The most interesting character to me is someone who is stuck in the no man's land between Belief and Unbelief, Faith and Faithlessness. I'm capitalizing like a German, but it doesn't matter whether it's faith in a person or in God, or belief in science or whatever, it's the desperate in-between state that makes for interesting dramatic tension.
I don't think people should be able to swear whenever they want. I just don't want the federal government making laws about swearing. We should trust people's own instincts about what is appropriate in any given situation.
And it was back in the mid-1980s, and as I point out in a piece, that was when we are spending about eight percent of our gross domestic product on health care. And even then, we had the impression that so much of the excessive, aggressive medical treatment that took place at the end of life was not only unnecessary but it was cruel.
We are still fearful, superstitious and all-too-human creatures. At times, we forget the magnitude of the havoc we can wreak by off-loading our minds onto super-intelligent machines, that is, until they run away from us, like mad sorcerers' apprentices, and drag us up to the precipice for a look down into the abyss.
Man is a fire-stealing animal, and we can't help building machines and machine intelligences, even if, from time to time, we use them not only to outsmart ourselves but to bring us right up to the doorstep of Doom.
As a society, we pick words that are offensive based on what we're most afraid of. We associate sounds with some dangerous idea, and right now the most dangerous thing to us are the differences between us.
Making money, it seems, is all about the velocity of moving it around, so that it can exist in Hong Kong one moment and Wall Street a split second later.
The first thing I became interested in in terms of 'Brain Storm' was neuroscience, and that is like saying you're interested in the universe. So ultimately I knew if I was going to handle this in a fictional format, I would have to take a subsection of neuroscience, and that turned out to be the use of neuroscience in criminal courts.
I'm always working. I don't really set limits. I tend to go in bursts. And in between, I'm doing my taxes, answering the phone, and all those kinds of things. I waste a lot of time. Computers take a lot of time. I love computers.
At times, we forget the magnitude of the havoc we can wreak by off-loading our minds onto super-intelligent machines, that is, until they run away from us, like mad sorcerers' apprentices, and drag us up to the precipice for a look down into the abyss.
Over and over again, financial experts and wonkish talking heads endeavor to explain these mysterious, 'toxic' financial instruments to us lay folk. Over and over, they ignobly fail, because we all know that no one understands credit default obligations and derivatives, except perhaps Mr. Buffett and the computers who created them.
Let's take care of mothers and infants first, and then let's see what's left over for everybody over 50. I'm over 50. If I get sick, I would rather have money spent on children before it's spent on me.
Deep down I knew that if Hell existed, it was a real place full of ruthless, venal people, like the commodity pits at the Chicago Board of Trade, Disney World, or oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court.
I always wanted to be a writer... 'Critical Care' was my first published work. I was 34 when it came out. I was accumulating 'Critical Care' for years. I would go for a whole year and not touch it. And then I'd go back to it.
As the financial experts all over the world use machines to unwind Gordian knots of financial arrangements so complex that only machines can make - 'derive' - and trade them, we have to wonder: Are we living in a bad sci-fi movie? Is the Matrix made of credit default swaps?
I begin every novel with the vow that I will not write about technology, Catholicism, or Hell. As you know, I end up writing about all three. They just happen to be personal obsessions of mine.