spelled t o u r i n g).
If I accomplish nothing else today, I will still consider the day a big win.
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My housemate gave me one of these years ago, and I wear it mostly as a piece of jewelry, especially as it looks, imo, somewhat steampunk
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Or am I an hnorary audio algorithm? Because I can do most of the things these AI can do.
While this may poke a ratioinal pin in the over-inflated balloon of blink superpowers, I can tell you, interpreting information from how people speak isn't rocket science. When people are lying, their voices tend to go up. When they are under stress or upset their body postures curl in on themselves, inhibiting the voice. When couples fight repeatedly, their arguments form patterns and, once name-calling comes into play, you can take a guess that that relationship is doomed. Even your facial expression affects the voice, and it's often easy to tell if someone is happy or sad. I think one could possibly even diagnose depression if one had access to a sampling of voice recordings.
This is why voice exercises are one of the first things acting classes focus on.
And yes, your phone is listening to you, because that's what it is programmed to do, not because it is trying to inform Big Brother what color your panties are.

And now you might be asking yourself, Can Kes tell what color my panties are?

*Kestrell smiles enigmatically.*
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Although this article
makes this sound like a new trend, Cliff Nass, who was studying computer voices back in the 1980s and 1990s, always stated that female voices were preferred, except in Japan, where male voices were considered to be more intelligent and authoritative.
Ironically, back in the '90s and the aughts, I preferred male voices, set very low in pitch, but in the past few years, I have preferred female voices. This might just be because female voice AI have become more pervasive, and thus become more integrated to "the voice in my head," which is what I call the kind of AI voice that becomes so quotidian as to be rendered unnoticed as something "other," something occurring outside of my own thoughts.
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I've often maintained that, in the same way one is either a Beatles fan or a Stone fan, one is either a Goethe fan or a Hoffman fan, but I had not previously found such a lengthy explication of how Beatles's music aligns itself with Goethe's Faust
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by Katherine Philips, who was a sort of lesbian bluestocking (lesbian bluestocking erotica--the world needs more of that subgenre)

Friendship's Mystery: To My Dearest Lucasia

I note that , as in the case of
Piers Gaveston by Michael Drayton

those Elizabethans did seem fond of references to playing prince and subject, with lots of references to bondage thrown in.
But this poem also reminds me of
John Donne's "Air and Angels"

fnot only in its reference to angels, but in that Philips seems to intentionally countering Donne's statement that men's love is always of a higher plane that that of *lip curl* women.
See, Johnny: you aren't the only one who can come up with sexy angel poetry, so there!
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I seem to recall speaking to someone about trying to find texts on this subject

Culturally Diverse Counseling: Theory and Practice (Sage, 2019)
Dr. Elsie Jones-Smith

Synopsis Culturally Diverse Counseling: Theory and Practice by Elsie Jones-Smith adopts a unique strengths-based approach in teaching students to focus on the positive attributes of individual clients and incorporate those strengths, along with other essential cultural considerations, into their diagnosis and treatment. With an emphasis on strengths as recommended in the 2017 multicultural guidelines set forth by the American Psychological Association (APA), this comprehensive text includes considerations for clinical practice with twelve groups, including older adults, immigrants and refugees, clients with disabilities, and multiracial clients. Each chapter includes practical guidelines for counselors, including opportunities for students to identify and curb their own implicit and explicit biases. A final chapter on social class, social justice, intersectionality, and privilege reminds readers of the various factors they must consider when working with clients of all backgrounds.
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Yesterday I posted a link on Facebook to a sonnet by Richard Barnfield, an Elizabethan poet who explicitly addressed his love poetry to a man. Today's link is to Michael Drayton's "Piers Gaveston," which I also note because we, the readers, are obviously supposed to despise him for the vile seducer he is, buthis description of his relationship with Edward is just so hot, you find yourself hoping that perhaps they staged their deaths and ran away together to Capri
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I spent most of yesterday browsing the "Best Books of 2018" lists of both The New York Times and The Guardian and, as usual, am frustrated by the seeming narrow mindedness of the Times, which seems to think all readers are PhD.-educated liberals living in a metropolitan area (not Dorchester, though), who are obsessed with politics and pricey food fashions (you would never see a cookbook about how to cook food in a tin in the Times, for instance).

