Author Archives: W.P. McNeill

At the Edge of the Abyss of Madness

–Oh Jesus Christ! –Sorry, I shouldn’t have moved so quickly. –No, no. Really it’s me. I feel awful about this. –Don’t. It’s instinct. It’s biology. You can’t help it. –Still, it seems rude. You don’t feel the same way about … Continue reading

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The Echo of The Day Before

Consciousness is a subjective thing: you have your experience and I have mine, and short of one of us being psychic there is no way to compare them except by talking to each other. But even given this gulf, if … Continue reading

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What Technology are you Comfortable with Tom Waits Using?

Sure Automobile Airplane Telephone Phonograph Radio Pinball machine Maybe Answering machine VCR CD player Walkman Vintage video arcade game Definitely Not GPS Laptop computer TIVO Xbox Keurig coffee maker Siri

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Word Vectors, Gender Bias, and Postmodern Computing

You shall know a word by the company it keeps. —J.R. Firth Popular press reporting on scientific findings tends to be sensationalistic and oversimplified so I approached the recent Guardian article “AI programs exhibit racial and gender biases, research reveals” … Continue reading

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Power. Truth. Speaking.

In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not … Continue reading

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English Has No Word For

The kind of detritus—rubber bands, thumbtacks, orphaned fasteners, possibly dead batteries—that collects in drawers. A rock or brick left next to a locked door of a common area (the rear entrance of an apartment building, say, or a laundry room) … Continue reading

Posted in Mermaids | 2 Comments

For the Sake of the King

Write a computer program to play chess. It doesn’t have to play particularly well, just display an ability comparable to the average human being who has some aptitude for the game. What is the point of that? Computers have been … Continue reading

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