Monday, July 24, 2017

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.

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 and he looks forward to hearing from readers at 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:

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.


Thanks for being here today, Larry.

1 comment:

Larry Kilham said...

It's a pleasure being here, Lisa. Thanks for having me. I look forward to followers' comments.