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Old May 13 2012, 03:41 AM   #1
RAMA
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David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

We are entering the time of Brin...always engaging. Asteroids, the Singularity, and cosmic scale issues..

http://io9.com/5906672/david-brin-on...cience-fiction

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zueLV0gYVxo
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Old May 13 2012, 04:26 AM   #2
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

What singularity?
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Old May 13 2012, 05:05 AM   #3
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

sojourner wrote: View Post
What singularity?
The Singularity is kind of the Mayan Calendar for people who aren't credulous scientific illiterates - it's an apocalyptic scenario that gets them feeling all tingly.

I've been reading these fantasies for decades now. They're unpersuasive.
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Old May 13 2012, 07:15 AM   #4
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

I'm really looking forward to the book...
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Old May 13 2012, 07:18 AM   #5
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
What singularity?
The Singularity is kind of the Mayan Calendar for people who aren't credulous scientific illiterates - it's an apocalyptic scenario that gets them feeling all tingly.

I've been reading these fantasies for decades now. They're unpersuasive.
Thankyou.
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Old May 13 2012, 11:13 AM   #6
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

I love Brin's slight anti-Twitter rant. Preach it.
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Old May 13 2012, 01:50 PM   #7
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

sojourner wrote: View Post
What singularity?
The Singularity is a concept first articulated by Verner Vinge in the early 1990s. It's the point where human technological progress reaches a point that events beyond it can no longer be predicted -- artificial intelligences far outstrip human intelligence, medical advances vastly alter human lifespans, etc. This is Vinge's original paper; more recently, the Singularity has been termed "the Rapture for the Geeks."
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Old May 13 2012, 05:42 PM   #8
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

^^^I gather it was Ken MacLeod who termed the Singularity "rapture of the nerds." But it appears that he has recanted or is deliberately aiming at an audience that believes the Singularity is a real possibility, judging from his new book The Restoration Game. In it, he assumes a universe that is very much inspired by some notions of what might result from the Singularity. However, the notion of the Singularity that is most influential amongst scientists has been articulated by Ray Kurzweil, who is regarded by many scientists as articulating some sound speculations.

As to MacLeod...

SPOILER ALERT
















In Restoration Game a computer gamer discovers this world is a computer simulation created by renegade Artificial Intelligences (called Synthetic Psyches.) The renegades have been defeated and captured by humans (of a sort) who spend their long lives (advanced medical science) playing interactive virtual games for points, The Matrix, for fun and profit instead of a prison/scam. The good guys in the "real" virtual world are attempting to bring us, a virtual humanity, into the real world. Presumably our fictional race is to be incarnated at least into the MMPORG universe.

END SPOILERS

Not only does MacLeod assume the Singularity, some of us fictional people in this simulated universe have become aware that there is a Better World beyond Ours and that Our Saviors will roll up this one and bring the New Order. In other words, MacLeod has imagined a SF True Religion with creepy similarities to real religions currently popular in the US. (MacLeod is an English writer [he says he's Scottish but there's no difference visible in his work from this side of the Atlantic] but the UK market is too small to dominate the writing process.)

I would be tempted to think MacLeod was either pulling everyone's leg, or being completely cynical in pandering to the nerds, except the book is dominated by a remarkably retro anti-Communist plot. The title Restoration Game also refers to the restoration of capitalism. MacLeod is a libertarian/Trotskyite, so his commitment to anti-Communism is unquestionable. The character in the book who is nicest to the narrator consciously aimed at capitalist restoration! Which is, as they say, no accident.

Narratively speaking, the book is largely anticlimactic because it was so obvious where the plot was headed.
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Old May 13 2012, 06:51 PM   #9
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
What singularity?
The Singularity is a concept first articulated by Verner Vinge in the early 1990s. It's the point where human technological progress reaches a point that events beyond it can no longer be predicted -- artificial intelligences far outstrip human intelligence, medical advances vastly alter human lifespans, etc. This is Vinge's original paper; more recently, the Singularity has been termed "the Rapture for the Geeks."

Yeah, I know what it is. I just don't have "faith" it will come to fruition.
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Old May 13 2012, 07:58 PM   #10
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
...the Singularity has been termed "the Rapture for the Geeks."
Nailed it.

Of course the Singularity is a "possibility." So is the near-term extinction of the human race because of collision with another body in space.
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Old May 13 2012, 08:12 PM   #11
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

I like to think that in the future we will probably have better technology and better medical health and probably longer lives overall.

Book sounds interesting. Still trawling through the Uplift series and it's plenty readable.

stj wrote: View Post
(MacLeod is an English writer [he says he's Scottish but there's no difference visible in his work from this side of the Atlantic]
In this case you would want to refer to him as 'British'. Subjects of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are British, and beyond this are either Scottish, English, Welsh, etc.
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Old May 13 2012, 08:21 PM   #12
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
What singularity?
The Singularity is kind of the Mayan Calendar for people who aren't credulous scientific illiterates - it's an apocalyptic scenario that gets them feeling all tingly.

I've been reading these fantasies for decades now. They're unpersuasive.
Hmm, again it's nothing of the kind, the Mayan calender is not scientific, nor are the claims for it (in fact, the Mayan calendar restarts after the so called apocalypse). Members of Doomsday cults as well as established religions (aka, more popular cults) accept such dogmatic claims on faith. Anyone who believes there will be a Singularity of some kind bases it on extrapolation of fact. It also doesn't have to be a doomsday, it can also be seen as a positive thing, such as the evolution of man if we are motivated and bright enough to not be shortsighted, because only by seeing it can we avoid the the very likely possibility of evolutionary extinction due to machine AI...

The real fantasy here is linear thinking in technology which is demonstrably false.

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Old May 13 2012, 08:23 PM   #13
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

RAMA wrote: View Post
The real fantasy here is linear thinking in technology which is demonstrably false.
First I heard of this. Care for a demonstration?
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Old May 13 2012, 08:27 PM   #14
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

stj wrote: View Post
^^^I gather it was Ken MacLeod who termed the Singularity "rapture of the nerds." But it appears that he has recanted or is deliberately aiming at an audience that believes the Singularity is a real possibility, judging from his new book The Restoration Game. In it, he assumes a universe that is very much inspired by some notions of what might result from the Singularity. However, the notion of the Singularity that is most influential amongst scientists has been articulated by Ray Kurzweil, who is regarded by many scientists as articulating some sound speculations.


Narratively speaking, the book is largely anticlimactic because it was so obvious where the plot was headed.

A lot of sci-fi writers, technologists, economists, educators, scientists, etc are finally coming around to the likelihood of a singularity. I've seen a lot of recent articles where they are becoming convinced. Eventually economic planning will abandon the linear, innacurate model we have now and move towards an exponential one.

Ray Kurzweil is certain the most vocal proponent of the Singularity, and he gets a lot of respect because of his resume' (no he's no Mayan cultist as some here would have you believe)
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Old May 13 2012, 08:34 PM   #15
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Did anyone notice Brin mentioned a new Uplift novel!?

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