KMO welcomes author Elayne Clift to the C-Realm to talk about finding one's voice as a writer and using it to change the world for the better. Elayne has worked in many countries around the world in international public health education and communication with a focus on maternal and child health, which led her to Virginia Woolf’s conclusion: “As a woman, I have no country. As a woman, I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.” She now lives in rural Vermont where she writes full time and mentors developing writers.
Will the advent of artificial superintelligence (ASI) spell the end of capitalism? Doug Lain explores that question in his new novel, Bash Bash Revolution in which an AI named Bucky creates proliferating copies of itself to work questions of personal identity and free will. Eventually, the Buckys ensnare almost all of humanity in the GameCube Economy which makes people think they are having exciting adventures when in fact they're doing boring, repetitive labor. One of the challenges that Bucky faces is getting non-gamers to put on VR headsets. Nuclear Armageddon is on the line, but fortunately, the AI understands the appeal of 90s nostalgia.
KMO talks with Dr. Dan Freilich, a Navy veteran and VA doctor who hopes to defeat Vermont's incumbent Representative, Peter Welch, in the upcoming primary election. For Dr. Dan, every problem and every issue that progressives care about comes back to campaign finance reform. He has vowed not to accept campaign contributions from corporations or from special interests of any kind. He says he'll drop out of the race if Representative Welch will make the same pledge. The conversation ranges over many topics, including the F-35 fighter, the opiate addiction crisis, the role of lobbyists and the unworkability of throwing up one's hands and declaring the entire system to be hopelessly corrupt.
KMO talks with B. J. Mendelson, the author of Social Media is Bullshit and Privacy: And How to Get It Back. Is privacy a lost cause? Is there any way to swim against the current of big tech companies collecting, collating and profiting off of the enormous amount of personal data that we generate with the use of our handy electronic gizmos? Is there any point in even trying? If corporations do things that are creepy-yet-legal, do we have a leg to stand on? What role does artificial intelligence play in the future of privacy? Should Facebook pay us for the use of our data? If so, how much could we reasonably expect to get for it? Could this serve as an alternative to UBI? All this plus jokes in this week's C-Realm Podcast.
The profession of writing books has changed in recent decades, and now James Howard Kunstler, the author of many books both fiction and non-fiction, published by mainstream publishers, is relying increasingly on blogging and reader support through Patreon to pay the bills. Jim talks about his days at Rolling Stone and the lofty expectations he had for his first novel and what it was like to have 8 published novels under his belt and still be waiting tables. Later, Jim and KMO compare notes on their disillusionment with the behavior of the Blue Tribe in the Trump years. Jim is a registered Democrat, and KMO is a recovering libertarian, and neither of them was in a position to be disappointed by the Red Tribe's failure to ride the reality bus. Not so with the Blue Tribe.
The new weekly comic strip that KMO mentioned at the end of the episode can be found here: