Interview with writer Larry Kilham

Writer Larry Kilham is here today as part of a
virtual book tour for his non-fiction technology book, The Digital Rabbit Hole.
Bio:
Larry Kilham has traveled extensively
overseas for over twenty years. He worked in several large international
companies and started and sold two high-tech ventures. He received a B.S. in
engineering from the University of Colorado and an
M.S.
in management from MIT. Larry has written books about creativity
and invention, artificial intelligence and digital media, travel overseas, and
three novels with an AI theme. His book website is www.larrykilham.net and he looks forward
to hearing from readers at lkilham@gmail.com.
Currently, he is writing a novel about free will.
Welcome, Larry. Please tell us about
your current release.
The Digital Rabbit Hole reveals that we are becoming captive in the digital universe. The portals are smartphones and
the world is the Internet. We immerse ourselves in social media; we learn
through packaged feel-good information; and
we will leave the hard work to robots and AI. The book details digital media and discusses smartphone addiction
problems. It proposes solutions to stimulate creativity and education and to recapture
our humanity.
What inspired you to write this book?
With my
knowledge of digital information technology, I felt that it was time to give my
readers perspective about the digital rabbit hole they are falling into.
Excerpt from The Digital Rabbit Hole:
INTRODUCTION
Let us imagine
today’s version of the classic story, Alice in Wonderland. The story
might open like this:
     Alice began to get very tired of sitting
by her sister on the lawn, and of having nothing to do. Once or twice she
peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or
conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “when
people can see everything in color and sound on their smartphone?”
     She smiled mischievously, grasped her
glowing smartphone and began listening to it through her tiny earbuds. Suddenly
a white rabbit appeared in a great state of agitation, saying, “Oh dear! Oh
dear! I shall be too late!” He took a smartphone out of his vest, glanced at it
attentively, and said, “Be quick, follow me, or we will miss the tea.” Alice
jumped up, and looking for a little adventure, ran after him. The rabbit tapped
his smartphone screen, and Alice’s smartphone screen came to life with a live
video of some people and creatures sitting around a picnic table having tea.
                                                                    
     “Hurry up,” he said, as he disappeared
down a hole under a hedge. Alice followed and found herself falling
weightlessly, with the walls of the tunnel fading out of view. “Is there a
bottom?” she wondered. She was so absorbed by it all that she forgot to be
afraid.
In this new
world, Cyberland, Alice could find no places to eat, no malls, only some
strangers sitting around a picnic table having tea. Then, boom! Alice hit the
ground. She struggled to her wobbly feet and scraped her head on the roof of a
space with no walls in any direction.
     A button appeared on her smartphone
labeled “click here.” Alice clicked without thinking about what could happen
next and found herself shrinking. The rabbit appeared again. “You are as tall
as me!” Alice cried. “So?” he said. “Hurry, we’re late!”
This Alice in
Cyberland scenario is no longer fantasy. More and more people—almost all of the
younger generations—are falling down digital rabbit holes. We all make forays
into digital places where we find our friends, gather information, make
discoveries, or set out on adventures.
     For centuries, social groups, books,
libraries, songs, movies, and other media fulfilled those functions, but they
were optional behavior. Now we have the Internet, which is not optional. It is
a digital rabbit hole we fall into and cannot escape. The doors and windows to
this infinite Cyberland are the smartphone.
     There are two basic reasons why this trend
is happening and will become pervasive and controlling:
·    Technology
– The perpetual digital connection to everything, which can provide us an easy
apparent answer, rather than make us devise one of our own.
·    Human
nature – We gravitate towards convenience, good enough, emotional feedback,
least action and distractions.
     We are creating two knowledge worlds.
There is the Knowosphere enveloping the world. It is a collection of all
digitized and stored knowledge. The Knowosphere cross-references almost infinite
combinations so any piece of knowledge, image or scene is available instantly.
     The other knowledge world is all around
us. It is writing on paper, books, movies, television, information stored in
computers, and, in general, knowledge stored by traditional means and not in
the clouds or Knowosphere. It also includes direct experience and social
interaction.
     The trend is to use the Knowosphere
whenever possible and to forget about processing and using information via
conventional media. At the very least, one can still duplicate, access and
store the information and knowledge in the conventional media. Good examples of
this today are doctors’ notes and medical records. In the older and more
traditional practices, the information would be hand written into medical
charts and transcribed to digital files later. Newer and larger practices
currently send their patient information directly into digital files.
     There is a need for a new kind of thinking
in the face of the recently available mountains of data—data instantly accessed
and conveniently packaged like a supermarket consumer product. In order to
break loose from a steady diet of packaged information, you must fire up your
imagination and embrace new ideas. You should always think critically and search for the truth. From
that start, there are new frontiers in education, creativity and understanding of culture.
     In a sense, we are all Alice. In this
book, we are all going to discover the possibilities and pitfalls in Cyberland.
What exciting story are you working on
next?
A near-future
novel, Free Will Odyssey, with the
theme of free will immersion via VR to treat drug addiction.
When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
When I
won a writing prize in high school.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
Yes, I write full-time now that I am retired. I write in the morning when
the day and my mind are sparkling. In the afternoon, I do book research, take a
hike, catch up on sleep.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I like to
experiment with computers in the writing process such as for editing and taking
dictation.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
An
electronic engineer.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
Write
about what interests you. Unleash your imagination.
Links:

Thanks for being here
today, Larry.

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