Monday, May 6, 2013




I have long been fascinated by the potential of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and actually it has featured as a background topic in several of my books.

For instance, my character, Joachim Henssen—generally known as “Henssen”—who features in my book GAMES OF THE HANGMAN, and other titles, is an AI guru. He works for German intelligence (the BKA), feels–quite rightly—that his masters don’t appreciate his work, and ends up making an unorthodox, but successful alliance with a group based in Bern, Switzerland. Later, in subsequent books, he—philosophically a “Green”—gravitates to living on Fitzduane’s island—and to developing artificial intelligence to a higher level. In the world of counter-terrorism, such developments have consequences.

Who is Fitzduane? Good grief! If you don’t know that, you would be wise to read one of my books.

Dr. David Ferrucci (who I regret  I have never met) would appear to be the nearest thing to a real life version of Henssen (or close enough); and there is an interesting article about him today’s New York Times. After a 20 year career with IBM culminating in his leading the development of Watson (the IBM computer that won Jeopardy) he has joined the vast hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates—a development I find rather sad.

The financialization of the U.S. continues—to excess. Personally, I’d like to see the extraordinary power of computers like Watson focused on solving some of our real life problems—everything from city planning to medical diagnosis. And I have faith that such unimaginable computing power can and will—if the necessary political will exists (a rather large qualification).

I have finally caught up with my blogs—you will recall I stopped blogging for something like 16 days when working intensively on a screenplay. It proved to be a harder task than I imagined—but the results are better than I had hoped.

I love the phrase: “Informed, but not blindly driven by data.” It’s worth thinking through.

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