Category Archives: Blog

If AI can write news items, they can write essays too

There is a crisis coming in academia. It’s been looming on the horizon for quite some time, and now threatens to bring the profession into disrepute.

That problem is AI.

For many years now, AI have been used to power chat bots and digital assistants such as Cortana, Siri and Alexa. Over the years, these bots have become far more nuanced and complex. While these systems aren’t intelligent in the same way as a human being, they do a fairly good job at mimicking human behaviour, and convincing us that they are ‘real’.

Indeed, these technologies are now so convincing that it won’t be long before they are put to nefarious use. It’s already been shown that AI can write convincing news articles, and it won’t be long before they are used to write academic essays, even more complex works such as research papers and even full-length publications.

Make no mistake, this is a serious issue, and one that needs to be taken seriously. In the next few years, AI-powered essay mills have the potential to shake academia right to the very core.

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Killer robots already exist, and they’ve been here a very long time…


Humans will always make the final decision on whether armed robots can shoot, according to a statement by the US Department of Defense. Their clarification comes amid fears about a new advanced targeting system, known as ATLAS, that will use artificial intelligence in combat vehicles to target and execute threats. While the public may feel uneasy about so-called “killer robots”, the concept is nothing new – machine-gun wielding “SWORDS” robots were deployed in Iraq as early as 2007.

But our relationship with military robots goes back even further than that.  This is because when we say ‘robot’, what we really mean is a technology with some form of ‘autonomous’ element that allows it to perform a task without the need for direct human intervention.

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Embodying Fantastika, Lancaster University, 8th-10th August 2019

‘Fantastika’ is an umbrella term that embraces the genres of Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror but can also include Alternate History, Gothic, Steampunk or any other radically imaginative narrative space.

The sixth annual Fantastika conference will aim to define, challenge and debate conceptualisations of embodiment. We seek to investigate how various bodily forms are addressed or ruptured across a myriad of canvases, whether it be through (re) construction, transposition or indeed destabilisation. The conference will diagnose how Fantastika texts may extend upon or confront definitions of what it even means to be ‘embodied’, inviting researchers from fields such as posthumanism, medical humanities and other relevant fields to collaborate through productive discussion.

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PhD update – February 2019

It’s been a strange few months. I don’t feel like I’ve actually ‘done’ all that much, but I do seem to be making some sort of progress. Yesterday I printed out a complete first draft of my thesis, and I’ve just submitted amendments for a publication that I hope will be forthcoming later this year. I’ve also launched a podcast, and had a feature article printed in SCAN.

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In The Zone – a new podcast with Mike Ryder and Josh Hughes

After several months of hard work, I’m pleased to announce the launch of the In The Zone podcast, featuring interesting chat with me (Mike Ryder) and my friend and colleague, Josh Hughes.

The idea is that each week, Josh and I will chat about something interesting that we’ve been reading about, or that’s appearing in the news. We will also be interviewing fellow researchers about their interests and the impact of their work.

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