1. Tell me about your book, The Singularity Is Coming, and where you got your inspiration for it?
I'm a robotics fan and have studied the subject since I read all the old Asimov tales, back in the fifties. I was also involved in the very early days of artificially intelligent software. I have also since written many stories about intelligent robots since then. Back in 2010 I discovered some of my predictions had already happened. The arrival and rapid development of smart devices made me aware of what might be coming next. I just had to research and then speculate and write about it. I published the result with Amazon and Createspace in August 2012.
2. Why did you want to write this book?
Every book I read about the Singularity seemed very technical. I wanted to write something general readers of all ages could appreciate. I also realised that the subject was completely divided into quite separate fiction and non-fiction categories. I realized I could combine them to illustrate what was happening. As a result, my Chinese publisher discovered my self-published book on the Internet and acquired it to translate and publish.
3. Do you find your social life hampered by your writing life?
Not really. At my advanced age I don't get out so much nowadays.
4. How do you think the self-publishing boom has affected the book industry?
Enormously..! Everyone is doing it. Agents and Publishers are overwhelmed with manuscripts, and the resulting self-publishing phenomenon is in an explosive mode.
5. How do you motivate yourself to keep writing?
I thought a lot about that question, however, it seems that events are always motivating me. I prefer near future fiction, and nowadays there's always something happening to inspire a speculative tale.
6. What is your favourite word?
"Thwarted!" But I haven't been able to fit it in anywhere yet. I just love the sound of it.
7. If you had the chance for a do over in life, what would you do differently?
I wouldn't let my business life interfere with my family life as much as it did. It took me all over the world, sometimes for weeks in almost every month. It brought me success, but the price was too high. My experimental autobiography, How To Be a Top Executive, explores that syndrome.
8. Why did you choose to be a writer?
That question made me think back quite a way, but I don't recall ever choosing to be.a writer. It's an ambition that has always been with me.
9. Do you believe in ghosts?
It may be possible that some rocks contain recordings of past events that took place under special atmospheric conditions. Similar conditions later might release images similar to holograms. I used that idea several times in my short stories, but Nigel Neale thought of it first.
So what is a singularity? It’s easiest described as a one way event, something which once it occurs cannot be reversed. So what kind of singularity phenomenon is explored in this book? Many scientists claim it poses a far greater threat to humanity than global warming, and it may be no more than ten years away..! This singularity, the creation of machines that are far cleverer than we are, and the runaway consequences that will follow, will change our way of life… completely. They will follow on from the Artificial Intelligence devices we already have today. More incredible developments will emerge after them, and then after that, and so on… until it happens.
Tony Thorne MBE is an Englishman, born and technically educated in London, England, as a Chartered Design Engineer. He lives in Austria in summer and the Canary Island of Tenerife in winter. Earlier in life he, wrote science-fiction and humorous stories, was an active SF Fan, and a spare time lecturer for the British Interplanetary Society. For developments in the field of low temperature (cryo)surgery instruments, and very high temperature processing furnaces for carbon fibre, the Queen awarded him an MBE. After many subsequent business adventures, including the development of AI computer software for business applications, he is now an author of quirky speculative fiction; mostly tall Science Fiction and Macabre tales, with over 100 short stories published in many magazines, various collections, and many anthologies including eight from Whortleberry Press. His first novel, POINTS OF VIEW,was published by Eternal Press, Madison, Wisconsin, USA, and its two sequels, THE WEAPONS and THE AMERICAN CONNECTION, to be published commencing August 2016 are now available for reviewers. Much more information is as listed on his website: www.tonythornembe.com