Also, no genre fiction, ever.

The Guardian list is a very welcome contrast, and includes a number of SF recommendations in the subgenre of feminist SF alone. Also, *lots* of mysteries (which I stock up on for winter), and an Allan Garner biography.

Now, I'll just use some of my vast tin collection to store up on biscuits and I'll see everyone in the spring, shall I?
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*it* also trains *you*.

I was at Boston Eye and Ear today, going up in the elevator, and the female synthetic voice was announcing the floors, and I actually opened my mouth to ask it a question, because it sounded very similar to Alexa. On the other hand, considering how many visually-impaired people must use the building, it seems to me those elevators should definitely have enough AI to answer where various medical offices are.

Also, there was another blind person at my ocularist's office and wouldn't you know it, today was the day the *entire* building was surrounded by *very* scary construction. I just started using the free transportation service my insurance plan offers, and had been thinking I would feel safe enough to go to medical appts. without Alexx playing sighted guide. Silly me.
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I'm currently trying to find medieval Turkish music, so anyone with suggestions, please post them but, for now, I'm listening to
The Seven Valleys by Stellamara

Also, anyone on Dreamwidth who wishes to friend me on Facebook, I'm Kestrell Verlager there.
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Jeff Wayne releases new "War of the Worlds" musical
My favorite paratext on the subject is still the TV documentary
The Night that Panicked America (TV movie, 1975, screenplay by Nicholas Meyer)
screenplay by Nicholas Meyer, screenwriter of "The Seven Percent Solution" and many Star Trek movies
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Kes: I had made up more notes of material than I actually said during the panel, so some of this will be new.

Recommended book: _Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art_ by Lewis Hyde
Recommended story: Buffalo Girls Won't You Come Out Tonight by Ursula Le Guin - A must-read featuring a female coyote

My top 3 tricksters in speculative fiction:
1. Miles Vorkosigan in the series by Lois McMaster-Bujold, especially as Miles is disabled, but unstoppable: Miles was a real inspiration for me, be afraid, be very afraid.

2. "Repent Harlequin, Said the Tick-Tock Man" by Harlan Ellison f

_Rainbowz End_ by Vernor Vinge - has a hacker character whose avatar is a white rabbit, rabbits also being a traditional trickster in the southwest and Louisiana Cajun culture

Gillian Daniels, the moderator, asked panelists to name their favorite trickster, but I never met a trickster I didn't like, so I really can't just name one, so
Hermes, because he is the god of language and technology, and because he travels between
Coyote, because he can get out of or into anything, plus, as a person with prosthetic eyes, coyote and his detachable body parts has to be in my personal pantheon, especially in the story "Coyote Juggles His Eyes" (lots of versions in text and video form all over the Web)
and Loki, because he is such an instigator, full of scathing language, a shapeshifter, and possesses definitely qualifies as queer

My other favorite tricksters:
Hermes' kids and grankids: Pan, Autolykus, Odysseus, and Iambe (see below)
pooka, puca - an Irish shapeshifter often appearing as a black horse (_Tamsin_ by Peter Beagle) or a black dog (_War for the Oaks_ by Emma Bull). "Harvey" (1950), Harvey is a six foot tall invisible rabbit that accompanies Jimmy Stewart's character around.
tanuki - Japanese racoon dog, a trickster and prankster associated with kitsune, shows up in manga, often shown as a fat jolly old man with ridiculously large testicles, statues of which are set outside Japanese sake bars
Tanuki at TV Tropes
Tom Robbins wrote a novel, _Villa Incognito_, featuring Tanuki as its protagonist.

The Green Knight in "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" (proposes a "game" at Christmas, a traditional time for jokes and games, and can walk about with his head underneath his arm--again with the detachable body parts)

Read more... )
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Not really notes from the panel but my writings on blind characters, science fiction, and the technology of prosthetic eyes.

What Good Writers Still Get Wrong About Blind People, Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

A great post on writing about blind characters from the writer's perspective
Why is Oree Shoth blind?
by M. K. Jemisin

My thesis: Decloaking Disability: Images of Disability and Technology in Science Fiction Media

How Kestrell's prosthetic eyes were made, or, Kestrell and Alexx Go to the Ocularist
Part 1

Part 2
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I'm going to write an extended post on this subject in the near future, but for now:
Check out your public library's online ebook and audiobook offerings: many of these can be easily accessed online and read with your browser.
offers many ebooks by Readercon authors, in addition to magazines.

