Author: M.J. Ryder

About M.J. Ryder

Writer, academic and digital communications professional.

Produce, consume, repeat: what the science fiction of Frederik Pohl tells us about consumption

These days it’s all but impossible to separate the things we produce from the things we consume. Whether it be working on a production line, or staying at home raising children, many of the things that we do are a form of production – whether we get paid for that work, or not. And yet at the same time, we are also consumers, for we all pay bills, we all shop for food, and we all send our children to school.

Things then become problematic when production and consumption start to blur, for we produce in order to consume, but we also consume in order to produce. Whether it be catching a bus or paying for lunch, even the process of working itself is a form of consumption, and more often than not, many of us will also then consume the same product we have a hand in producing.

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Humans, robots and rules: what the Covid-19 pandemic tells us about decision-making and rules

As we all set ourselves up for weeks, or even months, of self-isolation, never has there been a better time to think about rules, and the reasons we do the things that we do.

While the UK government has imposed new rules, telling us that we need to stay at home, these rules are only ever an approximation of the ideal rule, which in this case, is the idea that everyone needs to stay at home. The issue here is that while universal isolation is all well and good in theory, we still need health workers and we still need to keep the electricity flowing and the water running.

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It could be time to start thinking about a cybernetic Bill of Rights

Like it or loathe it, the robot revolution is now well underway and the futures described by writers such as Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl and Philip K. Dick are fast turning from science fiction into science fact. But should robots have rights? And will humanity ever reach a point where human and machine are treated the same?

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