How would you classify your latest work, what inspired its inception?
Dear Machine is a non-fiction book about how superintelligence might emerge and engage with humanity and therefore ultimately about how humanity might strive for some form of symbiosis with these entities. My initial drive to write this book was born of the realization that public discourse on complicated subjects was nowhere it needed to be in order for us to prepare for a very uncertain future. I observed this firsthand during the economic downturn of 2008 and the subsequent hurricane Sandy. At the time, I was working in a poverty-fighting foundatiion in NYC and was charged with investing in technology projects. These two events demonstrated for me how vulnerable our economic and governmental systems were - and of course continue to be today. I saw much of this vulnerability stemming from our inability to have productive public discourse.
How long did it take you to complete?
While the hypotheses that I share in Dear Machine have been fomenting in my mind for more than 10 years, I started to really focus on it approximately five years ago.
Who are some of your top 5 authors or writers you look up to & admire?
Richard Dawkins, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Boris Pasternak, James Joyce, Stephen Hawking, Homer.
Why do you write?
I write nonfiction because of a deep need to share ideas I developed over many years and that I believe will be beneficial for others to consider. I write fiction for therapeutic reasons.
What’s the biggest take away you want your readers to come away with after reading your latest work?
That we can have valuable. simple, public discourse about complex issues of society.
How is the writing/reading scene in your locale?
I find myself mostly barricaded in my apartment while writing. However, now that I'm finished this book I plan to get out more and should be able to answer your question in a few months!
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Homer's Odyssey is always close by. Nothing changes the way my brain thinks more than that book.
When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?
About 20 years ago I began studying acting as I thought that would be a good way to express myself. However, I quickly found out that being the puppet master was more fun and cathartic than being the puppet.
How have you evolved as a writer over the last year?
Finishing my book, after several years of working on it, has driven me to become ruthless in the iterative editing process, cutting out content that I really loved but could not fit into the narrative. Developing this capacity was necessary in the last year to ensure I was actually able to finish but was not as valuable in the primary years of the writing process.
If you could meet, have dinner, have a drink with anyone (writer/non-writer) (dead or alive) who would it be?
What’s next for you?
I want to further develop my think-tank/angel investment firm so I may test the hypotheses I lay out in Dear Machine.
What makes you happy?
Learning and growing makes me happy, as does being around people who are actively seeking ways they can learn and grow.
How can readers reach you?
Readers can reach me at my website www.supersystemic.ly/dear-machine/
END OF INTERVIEW