your weird forecast for 2017
Back in the day when I started this blog, the end of the year was a time to open up the stats dashboard and mine through some interesting insights to see what was popular, how, and why, and as things became more erratic, it would’ve been a relief to bring back the tradition. However, one of the few sacrifices that had to be made in the move to Medium, in addition to losing close to 6,700 comments, was giving up rich statistics that could be easily organized into a tidy, insight-filled list. But it’s not exactly making me regret the switch in light of the arguments in favor of making this decision. In just two and a half months, I’ve had close to 38,000 views, added more than 800 followers, most in addition to the 2,000+ followers on Weird Things’ already existing Facebook page, and with a design meant to remove every possible distraction from reading and writing, help me tremendously to be far more productive, not worrying about markup and code, and focusing solely on the content and finding the right illustration. So with few cool stats to share for now, I’d like to talk about what I want to accomplish in 2017 instead.
With numerous issues that used to keep me away from writing on a regular basis finally resolved, my primary goal in the coming year will be to stay on task and write consistently. I need to rebuild social presence and views, and the only way I know to do that is to keep writing posts that people want to read and sharing them. Because after all, isn’t that what blogging is really all about? Sharing your views with the widest audience possible to inform them and hopefully make them think and question? With that in mind, I wanted to try some podcasting as well, but to be perfectly up front, that’s still a very open question that will depend largely on how the year goes. Ultimately, it’s all up to reader demand. In a similar vein, I’d love to add more voices to this blog… excuse me, publication, since we’re on Medium now, so if you’ve ever wanted to write a post about something tech, science, or space related, send me a submission. Since I’m not sure what I’ll get, or how much interest this will gather, I’m not going to set any rules beyond relevancy to pop sci topics until after reviewing some submissions, just in case.
Secondly, those of you who’ve been with me for a while know that I made a prolonged attempt at writing a sci-fi book about two of my absolute favorite themes, transhumanism and SETI, and managed to finish it. Unfortunately, it never got any traction, so after only a hundred copies changing hands, it seemed appropriate to pull the plug. Now, after more than three years and a few small edits to slightly lighten up and update it, I’d finally like to try and get somewhere with it, because looking at it sitting in my document folders gives me what could only be called the mental equivalent of a rash. While I would’ve ordinarily chalked it up to writing something bad, the feedback in the comments and my inbox was largely positive, and looking at the reach of my posts on the subject on social media showed that fewer than a thousand people even knew it existed. Hopefully I can change that, and since it was in no small part influenced by my research done in grad school while writing this blog, and by the exchanges with Singularitarians and military officers in its readership, I’m going to do an experiment and start 2017 with a little bit of escapism based in the fictional, but plausible-ish world where it’s set.
If anything, it may provide a nice frame for another project I really wanted to do on Weird Things but fell by the wayside in the chaos that was 2016: a how-to on building a sprawling artificial intelligence. A subject that may be somewhat dry for anyone who isn’t a programmer seems perfect to offer a glimpse of detail into the concept of a vast, intelligent robot fleet controlled by a galaxy-traversing alien, but not exactly alien, empire that may or may not need humans for questionable purposes under dubious pretenses. With no idea of what the coming year might hold considering his this one played out, it only sounds right to start it off with a little distraction from what we know for sure will be depressing and nerve-wracking events for the world of science and technology. After all, when reality comes down on you like a ton of bricks, before you get back up and dust yourself off, it may be a good idea to daydream a little and decide what you really want to do when you’re on your feet again, and that’s the spirit with which I’d like to start 2017…