Saturday, January 23, 2021

Bots and A.I.


We're living in very interesting times indeed. Never like in these two years, technology has been developed at a higher speed. 

The new pandemic forced many people to work from home, when possible and many others saw their job linger into a frustrating standby. Others instead had seen their jobs simply disappear.

This condition forced small and big firms alike to rely on Artificial Intelligence and Bots' development to fulfill the primary customer service or to moderate their websites.

As many of us had the displeasure to experience, the social platform like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter suffered this forced shortage and many saw their accounts suspended based on a glitch of the system. Now, since there isn't any human to be reached with which talk to reason, those accounts are permanently suspended, until this pandemic is over. We're all waiting for the day when humans can get back to the place where they perform better than machines; customer service.

Also giants like Amazon aren't immune to this problem, and many sellers have experienced glitch on their reports, or ads campaign.

I really hope that all this mess will teach us something very important:

HUMANS CAN'T BE REPLACED BY MACHINES.

Artificial intelligence will never be able to simulate the complexity of human brain, particularly when we're talking about problem solving, and communication between each other. Artificial intelligence can't substitute a narrator, nor it can substitute an artist or a musician or a singer. 

I have been struggling with failed deliveries for the whole 2020, and in all those cases I was dealing with a bot. I really can't wait to have again an email address or a telephone number to call in case I need some assistance during the use of a online service.

I might be too old fashioned or also too old to appreciate the advantage of bots and artificial intelligence. Although I am a person who tends to avoid crowds I still prefer to deal with people, to whom I can explain my problem and together we'll find a solution, even it's not recorded on the database.

I hope humanity will understand this very valuable lesson and will give up those useless bots which cause nothing more than harm.

Stay safe and take care,

Paula

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Back from the cave

I've been deserted social media recently to get deeper into the preparation for the next novel. People who aren't in the writing business will never understand the amount of work required from the plotting of a story to the publishing and beyond. Sometimes I'm also surprised and overwhelmed by the amount of work needed, and the more I go further, the more the to-do-list seems to widen with new tasks.

I am not going to rant about it, and besides, this week, I'm going to tell you about my literary news. The first being the next novel, which I've set up for pre-order.

I am daring my luck because my editor promised to return my manuscript by the end of this month. However, since he has already delayed the delivery of one month, I'm reasonably concerned about the fact of being able to publish the novel by the planned date.

Nevertheless, I believe I have given enough room for everything by setting the pre-order release date by the 24th of February.

Let's now talk a bit more in depth about the novel "Merchant of Pearls."

The story focuses on a young man, Edward Sherwood, who grew up with a name he's not sure he will ever fit. In 1803 Eldridge Sherwood opened a small jewel shop, which kept growing thanks to generations of skilled family members who inherited the business, bringing it to become one of the most respected names in the city.

Besides the qualities as jewelers and dealers, the owners developed a flourishing side-business: the sale of cursed stones and jewels.

Customers looking for a precious stone with a peculiar history will confidently get in touch with the shop owner. Now, nobody actually knows how do the Sherwoods get in possession of those particular items. Some are acquired at auctions, others seem to return back to the shop...

Is the curse real, or the Sherwoods are playing a dirty game? Whatever the deal is, Edward gets dangerously drawn by that mystery.  

Also Detective Lars Lindström is interested, and when former customers seem to meet their destiny in fatal accidents, he can't just ignore the connection between them and the Sherwoods' business.

Things get complicated when at one auction in Moscow, Edward overbids the members of a local mafia family.

Now on the Bratva crosshair and chased by Detective Lindström, how will he save himself and the people he loves? How will he clear his name in front of justice?

As usual, there are also some side stories to complement the novel. One of the most interesting is probably the figure of a Russian man, Mikhail Orlov, hired by Edward as fixer and bodyguard. Their stories will come together, and Mikhail's background will bring a series of further twists to this psychological crime thriller.

To know more, you will have to wait, but you can also take advantage of the discount by pre-ordering it now.

PREORDER 'MERCHANT OF PEARLS'


Saturday, January 2, 2021

New year...FINALLY!

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.com

It was supposed to happen; we all knew it. The problem is: would we all make it through this difficult period? Would it have been something or someone we had to say goodbye to? Unfortunately, for many people, this has been the case.

Nevertheless, despite all the odds, it passed away. We're now in 2021.

The good news is that we have a working vaccine distributed worldwide, and although the virus is following the regular pattern of mutating itself, the new strain should be covered by the vaccine.

Just like it happened after every pandemic, the crisis forced our society to reshape itself and forced us to rethink our place in the Universe. Those who were ready to grab the challenge had the chance to find out the real priorities in life. We all realized that the same priorities aren't shared by everybody, and that's fine. We're all different, and we all have different things close to our hearts.

In this case, there isn't any right or wrong answer; it's really about whatever rocks the boat of each of us. Likewise, every year, I will not bore anybody, including me, with propositions, which doesn't have any other scope than confuse the whole non-planning flow of the year.

It will be whatever it is supposed to be, and I prefer to adjust my boat's direction during this new journey according to the situation presented in front of me.

As a writer, I aim to publish at least three books. One should be ready and published by the end of February, the second between April and May, and the third by the end of August. I'm going to focus on a long series, so much of the time will be dedicated to the research.

As a geologist, I can't have many plans as my job's unpredictability doesn't allow me to make any long-term plans. I will try with all my strength to keep it going, focusing most of my attention on it.

On a more personal level, I hope my healthcare system will start the vaccination round for people belonging to my group by March-April, and I hope I will be allowed to be on the road once again. I am yearning to return to Italy and spend the darkest part of the winter in a more sunny place, discovering something new for the next book of the series or a new standalone. Who knows?

As you can see, everything is based on hope and not a real plan. Everything can be subjected to changes depending on the ever-changing boundary conditions that characterize life.

This is also a step ahead toward the dream of moving away from Finland to a warmer climate, following an easier life. This pandemic showed us all that it's possible to work from a remote station, and perhaps this will be a card I might play unless I will be able to establish my new career as a writer. Three years from now, our countdown clock is set to tell us to start seriously moving. At that point, all the planning will be over, we will have a steady target, and the bureaucratic stuff will begin. I can't wait!

I really hope meantime that the world will know some peace, particularly for my beloved Africa, where my heart still lingers.

To every one of you, wherever you may be in this world, whatever might be your struggle, I wish you a year of healing and relief. I wish for a better future for every one of you.

Take all care!


What have I learned?

 Life is made of learning steps. Every day we learn something new, either about ourselves, someone else, the world around us, a new skill, o...