Is predicting the next president like BattleBots?

In my last blog entry I suggested that BattleBots, a show that features robots battling in a ring, can be humorous — largely because we don’t know which robot style is going to win, and because robots aren’t alive.

In the current U.S. presidential battle, the participants also have different styles.  Whether they are humorous or not is in the eyes of the beholder.  But, predicting the winner may be harder than predicting whether a spinning robot with a slicer and dicer is going to defeat — or be defeated by — another bot with a hammer and flipper.

That’s why today I blogged on NEWWorthy.com about some of the various prediction sites and even a related contest held by the American Statistical Association.  I included a BBC News video which describes how some prediction models that supposedly have had success in the past are not in agreement so far this year.

As a science fiction writer, I often wonder just how far scientists and experts will go with predictions, Big Data, and statistics.  If you wonder too, you might enjoy my short story entitled “Surfing the Wave” about a young man who takes statistical analysis to the extreme.  It’s in my e-book anthology, “Science Fiction: Future Youth“.

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Battlebots: Yeti versus Lucky

Researchers are working on all kinds of robots.  There are military robots, robots with emotions, robots that detect our emotions, domestic robots — like the popular vacuum cleaner, chat robots, and robots that even do their own research.  But robots do not yet have consciousness, as far as I know — or as far as I understand consciousness, which is to say that consciousness is a difficult subject.

Robots even make us laugh.  Or at least, I sometimes find them funny.  That’s why I chuckle when I watch BattleBots.  The recent match between Yeti and Lucky was a good one.  They put on quite a show, each destroying parts of the other.  If I suspected the robots were aware, I would not condone the activity any more than I would seeing animals in a fight,  But at least for now, I find the conflict enjoyable to watch — sort of mesmerizing like a good computer-age demolition derby.

Someday, I won’t be laughing at robots quite so much, unless they intentionally want to be funny.  And what about robots that want to laugh?  What will they find funny?  If you find this thought interesting, you might enjoy reading my award nominated story, “A Comic on Phobos”, or one of my robot story anthologies.

By the way, you can get “A Comic on Phobos” for free until the end of July, 2016 at Smashwords.  My anthologies can be found on my homepage.

Appliv and mobile app discovery

As a sci-fi writer and Indie app developer, I know how difficult it is to get e-books and apps noticed on publisher e-shelves.

Appliv recently contacted me.  They are reviewing my unique card game “Family Tree Solitaire” — I’ll post the link soon — as one of their app selections for their website in the U.S.  Appliv is a mobile app discovery platform that aids users with reviews and categorization.  It has millions of users in Japan and this year has been expanding globally, including the U.S.

Just search on the internet for “app discovery” and “problems” and you’ll see that app discovery is a major issue for app developers (especially small Indie developers) and users over the last decade.
Apple, Google, and Microsoft stores all have an abundance of software, but it can be difficult for small developer apps to stand out in the crowd and for users to find new and unique apps that might otherwise interest them.  Apple Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft Cortana attempt to help users find what they are looking for, but they are general purpose tools, not necessarily attuned to the issues specific to app discovery.  Pinterest and Facebook are attempting to help developers and users to find apps through stand-out pins and strategically placed ads.

We are perhaps still in the early stages of app discovery tools that make life easier for both developers and users.  Appliv is one of the companies attempting to satisfy this need globally.

Until the end of July 2016, my e-books “A Comic on Phobos”, “Face Facts”, and “Movie Magic Squares” (a hypertext movie theme game) have a FREE coupon code on Smashwords.

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