August is the cruelest month for bloggers


The tech news slows to a trickle as it seems everyone else goes off on holiday. New products and launches seem to vanish like mist before a hot sun as the organisations prepare for the tradeshows and events that will fill up the remaining months of the year.

For a blogger, it’s a dreadful time. Trying to find something new, interesting, and informative to write about needs all the help it can get. Without lots of press releases, white papers, product launches it can be hard to get the writing juices flowing.

Alas for all those blogs that could have been written.

But perhaps it is a good thing. At least that is what I am trying to tell myself as I think about writing another blog. I can look at all the ideas I’d had months ago. Surely some of those might be good ones to write about.

So your hero opens up his notebook (real paper no less) and starts to review all those deferred ideas. Hmm. Wrong time of year. Not relevant. Oh no, I don’t agree with that anymore. What about…Hmmm no. Definitely no. Ten ideas become eight, then three, then one, then zero.

There’s a term for it I suppose. There normally is. Sort of a writer’s block. You know you have ideas floating around in that spongey grey mess of cells between your ears. But they are elusive and hiding when you need them.

Now I’ve come across lots of articles about AIs being trained or learning to write articles, stories, movie summaries. In some cases they do a good job – mind you, I’ve not seen anyone do a test case with the Game of Thrones books to see if an AI can come up with what really should have happened at the end (let’s pretend the TV show never had an eight-season).

Assuming we can, assuming it could work its way through the text and extrapolate out from the content to what should happen next. Should it be done? Could it display the imagination of the writer, would it introduce new characters, would it kill the right characters at the right time? Could it do the job as well as a human if it couldn’t also deal with the problems that a human writer has? Would it need to be able to simulate the silence of writer’s block so that it could also reach the torrent of words and ideas that can come after?

If it could – would Daenerys Targaryen suffer the same challenges and fate as in the show? As in the planned ending by the writer? Would it have the same depth and power without the blocks to drive it forward?

So…what can I write about today? +++Err-2010-redo-from-start+++

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Andrew Fullen


Andrew has been a managing consultant with Sogeti since 2009. In this role, he has worked on a number of major clients across government and private sectors covering tasks such as security test manager for a major government pan-agency project, helping with restructuring a bank rescued by the UK government during the financial crash, re-planning a major welfare project and architecting a performance policy and approach to address significant shortfalls in the delivered solution.

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