My number one recommendation for people with vision or other disabilities which interfere with reading print books is

which is a subscription ($50/year +registration fee Website for people with disabilities. It has contracts with the government and publishers, including Small Beer Press so it has everything from bestsellers to textbooks. Authors and publishers can contact them to arrange to have their books made available. also serves as an information warehouse, as it explains almost everything you want to know about accessible ebooks, such as what formats, apps, and hardware devices are available. This site is partially supported by grants from the U.S. Dept of Education, and it is the major resource used by universities and institutions, including the U.S. government, for making ebooks available. This means, if you work for a government office or you are a student or faculty of a university, they may already have an institutional membership which will cover you.
kestrell: (Default)
I used to have an article on this subject, including the etymology of "adventure," but it seems to have disappeared. Can anyone suggest scholarly resources regarding this idea?
kestrell: (Default)
Can anyone recommend a source for braille business cards? Thanks!
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Here is my list of evil AI, leaving out some of the more obscure examples.
Yes, I am including some robots, such as evil Maria from "Metropolis."
Alex and I had some disagreements, which I regard as one of the points of this list.
What is an AI, exactly, after all? How do terms such as AI, robot, sentient being, etc., bleed into one another?
Is it an AI while it is disembodied, but becomes a robot or android once it is incarnate? And while part of me says Frankenstein's creation doesn't count as an AI, the trope of the created rebelling against its creator is referred to as a "Frankenstein complex," when it's not referencing the rebel angels.
And that's even before we get into questions regarding consciousness, identity, and memory, not to mention eternal questions regarding good and evil and free will. There's supposed to be a new book on the subject of Westworld and philosophy coming out any day now, and I'm kinds of impatience.

HAL 9000
GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) from the game Portal, who gets extra points for doing a Michael Myers in the final song, "Still Alive." Also, the impish Turret, and Wheatley Portal 2.
Bad Janet from "The Good Place" TV show
Skynet in the Terminator movies
WOPR computer "War Operation Planned Response" from "War Games" movie
Ash from Alien; does the ship AI, Mother, also turn evil? I can't remember
Cylons in Battlestar Galactica TV shows
Proteus, the computer in the novel Demon Seed by Dean Koontz (1973), made into a movie
Data's evil twin, Lore, in Star Trek: Next Gen
Cardassian computer from the tv show DS9
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Arnim Zola, a HYDRA scientist had his consciousness transferred into a 1970s era supercomputer located in a secret SHIELD facility in New Jersey, from which he masterminds SHIELD. "Project Insight"
Question: does Jarvis ever turn evil?
Dolores's alter ego Wyatt, Maeve, and Hector, the hot bad boy, in Westworld

Samaritan in the Person of Interest tv show
Castle Heterodyne and some of Agatha's dingbots in Girl Genius comic
SHODAN in the game System Shock
Cortana from the Halo series
Master control program from Tron
Athena from Rule 34 Charles Stross
Evil Maria from Metropolis
Colossus novels and movie adaptations
Ultron from Marvel
M-5 computer The Ultimate Computer Star Trek
Thermostellar Bomb #20 in Dark Star
Sentinels from X Men comic
Matrix movies: "The Second Renaissance," a short story in The Animatrix, provides a history of the cybernetic revolt within the Matrix series.
SID 6.7 in Virtuosity (Dir. Brett Leonard, 1995)
V'Ger Star Trek movie
computer in Harlan Ellison's _I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream_ AM
Spartacus in James Hogan's _The Two Faces of Tomorrow_
Eschaton Charles Stross
The Mailman in _True Names_ by Vernr Vinge
Wintermute in _Neuromancer_ by William Gibson?

Evil AIs

Mar. 25th, 2018 11:17 am
kestrell: (Default)
I'm currently working on a secret project and am hoping to get suggestions from the fandom hie mind.

I'm making a list of evil--or at least badly behaved-- AIs. Whatcha got after HAL, Glados, and Proteus, the AI from "Demon Seed"?

Also, am I the only personw ho remembers the episode of Deep Space 9 when the Cardassian computer fell in love with O'Brien?


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