Book-Cover Credit: www.bod.de
In contrast to the classic crime novel, Politthrillers describe dangerous entanglements of the actors with state institutions or military organizations and their secret services. Typical actions are planned terrorist attacks, espionage, or state conspiracies. In contrast to the classic crime-novel, the actions of this Politthriller take place in different places at the same time. France, England, Russia, and the US are the places of activity before the perpetrators are hunted down in Switzerland. The people and scenarios described are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or deceased, is purely coincidental and is not intended.
Writing Essays and the decision to write a Politthriller
Once the topic of an Essay is defined, a considerable time is spent on research, typically using Google Search and related scientific publications. Starting with the introduction, followed by the definition of terms, discussing the topic from various points-of-view and a concluding remark – to write an Essay is a very sequential process. Its purpose is to build a bridge between ongoing AI-research and real business requirements and to provide knowledge about future trends. The targeted audience are businesspeople, whose time budget is limited. Hence, an Essay requires about 4 minutes of reading time. To support the reading process, a considerable time is spent on ‘streamlining’ the text, with a focus on discussing the key issues. Covering a very wide spectrum of AI research, from hardware to software, Deep Neural Networks and Neuroscience including psychological and philosophical issues, I have repeatedly touched on human creativity as the key differentiator between humans and AI-machines. Considering my own desire for being creative I thought: Why not explore the path of moving from a science writer to a writer of crime-novels, more precisely a Politthriller? Why not publish a book, something you can touch and read, divorced from being ‘glued’ to the computer screen? Hence, about a year ago I decided to write this Politthriller. Fortunately a few very good friends with a background in professional writing and editing supported me to enter this new territory of producing content. There are many books that provide advice how to write crime-novels. Reading good crime-novels was certainly the first step for getting started. Doing so, I realized that my vast experience as an entrepreneur provided a good background as the joy of writing led to a rather intense revival of past experiences, many of which my memory had subconsciously stored away. My IT-career started with processing 80-column punched cards. Hydraulic disk-drives with 14 MB storage capacity marked the highlight of technological achievement. Building my own company was largely motivated by the desire to be engaged at the forefront of technology, a move which can be quite risky as about eight of ten Start-ups fail after a few years. In hindsight, the desire of writing a Politthriller was already present at that time. Realizing this idea, however, required to retire from a very active and intense business life. Doing so, I suddenly had time to think and write without being dependent on financial rewards. Hence, following the path of writing Essays to writing a Politthriller is just a logical step in my own personal development.
Transformers, ChatGPT and the meaning of language
Deep learning models configured as ‘transformers’ encode the semantics of a sentence by identifying the meaning of a word based on the other words in the same sentence. Following this logic, the model uses similar sentences to perform the task requested by a user, for example, ‘translate a sentence’ or ‘summarize a paragraph.’ Due to their inherent capacity to correlate the entire internet content, transformer-based models like GPT-3 are radically changing how AI systems will be built. With transformer technology, new applications will emerge, way beyond their current capacity to process text. The recently announced ChatGPT excels at detecting context, which makes its natural language processing (NLP) uncannily good. However, there are also critical issues to be considered. Transformers lack the ability to deal with empathy, critical thinking and ethics. Their response is based on documented ‘knowledge’. However, ‘meaning’ and ‘knowledge’ are two different things. For example, changing the sequence of words in an Essay may entirely change its context. Writing tools are very useful in detecting errors but writing a Politthriller with a transformer will fail. While knowledge is important, the creative capacity to define a plot driven by individuals and scenes of action, is out of reach of AI-machines at least for the next five to ten years. Yet, I would not be surprised if some individual – just to gain media attention – will claim the production of a transformer-based crime-novel.
The Difference between an Essay and a Politthriller
Writing over 160 Essays, I have developed a certain style of writing which I cannot just drop by writing a Politthriller. Crisp sentences, always answering the question as to what I really want to communicate is typical. I rewrite an essay many times before I think that I succeeded conveying its overall topic. While Politthrillers, due their wide spectrum of content covered are rather voluminous, ‘Verrrat in einer ehemaligen Alpenfestung’, is – in terms of pages written – most likely one the shortest on the market. Yet, at this moment I have no idea what the average reader prefers. Politthrillers are very popular in the US, and they find their way to our market as translations from English to German. In contrast there are only about fifteen to twenty German Politthrillers published each year that are written by individuals raised in German speaking Europe. Visiting large bookstores in Switzerland, I was surprised that overall about one third of all books offered for sale belong to the category of ‘crime-novels’. It was also obvious that the displayed books were dominated by well-known authors that, over time, had created their own brand. Hence entering this market as a newcomer and to be noticed is a challenge.
In Essays I quote AI-researchers explaining the significance of their discovery. In contrast, the dialog between protagonists and antagonists very much defines the action of a Politthriller. Creating this dialogue, bringing the individuals involved to life, is something I had not done before. Describing scenarios that can be observed like watching a movie, was one of the toughest challenges in my learning curve. Building up suspense as the story evolves and to keep the reader engaged, however, is something I very much enjoyed. Yet, to bring this task to a level of self-assigned perfection, required rewriting over and over again. At some point I had to stop, otherwise I would still rewrite.
Defining the Plot and the related Research Effort
By defining the overall plot and the related actions, a considerable amount of time was spent in researching the issues addressed. We are daily confronted with scenarios like the Ukraine war, NATO engagement and massive expenditures for new weaponry and it is important that the research effort provides credible answers. Combining this information with new findings in brain-research and discussing the use of venture capital results in a rather complex and ambitious Politthriller which might overwhelm potential readers, especially if their mindset is focused on reading traditional crime-novels.
Yet keeping this combined view of the Politthriller aside, the individual action items are discussed daily by reputable media organizations such as the NZZ, die Welt or der Spiegel, to name just a few. Hence, the intent of researching these components was to provide a base of understanding whereby the reader felt more comfortable with the evolving plot of the Politthriller. The following lists some examples of issues addressed:
- The cold war between the US and Russia that followed WW2 and the threat of a new war
- The history of Alpine Fortresses, preventing a takeover of Switzerland through Nazi Germany
- Today’s potential role and modern weaponry to protect or attack enemy positions
- The research on Nanobots and brain interfaces in respect to military applications (Neuroprocessing)
- The role of secret services like KGB, CIA and MI5 getting control Neuroprocessing Systems (NPS)
- The use of helicopters as carriers of drones to attack moving objects in flat territory
In addition, some research was required to describe the facilities outside of Switzerland that are part of the Politthriller, places unfamiliar, notably Moscow, Novosibirsk, a French Cruise Missile Base, a UK Weapon Testing facility, and the NSA Headquarter in Washington. With the growing suspense surrounding the final elimination of the key antagonist, the reader is hopefully motivated to remain engaged all the way to the deadly end.
I cannot remember how the idea of writing a Politthriller came about. I woke up one morning and had this famous Aha-moment also been described as insight, intuition, epiphany and ‘eureka!’. Following this ’wake-up’ call, the key motive of getting engaged writing a Politthriller is the interplay of reality and creative fantasy. If I succeeded in touching your interest, here ist the link for ordering the book:
Verrat in einer ehemaligen Alpenfestung (bod.de)
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