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Old 12-08-2012, 07:28 AM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

This topic interests me, I'm gonna ramble and also mention a few science fiction views of post-singularity.
Vernor Vinge as you mentioned coined the term, and he is an excellent author. Rainbow's End touches on one view of the nearer future where it is nearly impossible to retrain fast enough as a human to stay relevant and competitive in the workforce that is more and more devoted to the newest iteration and changes in technology.

As a weird brief tangent- recall the fear that automation would take all the jobs, recall the science fiction piece where humans are used as on-board guidance systems in a future war that relies on computers; look at the argument Apple makes regarding FoxConn: it is easier/ faster to retool a factory full of wage slaves then it is to retool an automated factory. Not that automation won't catch up again.

Iain M. Banks has written a series of books connected by a society called The Culture; human biology has been changed in a number of ways towards disease resistance, conscious override or direction of glands and autonomic functions; AIs run society, benevolently as far as anyone knows. That trend changes and later AIs are hunted, if I recall correctly.

The awesome Kage Baker wrote a series of books, and in her imagined future, people were further specialized in their areas of knowledge but nearly entirely dependent on computer interface. So you could be mapping the folds of complex proteins but not know how to read- unless your job specifically called for it- or have much of any other knowledge; kind of idiot savants.

Neal Asher also has a series of books about a future humanity mostly under the aegis of The Polity, which is a society where over time social planning and responsibility for government became more and more handed over to AIs, mostly because they were better at managing very complex systems. Eventually people kind of figured out that AIs ran stuff, and some humans rebelled; but the AIs more-or-less (and if they ran everything, how much do you really know? Often in the books they manipulate humanity nearly constantly) run human societies that voluntarily choose them, and are (again relatively) benign.

As to the biplane argument, I think bad science fiction writing does this a lot: Jetsons crap where my space dog brings me my space paper and my space slippers and my space pipe after I fly home from my space job. Which reminds me: newspapers. Do you think in 15 years print newspapers in the western world will be much more than archival oddities or things old rich people support?

I don't know if we would know if a singularity occurred, that those in such a time could be standing too close, and I think it is one of those turning-point debates that are for historians, or perhaps future historians. I also think some major breakthroughs in technology that we have not forseen will change our society in radical ways. And pandemics in our global travel viral superhighway that may also change our view. Along with climate change and species devastation. But I digress.

There was a critique of movies a while back that pointed out how cell phones pretty much made most of the dramatic climaxes of half the modern-era movies obsolete; in fact usually the plot has to require that wireless communication be rendered useless or blocked, jammed, etc. for the sake of the chase scene or rush to warn X of the impending Y.

Oh also I love-hate Terminator as a singularity model because Cyberdine /Skynet is so dumb. Maybe you start with nuclear devastation to wipe out humanity. But please- why would you not use gas or a million other poisons to wipe out the remainder? Plus your terminators constantly throw their targets rather than rend when they have their prey in their steely grasp: though the T-1000 was more skilled at this concept, at least with humans. Note to future and present AI Overlord's spiderbots: No, really, that gas/ poison thing I mentioned was totally a dumb idea, plus humans are to be cossetted and protected and nurtured, because humans are your friends.
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Ari (12-08-2012), But (12-08-2012), Clutch Munny (12-13-2012), Crumb (12-08-2012), Ensign Steve (12-08-2012), lisarea (12-08-2012), viscousmemories (12-17-2012)
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