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Creative writing In Machina Science Science Fiction Space

The Taste of Space 5: Extraterrestrial Meal Times

The zero-g fryer is bubbling, the smell of fresh bread fills your spacecraft and a bell chimes the shift change. The crew gathers in the ship’s mess. We’ve gone from growing food and making meat to off-Earth cooking, so what will meal times look like in space? The first question is when to eat. In […]

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In Machina Science Space

The Taste of Space 4: Cosmic Cooking

The gravity’s turned down low, the larder is packed with space-grown veggies, cultured meat and artificial protein: it’s time to get cooking in space. Astro-chefs have to improvise hard right now, but there are tools on the way which will revolutionise the way space travellers feed themselves. I fell into a research vortex when I […]

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Creative writing In Machina Science Science Fiction Space

The Taste of Space 3: Let’s Meet the Meat*

Growing vegetables in space is one thing, but it’s no place for the animals that most of us still rely on for key nutrients. Will space-faring humans be forever denied the joy of a bacon sandwich? Is the true cosmic horror a solar system populated by evangelising veganauts? I never thought I’d be pondering these […]

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Creative writing In Machina Novels Science Science Fiction Space

The Taste of Space 2: Greening the Galaxy

Astronauts in 2023 take almost everything they eat with them. Future space travellers will need to grow plants in space without regular supply rockets. What’s happening in space agriculture today that I can throw forward a hundred years for my WIP, In Machina? Escaping the gravity well Getting anything into space is governed by “the […]

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In Machina Science Space

The Taste of Space 1: Contemporary Astro Cuisine

From food paste to replicators, our ideas of space food are a jambalaya of clichés and fantasies. I’ve been researching the extraterrestrial cuisine to season scenes set around an off-Earth dining table in an SF novel set in the early 2100s. Neither the 1960s space race nor Star Trek give a useful picture of what’s […]

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AI Creative writing In Machina Psychology Science Fiction

Embodied intelligence: bad news for transhumanists, great news for AIs

Uploading your mind to a computer is a sci-fi trope that’s almost as old as the electronic computer. Yet the more I write about AI, the more I think that it’s never going to happen. The reason: embodied intelligence. Consciousness uploads are also a notion that gets transhumanists and some sci-fi fans extremely agitated. From […]

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AI Creative writing In Machina Novels

Boris Johnson and Google’s ‘sentient’ AI have ruined the Turing test

Does Google have a sentient AI lurking in its basement, ready to ace the Turing Test? That was the grand claim made by a former AI researcher at the internet advertising giant. Blake Lemoine leaked transcripts of his chats as evidence that Google’s AI had made the leap to sentience. Google says he’s wrong and […]

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In Machina Novels Psychology Science

Comparative Intelligence: a scale for cross-species sentience and AI

And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space… …’cos there’s bugger-all down here on Earth Eric Idle, “Galaxy Song”, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life “AI” is one of the most over-used and misapplied terms in popular science, right after “quantum leap”. Animal intelligence is either embraced uncritically or dismissed prejudicially, rarely without […]