I tend to look at the bigger picture--or at least I try. I've found that if you back up from what's going on and stare at it from a distance, more often than not, helpful information crops up. Human beings are creatures of patterns. Our brains are structured on a base level to see patterns--even when none exist. The scientific study of perception is full of very good reasons why, starting with how the human visual cortex processes information. At any given moment, your brain is inundated with an overwhelming amount of information. In order to walk across a room and not smash into a wall or fall into a manhole, your brain sorts through a lot of the data and determines what is useful and what isn't. It doesn't have time to review every single bit. If it tried, you'd crash into that wall or worse, be flattened by the giant ball of stone rolling down the tomb's hallway.
Yeah, okay. I couldn't resist the Raider's of the Lost Ark reference.
So, the human brain takes shortcuts. These shortcuts involve pattern recognition, among other things. From the moment you're born your brain begins to learn what shit will kill you and what shit won't. The shit that hasn't killed you in the past gets ditched into the old mental file 13. This means when things happen fast, there are huge gaps in your perception and your memory. It's fascinating stuff, and I highly recommend reading about perception and human development. It's the main reason why I'm very aware that human brains are NOT computers and never have been. It's a totally incorrect model for the brain. Computers process all the data. They don't sort it, and then process it.
I've been noticing a few things. First, there was the story about Chuck Wendig being fired because he'd been attacked by a mob of GamerGate Twitter bots. Chuck, like me, is not a fan of Donald Trump and/or the GOP. Chuck also has a huge Twitter following. (I do not.) On the specific weekend he was targeted, Chuck said a lot of things about the Kavanaugh appointment--mainly that he believed Christine Blasey Ford, and well, Trump is an asshole. (That's paraphrasing it.) Next, a domestic terrorist sends twelve bombs through the US postal system to a group of people (twelve so far) known to have publicly criticized Trump. The GOP's reaction is to blame Democrats--that is, to claim that Liberals have sent those bombs to Liberals so that Liberals could blame Conservatives. (Incidentally, as of last night the FBI has arrested a Florida man. We'll know more this afternoon.) Am I connecting these instances into one conspiracy? NO. But this displays a disturbing pattern nonetheless. It demonstrates that the Overton Window has pushed mainstream Republicans over the radical extremist ledge. Having studied Northern Ireland's history (specifically The Troubles), this is not going to go anywhere good. And in this sense, these stories are related. They form a picture, one that far too many white men told me was impossible during and after the 2016 election. Almost every woman I know went through the same. Guess what? We fucking hate feeling like Cassandra.
Listen to women. Listen to marginalized groups in general. Marginalized groups are the fucking canary in the coal mine of politics. I keep thinking about how white males are statistically more accident prone. (Ask any auto insurance representative. It's in the ER data too.) White males are raised to believe they're invincible. Largely, because the system at large is designed to favor them. Thus, boys are terrible at risk assessment. They don't learn about it until later in life. (Thus, all the bullshit about how boys are just genetically less mature than girls.) So are grown men most of the time. Marginalized groups on the other hand? We're experts at assessing danger. We do it every second of every day because we live it. Still, we're told we're over-reacting because to admit there is danger is to acknowledge the existence of oppression. Even well-meaning men will do this. This is cultural-wide. This is America.
And yet, America will not act on a danger until a consensus is reached among white, CIS, het men.
It's like that obelisk in Clark's 2001. Only America isn't full of stars. It's full of misogyny and other forms of systemic oppression. And it's killing us.
 Think about that a moment. Thus, when programmers discuss AI (or Artificial General Intelligence) they're talking about creating an alien life form--not the replication of a human brain. ET may never come from space but a Silicone Valley lab.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.