Category Archives: Singularity

Fiction in Mindspace

The stories in Hannu Rajaniemi’s forthcoming (May 2015) Collected Fiction, often start in full stream, looking both backward and forward. “The night after Kosonen shot the young elk, he tried to write a poem by the campfire” begins a tale of post-humanity, where squirrels pick locks, language animates matter, and a girl thinks in qubits. The timescape of a story may vary from millennia to microseconds, but always returns to the familiar metronome of a warm heartbeat, people dealing with circumstance, relationships made and broken, dreams shattered and rebuilt. Continue reading

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The Fractal Prince

A journey with Hannu Rajaniemi’s second novel The Fractal Prince feels like surfing the boundary of incomprehensible quantum physics while sitting in the desert, warm dust blowing across the sparkling sky, the face of a djinn hovering before your eyes, … Continue reading

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How To Create A Mind (book review)

In November Ray Kurzweil published a book titled How to Create A Mind, and five weeks later he was hired by Google as chief engineer. The book lays out a pattern-recognition theory of mind, arguing that this idea is reflected in advances in artificial intelligence, and can be inferred from developments in neuroscience. If true, the field of AI may leap forward with Kurzweil as the guiding hand of Google’s laboratory. In any case, the theory deserves close study. Here is my short (ten-page) summary of his book, and a few comments. Continue reading

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Tessering with Transhumans

Last weekend, amid biblical rains drenching the west coast, I went to the Humanity Plus conference in San Francisco, along with my bright-eyed friend Dian. Thanks to the magic of the Internet and a service that directly links people in … Continue reading

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Regenesis (book review)

My father was in his mid-thirties before DNA was decoded by Crick and Watson. A generation later, genetics was still largely theoretical, understood in principle but not practical – like flying cars or space lasers. Not anymore. Today teams of high-school students modify organisms for the iGEM competition; a library of over 20,000 biological parts made of DNA sequences (promoters, translators, ends, spacers, vectors, receivers, measurement) are listed on a public site; the ability to both read and write DNA is speeding up ten times per year, and the first proof of concept has been done to resurrect an extinct species. Synthetic biology is quickly coming of age. Continue reading

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The Nature of Technology (book review)

In this short book from 2009, Arthur, an economist and complexity theorist, gives a compelling and “organic” description of technology. He looks at the purpose of any created artifact from shoes to airplanes and tries to find what they have in common, where the whole is going, and why we should care. His conclusions are profound, although easy to understand, and they have important implications for the future. Continue reading

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Accelerando is the quintessential singularity novel. Strap yourself in, and prepare for lobsters, agalmic economies, coke-can computronium spaceships, hive minds, altruism, a solitary imam ensconced in his own virtual reality/hell, terraforming, and the Vile Offspring, aka sentient corporate contracts. Continue reading

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Digital Rapture

Fiction puts us in the middle of a story, a person’s head and heart, so that we can experience what it is to be someone else. This recent collection of short stories, Digital Rapture, will introduce you to classic and recent writers in the field of “singularity fiction.” These stories will warp the sense of self, tweak your dials, perturb the moral sense, and expand your understanding. Continue reading

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Grandin, Pinker, Vinge, and more – talks online

Presentations from the Oct 13-14 Singularity Summit are online. I recommend the presentations by Steven Pinker, Temple Grandin, Jaan Tallin, Vernor Vinge, John Wilbanks, Melanie Mitchell, and Linda Avey. Go to the post to see links to each talk, and others at the conference. Continue reading

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Singularity Summit Day 2

[All videos for the summit are available. Click a link, then click “Watch Full Video]. See also my review for Day 1 of Singularity Summit.  On the second day of the Singularity Summit, presenters took their gloves off, rolled up … Continue reading

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